Teaching Agency and Narrative Analysis - The Chopin Preludes in E Minor and E Major

Author(s): 
Matt Bailey-Shea
Volume: 
25
Year: 
2011
Material: 
Abstract: 

In a recent issue of this journal, Gordon Sly argues that typical undergraduate training in harmony and counterpoint fails to fully prepare students for upper-level analytical work: "...when we ask students to make an argument about a work's striking qualities, its particularly beautiful or eccentric events, about what gives it its special character...the typical Freshman-Sophomore sequence proves largely inadequate as a preparation for analysis." To address this problem, he proposes that we encourage students to develop "an analytical point of view" by telling the story of a particular "musical agent."