21M.304 | Spring 2009 | Undergraduate

Writing in Tonal Forms II


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 session / week, 1.5 hours / session

Musicianship lab: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session


The bulk of this class will find us engaged in the study of Sonata Form as exemplified in the String Quartet repertoire of the Viennese masters Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Our analysis of these works will allow us to use them as models for our own work. At the end of the semester as time permits, we will also begin to explore music from outside of the common practice tonal period, using the “Visions Fugitive” of Prokofiev as our models.



21M.303 Writing in Tonal Forms I


I expect all students to be present, well prepared and attentive in class. We are in point of fact a seminar or compositional workshop, so all must be prepared and engaged in our own work and that of our colleagues. Respect for the compositional process, and its inherent difficulties, is essential.


Haydn, Joseph. Eleven Late String Quartets. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1979. ISBN: 9780486237534. (Optional)

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Complete String Quartets. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1970. ISBN: 9780486223728. (Optional)

Prokofiev, Sergei. Sarcasms, Visions Fugitives and Other Short Works for Piano. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 2000. ISBN: 9780486410913. (Required)

Analysis Project

Students will be assigned a Sonata form movement that will be presented in class. Pieces will be assigned no later than the week prior to mid-term.

Composition Projects

Composition projects will be the major focus of the class. The major project will be the creation of a large-scale Sonata form movement for String Quartet. This large work will be undertaken as a series of small sections, completed at regular intervals throughout the semester. It is absolutely essential that you do not fall behind in this. This work will receive professional performance at the end of the semester. Performance time will depend on the availability of the players, but I expect the composers to be flexible in terms of the scheduling. That said, I will present you with possible dates as early as I can.

Musicianship Lab

All students in 21M.302, 21M.303, and 21M.304 are required to attend their assigned section of a weekly Musicianship Lab. Musicianship Lab offers students the opportunity to develop sight-singing, ear-training, dictation, and other musicianship skills through in-class activities and brief homework assignments. Section assignments are made following placement auditions during the first week of the term.

The following materials are required for the musicianship lab:

  • Five Centuries of Choral Music. Vol. I. New York, NY: G. Schirmer and Hal Leonard, 1986. ISBN: 9781423439516.
  • Ottman, R. W., and N. Rogers. Music for Sight Singing. 7th ed. East Rutherford, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2006. ISBN: 9780131872349.
  • Music manuscript paper and pencil
  • An A-440 tuning fork


Composition projects 60%
Analysis project 20%
Attendance and preparation 20%

Note: Failure to satisfactorily complete the Lab component will result in a failing grade for the class as a whole.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2009
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Projects with Examples
Media Assignments with Examples