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Presentational DOs and DON'Ts

Reading the points in the table below may help you to avoid some common problems in notating Schenkerian graphs. Chapter 5 of the handbook discusses issues of presentation in detail.

Do Don't

  • present your analysis as neatly as possible (the point of analysis is to communicate your interpretation ...)

  • align the different levels properly so they line up with each other (and the music if included)

  • clearly mark bar/measure numbers

  • ensure that notes in the middle and background are clearly present in and aligned with the foreground analysis

  • mark harmonies and harmonic units clearly - this will clarify the harmonic implications of your analysis in your own mind

  • make sure that any note of a graph can be related, however tortuously, back to the Ursatz - every note must be shown to prolong or decorate the background either directly or by being an elaboration of an elaboration ...

  • leave notes hanging in mid air with no slur, beam or stem to explain them

  • neglect the bass line and inner parts

  • include bar lines or rests in your analysis

  • group notes together in linear progressions or arpeggiations in more than one direction (unless they involve a register transfer)

  • use beams carelessly - they must not connect endless successions of notes that do not constitute an elaboration

  • overlap elaborations. While two may share a first and last note and a note in the middle of one elaboration may be decorated by another, no two elaborations can overlap so that they suggest a contradictory function for shared notes

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© Copyright Thomas Pankhurst