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Final Presentation Guidelines

You will present either on Analysis I or Analysis II — each of which have two “steps.” Consider a presentation to be the third and final “step” in your work — and the most important one. The purpose of these presentations is to build experience in communicating clearly about what you hear in the music, and to show that you grasp both the piece in particular, and, more generally, the issues of the course regarding 19th harmony and form.

Basic guidelines for song presentations:

1. Bring 9 copies of a handout including (a) the text and translation (b) the score, and (c) your complete analysis of the song.

Project 1: Analysis graphs need not contain all phrases if there are exact repetitions in the song’s structure.

Project 2: You need only to present “linear/reductive” analysis of 1-2 phrases. You should however present a complete harmonic analysis, and a complete analysis of melodic motives.

2. When your audience has the text and translation in front of them, begin by playing a recording of the song.

3. Briefly describe the text and some of its interesting features, including ambiguities in translation.

(Songs in this genre usually thrive when the text is understood in a fairly simple way. You do not need to “interpret” or “analyze” the poem — but you are welcome to do so, as long as it doesn’t take too much time.)

4. Briefly describe the whole form of the song: how many cadences, what kinds, what kinds of digression are involved, and how it all adds up to a whole piece.

(For example: is there anything purposeful about the path between phrases with strong and weak cadences, or between the home key and other keys tonicized?)

5. Referring to your analysis handout, describe in detail the structure of at least one phrase within the song that you find harmonically or motivically interesting. (Ideally, you should be able to play and sing 1-2 passages from the song in order to talk about what you hear in the music.)

Other questions to consider:

What aspects of the song are conventional:

(especially: conventional cadences in symmetrical phrases, conventional tonal sequences or modulations between close keys)  … versus

… what are surprising?

(especially: sequences that digress to remote keys, prolonging or emphasizing “intermediate” harmony, prolonging or obscuring cadences, unusual non-chord tones or striking elaborations, “individuated” harmony?)

What’s the relationship between the phrase structure of the music and the organization of the text?

What does the composition add to (or subtract from) the text? Are the composer’s means of elaborating conventional harmony successful? Do they make the words more meaningful?

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