Final Project and Presentation: Score Analysis

The purpose of this assignment is to study one concert band composition in depth and to present what you have learned to the class. In order to prepare your presentation, follow the method recommended by Garofalo and Battisti in their chapter, "Score Analysis" (Guide to Score Study, pp. 29-53) which is on reserve in the library. In addition to the presentation, you will be required to complete and hand in a "master flow chart." (See details in Section III below).

Due Dates:

The "master flow chart" should be completed prior to your presentation, but a final, proofed copy of it is not due until noon on Monday, December 16th. Undergraduate presentations will take place on December 9th and 11th. Graduate presentations will take place on December 13th. Sign up for a specific time on the sheet on my office door (Rm. 280).

I. Preliminary Procedures*

Study the following aspects of the composition:


  1. Locate and identify all important melodic ideas.
  2. Analyze the characteristics of each melodic idea.
  3. Analyze the thematic transformation techniques employed (if any).


  1. Analyze the overall harmonic architecture of the composition by identifying the beginning and ending key or pitch centers of movements and large sections. Determine the tonal basis of the work.
  2. Analyze the internal harmonic movement.
  3. Analyze individual chord structures


  1. Analyze the overall form of the composition to determine if the work follows a standard formal design.
  2. Analyze the internal form of the composition - sections, subsections, periods, and phrases.
  3. Examine other formal considerations (e.g., balance, unity, variety).


  1. Examine the tempo markings throughout the composition. How specific is the composer with regard to tempo/changes of tempo?
  2. Examine the meters used.
  3. Identify specific rhythmic techniques employed.


  1. Reexamine the score requirements in terms of atypical instruments or unusual musical resources employed.
  2. Study each family of instruments (i.e., woodwinds, brass, percussion) and each instrument choir, subchoir, or section.
  3. Notice the composer's use of special effects, extreme register scoring, unusual unison or octave doublings, and scoring combinations.


  1. Identify and compare the musical textures employed in the work
  2. Examine the density (thickness or thinness) of each movement, section, or subsection.
  3. Notice how the orchestration (and the harmony) contribute to the textural sound of the musical fabric.


  1. Examine the overall dynamic scheme of the composition (horizontal dynamics).
  2. Examine the dynamic curve of large sections, subsections, periods, phrases.
  3. Study the balances within each phrase (vertical dynamics).

Stylistic Articulations & Expressive Terms

  1. Examine the composer's expressive use of stylistic articulations (symbols and words) - legato, staccato, marcato, tenuto.
  2. Study all musical terms used by the composer to indicate expression.
  3. Consider the performance practices of the historical style period represented by the composition.

*Note that this is a skeletal outline of the method outlined by Garofalo and Battisti. For more detail, consult pp.30-32.

II. Synthesis Analysis

Restudy to work to determine how the components (listed above) interact for overall musical effect. What is unusual or interesting about the composition? What was the composer trying to communicate? How should the piece be interpreted?

III. The "Master Flow Chart."

A flow chart is a schematic diagram that illustrates the interrelationships of musical components in a composition. See p. 34 (Garofalo and Battisti) for a "Master Flow Chart Outline" and p. 53 for an example of a completed Master Flow Chart. Several other completed flow charts appear in later chapters. Do NOT choose one of the compositions analyzed by Garofalo and Battisti for your presentation.

IV. The Presentation

Play the work. Tell us what you have learned from your study of the work. What makes it an interesting and worthwhile piece for performance and/or study and where the potential performance problems/challenges lie. BOTH a recording of the piece and the score are required for your presentation. While a hand-out illustrating the highlights of your presentation, is recommended, it is not required. Presentations should take about 15 minutes. Playing the work (or parts of it) should take no more than 5 minutes.

Grading Procedure

A all parameters of the assignment (presentation and flow chart) are addressed, with full control of supporting detail
B good work but either
  1. the focus isn't right on the point, or
  2. the supporting detail is somewhat incomplete or somewhat flawed
C routine work marred by
  1. misdirection of focus, or
  2. the supporting detail is incomplete or flawed
D something is seriously wrong with the assignment (e.g., directions not followed)
F shoddy, incoherent, and incomplete work

If you encounter problems, e-mail me at:

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