Music 130: Theory, Literature, and Musicianship II

Advanced Study of Harmony and Form in Western Art Music

UC Santa Cruz, Fall Quarter 2017 (registrar class # 22082) 

Prerequisites: MUS 30 C & N or equivalent, keyboard proficiency


Ben Leeds Carson

9:20-10:25 AM, MWF — Music Center 136


Office: Music Center 148 

Office hours: Mondays 10:30-11:30 am, Thursdays 1:30 - 3:00 PM, and by appointment. (Does your schedule conflict with this list of times? Technically, no—“by appointment” means my office hours include the appointments you make with me. I am flexible.)

Write to me: blc at ucsc dot edu   Phone:  9-5581 (I do not check voicemail frequently!) 


Teaching Assistant: Jon Myers 

General Catalogue Course Description: The course catalogue description for this course should read: Techniques for the analysis of advanced tonal, chromatic, and post-tonal harmony. Study of larger forms, chromaticism, principles of development, and style elements unique to late romanticism and early modernism. 

Course Overview: Students have prepared for this class with a year or more of study in harmony and voice leading in Western Art Music, focusing on the style of Bach and his contemporaries; they have also studied basic phrase structures and forms in later 18th-century music. 

In this course our main task is the study of what resources of harmony and form are widely shared by “literate” European (and other) musicians of the 19th century. By “literate” in this case we mean not only “art music” composers, but any musicians who operated in a new middle class that considered itself generally educated, and which participated in a new consumer society; the distribution of sheet music was among the first forms of mass media. By “widely shared resources of harmony and form,” we mean the harmonic and formal features that hundreds of composers and thousands of compositions have in common: a set of relatively invariant phrase types that arise from contrapuntal thinking in a fairly narrow range of phrase-types.

In the early 19th century—in spite of Romanticism’s widening range of musical expression and purpose—we will find that composers mainly just embellish the “schemes” of 18th-c tonal harmony and form, mostly through modifications of “intermediary” harmony: the “pre-dominant” harmony that leads to the cadential dominant. Composers like Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Schubert, Robert and Clara Schumann, and Frederic Chopin tend to treat harmony schematically, and use chromatic devices in order to intensify “preparations” for familiar cadences. But these and other composers—especially Berlioz, Liszt, and Wagner—gradually explored harmony as an expressive tool, using it to call attention to musical moments, to represent ideas or characters, or to add consciously suggestive color. (Even the word “color” in this sentence should tell you something—that sounds could have a value out-of-time, that mattered as a sensation and an expression unto itself, as opposed to a pre-Romantic norm in which harmonies mattered mostly for what structures they joined.)

In the later 19th century, demands for particular kinds of harmonic unity and convention were gradually loosened, partially because those kinds of music still existed as reminders of “courtly” music, that may have seemed stiff and ritualistic from a Romantic perspective. But these shifts in technique also accommodates new expressive possibilities, and fulfill a Romantic drive toward vast, limitless, and emotionally “realistic” expression. By the end of the century, the territory of dissonance and consonance seemed open to creative revision, and the way musicians thought about musical “form” and “completeness” were less concerned with traditional functional harmony than with unity of style, quality, motive, and idea.


1.  To develop literacy in tonal music and advanced techniques for tonal analysis.        

2.  To clarify and distinguish harmonic and formal features of nineteenth-century music. 

3.  To strengthen and advance performance, listening, and interpretative skills that relate to Western Art Music.

Course Calendar:

Required Texts: 

Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne. Tonal Harmony (Sixth Edition). New York: McGraw Hill, 2009.

Charles Burkhart and William Rothstein. Anthology for Musical Analysis. (Sixth Edition.) New York: Thomson/Schirmer, 2007. 

Robert W. Ottman and Nancy Rogers. Music for Sight Singing. (Eighth Edition.) New York: Prentice Hall, 2010


Recommended Texts [excerpts within fair-use limits will be made available]:

Allen Cadwallader and David Gagne. Analysis of Tonal Music: A Schenkerian Approach. London: Oxford U Press, 1997.

Carl Dahlhaus. From Romanticism to Modernism. Translated by Mary Whitall. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.


1.              Being there:   Regardless of any reason for absence, students are responsible for completing whatever work they have missed when they are gone.  Please let me know about absences that result from health conditions, family emergencies, or major transportation accidents, and so on.  However, in any case of absence, be sure to check with a classmate for information about what was discussed on that day, and get a clear sense of all new assignments. If you can’t get that information from a classmate, please contact me via email. More than five unexcused absences from class and lab combined, or three unexcused absences from lab, will result in a grade of NP. See “Course Credit and Grading” (below) for more details.

2.             Performance anxiety:  In class, we’ll work on your skills and your knowledge in a direct and conversational way.  But I’m never interested in getting you to prove anything on the spot.   You will find that if you can’t get the answer right away, I’ll take lead the conversation differently so the class will work on it together.  I hope you’ll find I’m pretty good at diffusing any public sense of student deficiency.
3.             Deadlines:  Please complete your homework in clear hand-written  notation, with a pencil, and get them in on time!  Late assignments will be accepted but they will not receive full credit and I cannot guarantee that I will give them thorough comments.  This can be a problem because I expect to see improvement from one assignment to the next, so one late assignment can affect your later grades if you don’t take the initiative to get my informal comments on your progress, and keep the “conversation” going.
4.             Communication:  I respond to most email, IM, and text-messaging within 12 hours or so, to answer important questions about course material, the assignments and so on.  I love getting emails with questions about music and the actual content of the course.  I also want to hear from you if you’re having any trouble getting the concepts, getting the homework in, or getting to class.  But please limit the use of email for excuses about already-past absences of unfinished assignments – there’s no hurry to give me that information so it’s better to focus on your work and think about what you need to do for the next class.

Course Credit and Grading:

Weekly exercises, including composition and analysis: 18%

Quizzes: 10%

Mid-term exams: 18%  (9% each)

Analysis Presentation:  15%

Final Exam:  12%

Musicianship Lab: 27%* 

*A grade of 67% or less in the combined scores of musicianship “lab midterm” and “lab final” (dates TBA) will result in a credit of zero percent under this heading.  You must also pass the musicianship portion of the course in order to pass the course as a whole, even if your coursework is excellent.
More about grading:

Grades reflect your accomplishments. They don’t reflect your intentions, your sincerity, or my sense of your potential. That might seem cold or harsh, but if you think about it, it’s actually really weird that we expect teachers to judge those things. If grades reflect how earnest you are, or how deserving, that means I have to pretend I’m qualified to judge you as a person. I hope you’ll be comforted to know that a C+ doesn’t mean I’m annoyed at you, and an A+ doesn’t mean I’m your newest fan. It’s not personal. And hey, for all I know, C+ was all you had time to give that week! Although I really want you to aim for A work, I’m also not going to judge you when you seem to aim lower—there are other things in life besides this course.

Also: Please don’t fume over your grade. Ask me about it. I’ll be happy that you want to understand better, and I won’t be defensive. It really helps me do a better job of teaching if you try to build a conversation around my written feedback about your work.


Academic Integrity and Honesty:

Be careful to distinguish borrowed ideas, borrowed music, and borrowed words, from your own. Academic integrity in the arts is not about originality, it’s about transparency: when you use something that precedes you, something that you found rather than something you made or initiated, your integrity depends on clearly how your audience, and your colleagues, understand the borrowing. In an orchestration class, you’ll be borrowing most of the time. But if you have integrity, you won’t pretend to have come up with any ideas (melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, or orchestrational) that you didn’t come up with.

Plagiarism is the misuse of others’ material, representing someone else’s thoughts or observations as your own. Anyone who attempts to take credit for the work of others, or tries to use work that is not theirs to bolster their evaluation, will be subject to disciplinary action, which may include failing the class and/or a notation on your academic record, and in serious cases or in case of a repeat offense, suspension of expulsion. When in doubt, ask.


Students with Learning Differences:

If you qualify for classroom accommodations because of a learning difference, please submit your Accommodation Authorization Letter from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to your core teacher, preferably within the first two weeks of the quarter. Contact DRC by phone at 831-459-2089, or by email at for more information.