McMaster University, School of the Arts

MUSIC 701, Course Outline, 2005:  Variations

Instructor: William Renwick
Description: This course will focus on the analysis of the genre of variation in the period 1700-present.  The general objective of the course is to explore the formal properties of variation, to understand general principles of the form, and to refine our concepts of form in variation.
Objective: "Write an article that analyses the form of a set of variations in convincing fashion, directed to an audience of peers. Submit the article for review and see it through the publication process in the web-journal McMaster Music Analysis Colloquium.  In order to complete this task, students will develop skills in tonal analysis, in formal analysis, in organizing ideas, logical presentation, and in creative presentation.

Required Text:  Music 701 Course Ware
Method: Students will be given an array of analytical tools, including especially formal ideas and models. Students should already be equipped with basic knowledge in harmony, counterpoint, melody, figured-bass, cadence, form, style, and motive.  Application of high level analytical techniques such as Schenkerian and Grundgestalt analysis is encouraged.
Format: In addition to seminar meetings, the course will include computer-based research and presentation.  Computer activities will include web-pages, scans, audio, and music notation. Cooperative work will be encouraged. Students will be expected to maintain frequent contact in order to keep up with reading and to take an active part in the discussion.

Grading will be based on a contract approach:
In order to attain a grade of A-, a student will complete a term paper with an adequate degree of content and presentation on schedule and see it through the publication process in McMaster Music Analysis Colloquium. This involves familiarity with the literature of the course, development of a satisfactory analytical ability, ability to clearly present ideas, knowledge of and appropriate use of terminology. In addition, a student will effectively critique other students' work during the course of the term.
In order to attain a grade of A, a student will do all of the above, with many areas showing a high level of ability.
In order to attain a grade of A+, a student will do all of the above, as well as fulfilling efficiently and punctually a role on the publication committee of McMaster Music Analysis Colloquium.
Grades of B+ and lower are reserved for students who do not fulfill the above requirements.
NB: There is no limit to the number of A+ available!!

Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by deception or by other fraudulent means and can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on and assignment, loss of credit with at notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.
It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.  for information on the various kinds of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, specifically Appendix 3, located at integrity.htm
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one's own or for which other credit has been obtained.
2. Improper collaboration in group work.
3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in theses and examinations.

Write to the instructor, William Renwick at