Schenkerian Analysis: Working Method
Stage One - Preparation
The example used in in this section (the first five bars of the slow movement from Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op. 10 no. 2) is very short but exactly the same principles apply to this excerpt as would apply to a longer piece. The most drastic simplification is the reduction to two parts. As you get more experienced (and work with larger forces than just a piano), you can start to add inner parts as appropriate.
It is much easier to analyse if you first cut out those elements that are not likely to play a major part in your analysis. The aim is to end up with something like the example below - a series of stemless crotchet note heads aligned with the music (at least with shorter extracts), and without barlines.
The basic method is as follows:
Click here to hear a (horrible!) midi of this extract
- write out a two-part skeleton of the extract you are analysing
- each note is represented by a stemless crotchet
- consecutively repeated notes are removed
- no barlines
- add figured bass to clarify the harmony