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Schenkerian Analysis: Working Method
Simple Summary | Stage One | Stage Two | Stage Three | Stage Four | Detailed Summary

Stage Four - Background Analysis
In the case of this very short extract, the result of stage three is already almost the simplest progression possible. Stage four should show the fundamental structure along with one or two ways in which it is prolonged. Here the is prolonged by an upper neighbour note, which results in a short prolongation of IV - the subdominant.

A common criticism of Schenkerian analysis is that it misses out all the notes that make a piece of music the way it is - it reduces pieces to their lowest common denominator. Schenker's model is not about reduction, however, it is about understanding how tonal music introduces and resolves tensions across long spans.

Schenkerian analysis also shows how very complex pieces are often unified by hidden similarities below the surface of the music (see parallelism).

The fundamental structure is not always so easy to spot. This is usually because it is prolonged in a more complex way. Some of these more elaborate fundamental structures can be seen in Prolonging the Fundamental Structure .

If you are an undergraduate you will probably be set exercises that conform quite easily to Schenker's model. By no means all pieces are easy to reconcile with Schenker's model as it is presented on this website. If you want to study Schenkerian analysis seriously you should read some of the literature recommended in the Bibliography.

Click Here to here a (horrible!) midi of this extract

Simple Summary | Stage One | Stage Two | Stage Three | Stage Four | Detailed Summary