Teaching and resources for English, Art History and Music

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Mediant Studies

Outline of the AMusTCL SCORE ANALYSIS Module

The module consists of five sections. 

The Introduction describes European musical style from 1600 to 1900.  It includes summaries of Baroque,  Classical and Romantic style; summaries of common forms; brief descriptions of types of melody; rhythmic devices (including hemiolas, cross-rhythms, syncopation and isorhythm); methods of developing ideas, such as sequence, inversion and augmentation;  and scoring techniques such as imitation, doubling, and the use of ostinati (repeated patterns). 

Following and describing scores gives help with reading scores for instrumental groups and orchestras.   There are also notes and assignments about texture and scoring (including recognising melodies, countermelodies and accompaniments, as well as understanding the differences Trinity College draw between binding notes and pedal points).  Students should already be able to read scores for piano and/or voice(s), parts for transposing instruments, and alto and tenor clef.  They should also be familiar with terms used in instrumental scores.  (The Grade 6 course has material which covers these topics.)

Instrumental Performance Techniques deals with issues such as pedalling, bowing, harmonics, mutes and embouchure (lip positions used when playing brass instruments).  No notes are given, as the knowledge required is no greater than that expected at Grade 6 level - although students studying Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms (which is not covered in this course) need to know about harp techniques.  (There are descriptions of online. Click here for an example.)   Otherwise, if you need to learn more (or revise what you have already learnt) about instrumental techniques, you are advised to order the file “Instrumental scores and techniques” in the Studying Scores Module of the Grade 6 Course.

The Harmony section helps students recognise both diatonic and chromatic chords (such as Neapolitan, augmented sixth, secondary dominant and chromatic seventh chords), as well as key changes.  It provides further detail about both appoggiaturas and "changing" or "added" notes covered in grade 6,  and introduces suspensions.  Students should already have covered other notes of melodic decoration – e.g. notes of anticipation - and be able to distinguish between both accented and unaccented and diatonic or chromatic passing and auxiliary notes, which are covered in the grade 6 course.  Students should also be able to create strong chord progressions;  this is also covered in the grade 6 course.  If you need to learn more (or revise what you have already learnt) about these topics, you are advised to order the Harmonising Melodies module of the Grade 6 Course.) . 

General analyses begin with a short keyboard piece, then a string score, and end with works for an orchestra of the size used by Schubert.  There are usually questions on harmony, structure, and (occasionally) performance techniques.  The last question is usually transcribing a bassoon part in tenor clef or horn parts at concert pitch.  There are also questions about comparing two passages, (usually comparing keys or pitches and/or the ornaments used) and about compositional techniques such as sequence and imitation.  (You do not however need to distinguish between types of sequence at this level.)

The material is supplied as electronic files.  In some cases, in the “Reading and Describing scores” section, you will need to write music notation.  In these cases, answers are given, so you can check your work against these answers.  In the Harmony section, you will need to print out some files and write in answers, then either post or scan and email them for comment. Answers to most other questions are in the form of text which you can send in emails as pasted inline text or attached Word documents.


If you are not sure whether you need to take the Score Analysis module, download a survey which you can study as a Word or pdf file.  If you are still uncertain, you can fill in the answers, email the file to us, and ask for advice.

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To order the material, please use the AMusTCL Resources Order Form

To take the module as distance learning, please use the AMusTCL Registration Form.

To return to the AMusTCL Outline page, click here.