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Create the Link: Engaging Music Theory through the Italian Songs and Arias.

SOMETIMES THE MUSIC THEORY CLASSROOM seems to offer little to the vocalist concentrating on performance. Do you remember wondering why you were studying a Mozart symphony that you would never sing? Perhaps you gained some interest as a Schubert lied was presented, but where was your focus: the melodic line, the German text, or the topic in class? While an Eastman pedagogue summarizes basic classroom goals as "to teach our students to think in music, to read, write and perform music with understanding, and so to contribute to artistry," there seems to be a gap between theory and practice. (1) This article presents a pedagogic model for voice teachers to incorporate music terminology correctly and easily in the studio through the familiar Italian Songs and Arias. (2) Newer editions of Schirmer's 24 Italian Songs and Arias now include 30 selections between the two collections. Many of the examples used in the theory classroom do not relate directly to repertoire students are performing, as the lectures are designed to familiarize students with a specific topic within repertoire found in the musical canon. As a result, many find themselves searching for the topical relevance in light of a example that does not apply directly to their performance area. How can we make sure our students actually comprehend the topics we present and apply them to an artistic endeavor?

When reflecting on her own training, soprano Renee Fleming said that "any successful singer will need to have the skill to learn a vast amount of music very quickly. A lot of that study will happen outside the practice room-on planes, in waiting rooms, even on the subway, reading a score. Having a solid foundation in theory has been, for me, a definite necessity." (3) Given the understanding that much lesson time is spent on learning about vocal mechanics, teaching students how to approach the music when they should not be overtaxing their instrument is paramount. Performers must be smart about their approach to the music and how to synthesize its intricacies. Using theoretical terminology to approach performance and musical details is a wonderful way to connect the classroom environment to the practical one, creating another give-and-take relationship. (4)

By incorporating music theory into private lessons, students can improve their overall musicianship. Violinist Mark O'Connor writes that the essence of true musicianship is "to be able to understand the why and how, using both our eyes and ears, all while producing and owning this understanding within our performance." (5) Reinforcing theoretical concepts with repertoire familiar to the performer creates a spiral learning process: connecting the unfamiliar to the familiar is inherent in the classroom experience with repeated exposure to a musical example. Students must be led through the great amount of information available today, but as theorist Peter Schubert reminds us, "the best way to engage them is to put them in active contact with real music." (6) Exciting students about a musical example allows students to investigate repertoire consistent with their applied musical instruction and requires them to "engage actively with the ideas in music and to look beneath its surface." These "lessons learned through particular cases are better remembered than those stated in abstract terms or using artificial and contrived exercises and materials." (7)


Vocalists have a distinct advantage over most instrumentalists: they almost always see a score, rather than a single part, either as a soloist or in a choral ensemble. For students who may struggle in the music theory classroom, hearing music terminology in their lessons will help them apply the terminology in another area. Each teacher has her or his own idiosyncratic way of explaining concepts, so whatever you are comfortable using is best, as your description may create a connection that the student was missing in the theory classroom. "As a teacher, it is not enough to point out that there exists tension or drama in the music without exploring how the composer creates and releases that tension," says violist Frank Babbitt. "I believe that a performer's interpretative choices should be grounded in this knowledge. It opens up a universe of possibilities." (8)

Happily, most studio teachers are using the necessary music terminology daily without even thinking about it. If you are compelled, there are many resources to consult in order to clarify or refresh terminology. There are also many resources for you to consult in order to brush up on terminology. If you have a studio of high school students, the College Board, the company that publishes the Advanced Placement Music Theory Exam, has study guides and other resources available. (9) Are you at or near a college campus? Find out what is currently used in the classroom so that you are reinforcing the same terminology. (10) There is also a wonderful glossary of terms at the end of Stein and Spillman's text, Poetry into Song. (11)

Analytic activities within the voice lesson can be as simple as reading bass lines, describing interval size, describing consonances versus dissonances, and so on. For every composition encountered in a lesson, students should be able to address many basic concepts, even at the start of their studies. Following are a few topics and questions to begin these conversations when your students are studying any of the Italian Songs and Arias.

1. Scales and Modes

--What tonic pitch is implied by the measures in question? (One of the more difficult aspects for beginners is to identify a key area in the interior portions of a piece; have students notice accidentals and the key signature to find the current tonic pitch.)

--What scale types are used? How are they created? Where do they occur in the excerpt? Discuss the minor mode forms: natural, harmonic, and melodic. (This discussion is especially prudent with the abundance of minor mode pieces in this collection.)

--Are the same scale forms used in the melodic line and the accompaniment? Where are there differences? Why are there differences?

2. Melodic Analysis

--Describe the contour. (Use terms such as conjunct, disjunct, ascending, descending, etc.)

--Identify the scale degrees of each pitch. How do the notes resolve?

3. Counterpoint

Though much can be deciphered from the melodic line itself, many details are found in the accompaniment. While students may tell you that they don't need to know bass clef to sing soprano, alto, or tenor parts, they do need to know where they are in the overall harmony to sing better in tune. (12) By looking at the bass line only, students do not have to be overwhelmed with all of the accompanimental details.

--Describe the motion between the melody and bass parts. (Use terms such as oblique, contrary, similar, parallel.)

--Identify the intervals between the melody and bass parts. Are these intervals consonant or dissonant? (This distinction allows a discussion of where to add the emphasis in various measures.)

4. Chord Identification

--What quality are the chords?

--What inversions?

--Apply a Roman numeral analysis (if possible at this point in the student's studies).

5. Nonchord Tones

Notes are either part of the harmony (consonant) or not part of the harmony (dissonant). The melodic analysis of any single-line excerpt implies a harmonic progression. For example, in C major, the use of the pitch F (scale degree 4) could represent either a prolongation element for tonic or part of predominant harmony, the pitch G (scale degree 5) could represent either part of tonic or dominant function, and any chromatic pitch implies either a nonchord tone or a secondary harmony leading to the next consonance/diatonic harmony.

--If the notes are part of the harmony, which part (root, third, fifth, seventh)?

--If the notes are not part of the harmony, identify the type of nonchord tone (if possible at this point in a student's studies).

--Where is this dissonance placed within the text? How should this dissonance be performed in conjunction with the text?

6. Cadences

Identification of cadential procedures can aid in the confirmation of tonic at a given portion of the composition. The relationships in the Italian Songs and Arias are more complex than those found in typical common-practice compositions, as they contain more variety than the typical classical tonic and dominant relationships. (See also deceptive resolutions in the appendixes at the end of the article.)

--Where are the cadences in the excerpt? (Remind students that not every breathing point or piece of punctuation in the text is a structural, musical cadence.)

--What tonic is implied by this cadence? How are the various key areas related to the overall tonic of the piece?

--Do the accompaniment and the melody cadence at the same time? How does this effect the performance of the excerpt?

7. Performance Practice

--How does your understanding of [insert topic] help you to better perform this song/aria?

When using an example to supplement more advanced topics, all of the topics listed above should be reviewed and incorporated into an analysis. Two supplements are provided here for your convenience. Appendix A describes some of the more advanced analytic topics, and then provides an illustration with a specific example from the Italian Songs and Arias. Appendix B is a list of these advanced topics with more examples found throughout this repertoire. Since these pieces were written early in the common practice era, the examples are occasionally atypical, but can still be used by simply describing the context of the example and how this differs from the common practice application.


Analysis is a useful tool to create a superior overall performance. "What really sets someone apart," said flutist Emma Gerstein, is "showing musical style, phrasing, and making that unique and personal to you." (13) Such personalization is grounded in the musical elements. Getting students to talk about music using more technical vocabulary is the desired level of engagement and connects the applied study with music coursework. The methodology can be applied to any composition that a student is preparing. Taking time to do more directed study of the repertoire reinforces theoretical concepts and employs a strategy that will make practice time more useful and efficient. Students will grasp a new piece of music more quickly and enhance their performance beyond the technical aspects needed for singing. "With the knowledge of music analysis," says violist Frank Babbitt, "it is possible to understand [a composer's] musical language on a deeper level." (14)

Don't forget to have fun talking about these great musical works! By sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm, students will develop their own excitement through the learning process.


(1.) Elizabeth West Marvin, "The Core Curricula in Music Theory: Developments and Pedagogical Trends," Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 26, no. 9 (2012): 255.

(2.) The medium-high settings for the following two sources were used in these analyses: Richard Walters, ed., 28 Italian Songs and Arias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Based on the Editions of Alessandro Parisotti (New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 2008); John Glenn Paton, ed., 26 Italian Songs and Arias: An Authoritative Edition Based on Authentic Sources (Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., 1991).

(3.) Jennifer Sterling Snodgrass, Contemporary Musicianship: Analysis and the Artist (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 259.

(4.) Michael R. Rogers, Teaching Approaches in Music Theory: An Overview of Pedagogical Philosophies, 2nd ed. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004), 12.

(5.) Snodgrass, 46.

(6.) Peter Schubert, "Global Perspective on Music Theory Pedagogy: Thinking in Music," Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 26, no. 9 (2012): 217-234.

(7.) Ibid.

(8.) Snodgrass, 127

(9.) David Lockart, ed., 2007 AP[R] Teacher's Guide in Music Theory (New York: The College Board, 2007);

(10.) Michael Rogers's text (Note 4) has a "Selected Bibliography for Music Theory Pedagogy" that lists many categories of theoretical concepts, some with annotations. There are a number of web sites to find suggestions and other teaching supplements: The College Board, "Classroom Resources," (; Timothy Cutler's "Internet Music Theory Databse" (; The Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy Resources (

(11.) Deborah Stein and Robert Spillman, Poetry into Song: Performance and Analysis of Lieder (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 323-336.

(12.) If the student is planning on more advanced music study, fluency in bass clef is an important prerequisite.

(13.) Emma Gerstein, "Interview with Recent Chicago Symphony Second Flute Winner," Audition cafe; https://auditioncafe. com/article/interview-with-recent-chicago-symphony-second-flute-winner/(accessed February 1, 2018).

(14.) Snodgrass, 127.


Advanced Music Theory Topics and Score Annotation


The description of a nonchord tone should at least identify its dissonant sound and its resolution to consonance; any other labels and simply provide more detailed description. Most melodic nonchord tones function as passing and neighbor notes with stepwise motion on either side for easy identification. Two specific nonchord tones are the accented appoggiatura (leap up, step down) and the unaccented escape tone (step up, leap down). If nonchord tones do not meet these criteria, the incomplete neighbor is an adequate description.

In addition to passing and neighbor tones, "Star vicino" uses the 4-3 suspension in m. 4. The indication 4-3 describes the distance from the bass note to the dissonance (G ? C = 4) and the distance from the bass note to the resolution (G ? B = 3). The piano prelude of "Come raggio di sol" (mm. 1-4) uses tonic as a pedal point to establish the home key; this pitch is held in the bass while harmonies change above. (Note: It is difficult to identify inversions when the lowest pitch is a nonchord tone, and these chords therefore do not necessarily adhere to typical voice leading techniques.)


Voice leading is an extension of counterpoint and essentially a description of how pitches move melodically from one harmony to another. The piano interlude in mm. 17-19 of "Star vicino" uses a second inversion dominant seventh chord as a passing function to connect the tonic triad in root position and first inversion. Use the note on the beat as the bass note in these measures to see this progression; the other notes are arpeggiations to chord tones or nonchord tones (passing tones in this example). In m. 19, the second inversion dominant seventh chord used in a typical progression (predominant [right arrow] dominant [right arrow] tonic); notice the stepwise descent in the bass (C [right arrow] B [right arrow] A [right arrow] G), which is obscured by an octave transfer on the downbeat.

The piano prelude of "Vergin tutt'amor" is a wonderful example of voice leading and functional harmonies (see annotations in Example 1). In all dominant functions, the leading tone resolves up to tonic (the circled notes). The dominant-functioning leading tone triad in first inversion is used as a passing harmony, connecting first inversion and root position tonic triads, and also demonstrates the voice exchange (the "X" across staves). The passing six-four chord functions in the same manner with a voice exchange between inversions of the subdominant. (See also the description of second inversion chords in the section below.)

The dominant seventh chord is found in all three inversions in this example as well. Besides the leadingtone resolution to tonic, the seventh should resolve down (the squares). The only time this does not occur is in m. 4-5, most likely so that the accompaniment concludes with a complete triad; even with this voicing, scale-degree four sounds as if it resolves down to scale-degree three. Sevenths of any quality chord typically resolve down. In m. 1, beat 3 and m. 3, beat 2, the seventh in the supertonic chord is scale-degree 1, which resolves down by step to the leading tone in the dominant harmony. This example also features a deceptive resolution of the dominant; in m. 3, beat 3, while the leading tone does resolve to tonic, the bass moves up by step to scale-degree 6.


Consonant second inversion triads, arpeggiated and oscillating, are typical in accompanimental figurations. Most of the second inversion triads encountered are dissonant: their functions include cadential, passing, and pedal (aka. neighbor). Example 2 shows the variety of symbols and descriptions for the dissonant six-four chords; again, use whatever terminology works best for you and your students.

The piano interlude of "Pur dicesti, o bocca bella" (mm. 106-111) uses second inversion triads in four of the six measures (Example 3). The first three of these triads are arpeggiated six-four chords; in mm. 106 and 107, the fifth of the E-major triad is on the downbeat and moves down to the third of the triad on beat 2, to confirm tonic. In m. 108, the subdominant triad reverses the arpeggiation with the third of the triad on the downbeat and the fifth on beat 2 (connected by a passing tone). In m. 110, the tonic triad on the downbeat is not functioning as tonic, but as an embellishment to the dominant. This cadential six-four chord is accompanied by the typical octave leap in the bass leading to the dominant.


By repeating a line of text, the composer is afforded opportunity for a second harmonization, and in the case of "Se i miei sospiri," a chance to highlight deceptive versus authentic resolutions. In mm. 95-96, the progression (predominant ? dominant ? tonic substitute functions) occurs with the bass note moving up by step at its resolution, typical of the deceptive resolution. Also note the other resolutions of the dominant seventh chord: the leading tone does resolve up by step, but the seventh of the chord is retained in the resolution harmony. In the second iteration, mm. 97-98, the dominant seventh chord resolves correctly with the leading tone moving up to tonic and the seventh resolving down by step. The bass moves from scale degree 5 ? 1 with the typical authentic cadence motion.

Circle of Fifths Progression

In identifying the circle of fifths sequence through the harmonies and/or Roman numerals, the typical analysis should include the voice leading of the outer voices as a model of the contrapuntal nature of the progression. "Intorno all'idol mio" presents a complete circle of fifths in E minor (mm. 24-27). The chords are all in root position for this progression and the voice leading of the outer voices shows a 10-5 alternation (10 being a compound third).

"Pieta, Signore!" uses the sequence three times with different voicings. The first instance of this sequence alternates first inversion and root position triads (mm. 10-13). Here the outer voice counterpoint alternates between 6-10. In mm. 14-15, the sequence uses root position triads except for the supertonic (presented in first inversion), alternating 8-10 in the outer voices. The sequence in mm. 31-38 is very obvious in the bass line, but with less strict voice leading and harmonies, using a combination of triads, seventh chords, and inversions.

In "Danza, danza," the sequence in F minor (mm. 18-25) begins after the initial tonic triad and alternates triads in first inversion with seventh chords in root positions. There is no resolution of the leading tone at the end of this progression. While there is a 10-6 alternation between the bass line and vocal part, the inner voices change on beats 2 and 3. In mm. 45-52, the B-flat minor sequence alternates triads in root position with first inversion triads and a 10-6 outer voice counterpoint; this creates a prolongation of tonic harmony (from root position to first inversion) over the eight measures. In mm. 54-61, after the initial B-flat minor tonic triad, the sequence alternates triads in root position and first inversion; after the initial octave between the bass and voice part, there is an alternation of 10-6 for the remainder of the progression.

Progression Study

There is a nonfunctional progression of chords in "Lasciatemi morire." A quick identification of the harmonies in mm. 4-5 and its repetition in mm. 17-18 yields dominant to subdominant to mediant to dominant seventh in second inversion to tonic, creating smooth voice leading between the root position triad and the inverted seventh chord, and prolonging the dominant function until its resolution to tonic. As the bass line descends by step, the vocal and right-hand piano parts move up by step to create contrary motion. The melodic motion uses both melodic and natural minor scale elements (major mediant, subtonic, and leading tone); this might be explained as text painting the exclamation "leave me" before the contrasting, descending motive for "to die."

Harmonic Rhythm

Harmonic rhythm is the rate at which harmonies change. In most common practice compositions, this feature is typically regular and consistent at the start of a phrase, and speeds up as a cadence approaches. In "O del mio dolce ardor," the consistent idea of harmonic rhythm is true in mm. 2-5: there are two chords per measure until m. 5, where there is a chord change on each beat. The harmonic rhythm then slows down again in m. 6 with the secondary dominant to the half cadence. In mm. 7-14, there is a completely asymmetrical presentation of the harmonic rhythm: 6 [right arrow] 2 [right arrow] 2 [right arrow] 2 [right arrow] 7 [right arrow] 1 [right arrow] 4 [right arrow] 3+1 (the 3+1 being cadential six-four chord followed by the dominant, all dominant function).


Mode Mixture (or Borrowing)

At some level, using the leading tone in minor scales is a form of borrowing from the major form. Mode mixture is more typical in major keys, as composers borrow chord qualities from the parallel minor, especially those that use the lowered sixth scale degree. When students learn about chromatic harmonies, they tend to label all nondiatonic pitches chromatic. A good order to identify harmonies proceeds from the following line of questions until a "yes" is reached: Is it diatonic? Is it borrowed from the parallel key? Is it chromatic?

"Se Florindo e fedele" provides an example of a phrase repetition in the parallel mode to highlight mode mixture. The complete phrase in mm. 30-37 is in A-flat minor with all of the added accidentals, before returning back to A-flat major in m. 38. The Roman numerals for the harmonies in mm. 29 and 36 should reflect they're in minor.

Another example of borrowing is the use of the Picardy third. Typically found at the final cadence of a minor-mode composition by changing the minor tonic triad to the major quality; the third of the chord is borrowed from the parallel key. In "Quella fiamma che m'accende," the E minor recitative ends on an E major harmony, a Picardy third (m. 7). This harmony becomes into the dominant for the aria that follows.

Phrygian Half Cadence (i[v.sup.6] [right arrow] V)

This progression is specific to minor mode, with the half step descent in the bass line. This cadence is not widely seen in common practice repertoire outside of the Bach chorale harmonizations, but is found with some frequency in the minor Italian Arias and Songs. A progressive cadence, this progression is typically used for musical closures within a complete line of text. In "Amarilli," this cadence is found in mm. 2-3 and mm. 13-14: the C minor triad is in first inversion, and the E-flat moves down by half step to the dominant.


The mediant is most often found in the circle of fifths sequences: vii[degrees] [right arrow] iii [right arrow] vi in major or VII [right arrow] III [right arrow] VI in minor (see also the circle of fifths progression discussion above). Given the harmony containing both scale degrees 3 and 5, the mediant can be used as a substitute for tonic; alternatively as it contains both scale degrees 5 and 7, the mediant can be used as a dominant substitute. As with most analysis, this chord should always be viewed in a larger context for its function. "Delizie contente" presents a clear example of this substitution usage. Compare the progression in m. 2-3 with m. 4-5, where III substitutes for tonic in first inversion.

Secondary Harmonies

Even without knowing how to use Roman numerals to analyze secondary dominants, by spelling out the chord, the voice-leading movement to the resolution chords is evident. As in a diatonic dominant seventh chord, the third of the chord functions as a leading tone, resolving up, and the seventh resolves down. "O cessate di piagarmi" features all three inversions of a secondary dominant seventh chord (Example 4). By looking first at the diatonic harmonies in each measure on the second beat (the chord of resolution), the dominant seventh quality of the preceding chord has a root related to the resolution chord by fifth, that is, dominant to that tonic. (The voice leading has been marked as in previous examples: leading-tone functions are circled and resolve up while sevenths are marked in squares and resolve down.)


In the minor mode circle of fifths, the subtonic is often used: i [right arrow] iv [right arrow] VII [right arrow] III. The Roman numeral V/III shows a tonicization of the mediant, and is typically seen when a composition modulates to the relative major. In "Se tu m'ami," the phrase in mm. 11-18 provides some context for the harmonies in m. 14. Note the sequence between mm. 11-12 and 13-14, and therefore the analysis should be consistent: [V.sup.6]/iv [right arrow] iv, [V.sup.4.sub.3]/iv [right arrow] i[v.sup.6], [V.sup.6]/III [right arrow] III, [V.sup.4.sub.3]/III [right arrow] III. Measure 15 begins a circle-of-fifths progression that leads to a cadence (using all triads in first inversion); here the analysis is better as VII6.

Neapolitan ([??]II)

This chromatic predominant chord is a major triad built on the lowered second scale degree and typically used in first inversion. "Come raggio di sol" features the Neapolitan chord as a part of embellishing the predominant function in between a subdominant triad and subdominant seventh chord (mm. 34-35). A normal resolution moves the lowered second scale degree down to the leading tone in the dominant harmony; here, with the change of voicing over the bar line, the [??]II harmony moves through the tonic pitch in a subdominant seventh chord to the leading tone in the dominant (m. 36). "Sento nel core" also uses the Neapolitan to expand the predominant area: subdominant [right arrow] Neapolitan in first inversion ? dominant seventh chord in first inversion (mm. 22 and 30). The voice leading here resolves the lowered second scale degree to the leading tone through a stepwise descent with the tonic pitch.


In much of the Classical and Romantic periods, there tends to be fewer key areas in a composition than during the Baroque and earlier eras. This difference can be thought of as juxtaposing the idea of tonal polarity (tonic versus dominant) and tonal solarity (use of many closely related keys to the tonic). In analyzing a piece, use a cadence to confirm a modulation versus a temporary tonicization. "Vittoria, vittoria" presents a dilemma at the opening. While seemingly in C major at the beginning, the accidental in m. 3 and cadence in m. 7 present the idea of a nontonic beginning (C major is now the subdominant in F major). However, comparing the opening to m. 16-19, in C major, makes one wonder if there is a correct answer!

A number of key areas in "Non posso disperar" are achieved through the use of a sequence with a cadential formula (predominant, cadential six-four, dominant, tonic functions): after beginning in F minor, m. 10 arrives at A-flat major, m. 11 at C minor, m. 12 at E-flat major, m. 13 at B-flat minor, m. 14 at A-flat major again. Another key area used later in the piece is C-flat major in m. 29, related to the A-flat major in m. 30 by way of mode mixture (see this topic above); the use of C minor (mm. 31-37) is more closely related to A-flat major as the key signatures are only one accidental apart.

The most common and smoothest modulatory technique is a pivot chord, a harmony that functions in both keys. "Caro mio ben" provides a clear example of an impending key change away from the key signature of E-flat major by use of A-natural to move to B-flat major. Once the new accidental is seen consistently, back up a measure prior to find harmonies in common to both keys. In this song, the first A-natural is seen in m. 7, but the cadence in m. 14 is still in E-flat major; analyze this harmony as a secondary function. The A-natural occurs consistently after m. 15; look at m. 14 to the beginning of the phrase. The B-flat major harmony functions as dominant in E-flat major and tonic in B-flat major, a nice pivot chord.

This example in "Caro mio ben" could also be considered a phrase modulation where no identification of the harmony in the previous key is needed--simply change keys after a cadence. This type of key shift can be more abrupt as in "Le violette" (mm. 23-24). The cadence in m. 23 is in G minor; the anacrusis pitch, B-flat, is diatonic in this key, however, by the downbeat of m. 24, the piece is firmly in B-flat major as a repetition from the opening phrases.


Common practice compositions are known for their symmetrical structures, groupings of even numbered measures in a phrase; repetitions allow composers to create that symmetry or even thwart that expectation. Text driven compositions create multiple possibilities of phrase structure and a text analysis must be taken into account. Some composers rely on repetition of text, not only to reinforce a meaning, but also to create longer structures.

The contrasting middle section of "Sebben crudele" (mm. 39-48) has an asymmetrical form. The first four-measure phrase in G major concludes with a half cadence. The following six measures modulate to B minor, ending with a deceptive resolution and then continues four more measures to reach a conclusive cadence. The six-measure section is created by the repetition of text from mm. 39-40 to m. 41-42 as a sequence to facilitate the modulation. Measures 45-48 are a repetition of mm. 41-44, and change the cadential formula from the deceptive cadence to a perfect authentic cadence.

A specific phrase construction in the common-practice is the Satz or sentence structure. This term was coined by Arnold Schoenberg as "a simple theme presented rhythmically in the ratio of 1:1:2." (*) The majority of examples for this structure are found in instrumental compositions, especially in the compositions of Beethoven. (The piano sonata Op. 2, No. 1, mm. 1-8 is a frequent example of this structure.) "Per la gloria d'adorarvi" uses this ratio doubled in the phrase mm. 25-32: 2+2+4. Measures 25-26 are sequenced in mm. 27-28; m. 29-32 show an increase of the harmonic rhythm pushing toward the cadence. A smaller example is found in mm. 41-44 as 1+1+2; again sequencing the first measure with a deceptive resolution in m. 42 before a conclusive cadence in m. 44.

(*) Arnold Schoenberg, Fundamentals of Musical Composition, ed. Gerald Strang and Leonard Stein (London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1970), 2-24, 58-81, 152. This term is used in other theory texts and compositional treatises, and culminates in William E. Caplin's Classical Form: A Theory of Formal Funcations for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 9-12, 35-48.


Advanced Topics Index

Every piece in the Italian Songs and Arias is included in at least one category below. An excerpt marked by * has an annotated narrative found in Appendix A. Excerpts marked by [dagger] are used for analysis in a specific textbook noted at the end of each topic; the bibliographic information for these texts is listed in the endnotes.

Composition                  Measures             Notes

Alma del core                m. 47                [V.sup.7] with 4-3
Amarilli                     m. 26                [V.sup.7] with 4-3
Caro mio ben [dagger]        mm. 4-12             All ncts and RNs
Che fiero costume            m. 13                Pedal point with
                                                  [ct.sup.O7] (common
                                                  -tone diminished
                                                  seventh chord)
Come raggio di sol *         mm. 1-4              Pedal point over tonic
Nel cor piu non mi sento     mm. 5-6              Pedal point (I
                                                  [right arrow]
                                                  [right arrow] I)
Non posso disperar           m. 6, 8              4-3 suspension
                             m. 7                 4-3 suspension with
                                                  change of bass (3
                                                  becomes 8)
Per la gloria d'adorarvi     m. 31, 39            [V.sup.7] with 4-3
Quella fiamma che m'accende  mm. 33-36, 38-42,    Pedal point
                             49-52, 61-64, 92-95  over dominant
Se i miei sospiri            m. 37                4-3 suspension
Se tu m'ami [dagger]         mm. 1-10             All ncts and RNs
Star vicino  *               m. 4                 4-3 suspension (*)
                             mm. 10-16            Many passing and
                                                  neighbor notes
Vittoria, vittoria           mm. 34-39            Pedal point (I
                                                  [right arrow]
                                                  [right arrow] I)

Caro mio ben Snodgrass, p. 154 (RN analysis of mm. 4-12 with ncts
circled). (1)
Se tu m'ami Snodgrass (listed as by Giovanni Pergolesi), pp. 153-4 (RN
analysis of mm. 1-10 with ncts circled).


Composition                  Measures             Notes

Alma del core[dagger]        mm. 1-2, 5-6, 53-54  [vii.sup.o6] as
                                                  passing harmony
Caro mio ben                 mm. 1-2, 4-5, 8-9,   [vii.sup.o6] as
                             20-21                passing harmony
Come raggio di sol           mm. 36-37            [V.sup.4.sub.2]
                                                  [right arrow]
Delizie contente             mm. 19-20            The supertonic in this
                                                  progression ([I.sup.6]
                                                  [right arrow] ii
                                                  [right arrow] I) is
                                                  not a functional
                                                  harmony here and
                                                  explained by voice
                             mm. 32-33            Tonic harmony used as
                                                  a passing chord
                                                  between ii and ii6
Nel cor piu non mi sento     mm. 28-29            [V.sup.4.sub.3] as
                                                  passing harmony
Nina                         mm. 6-7, 16-17       Chromatic voice
Non posso disperar           m. 4                 [vii.sup.o6] as
                                                  passing harmony
O cessate di piagarmi        m. 4, 6, 20          [V.sup.4.sub.3] as
                                                  passing harmony
Per la gloria d'adorarvi     mm. 1-8              Seventh chords in all
                                                  inversions with good
                                                  voice leading
Pieta, Signore               m. 94                [V.sup.4.sub.3] as
                                                  passing harmony
Pur dicesti, o bocca bella   mm. 3-4, 18-19,      [vii.sup.o6] as
                             57-58, 60-61,        passing harmony
                             83-84, 98-99
                             mm. 87-88, 91-92     [V.sup.4.sub.3] as
                                                  passing harmony
                             mm. 94-96            [V.sup.4.sub.2]
                                                  [right arrow]
Quella fiamma che m'accende  mm. 58-59            [vii.sup.o6] as
                                                  passing harmony
Se Florindo e fedele         m. 21, 28            [vii.sup.o6] as
                                                  passing harmony
Se tu m'ami                  mm. 3-4              [V.sup.4.sub.2] and
                                                  [V.sup.4.sub.3] as
                                                  passing harmonies
Sebben, crudele              m. 12, 23, 31, 60    [vii.sup.o6] as
                                                  passing harmony
Star vicino*                 mm. 13-14, 17-18,    Passing
                             21-22                [V.sup.4.sub.3]
                                                  without third of
Tu lo sai                    m. 1                 [vii.sup.o6] as
                                                  passing harmony
Vergin, tutt'amor*           mm. 1-5              All inversions of
                             m. 3, 4              [V.sup.7] and
                                                  deceptive resolution
                                                  of V* [vii.sup.o6]
                                                  as passing harmony*
Vittoria, vittoria           mm. 9-11, 19-21      [vii.sup.o6] as
                                                  passing harmony
                             mm. 46-48            [vii.sup.o6] as
                                                  passing harmony
                                                  to cadence
                             mm. 50-51            [V.sup.4.sub.3] as
                                                  passing harmony

Alma del core Roig-Francoli, p. 257 (analysis example for leading tone
diminished first inversion triad usage with passing motion in bass, mm.


Composition                  Measures

Alma del core                m. 7               [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 61              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
Caro mio ben                 mm. 3, 11          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 24 and          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                             mm. 28-39          preceded by IV
                             m. 13              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [IV.sup.6]
Che fiero costume            mm. 3, 4-5         [N.sup.6.sub.4]
Come raggio di sol           mm. 2, 27, 42      [N.sup.6.sub.4;]
                             m. 39              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
Gia il sole dal Gange        m. 15              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by IV
                             mm. 18-19          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 28, 30          [N.sup.6.sub.4]
                             m. 29, 31          [IV.sup.6]
                                                [right arrow]
                                                [right arrow]
                             mm. 31-32          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.6]
Intorno all'idol mio         mm. 9-10           [P.sup.6.sub.4] in
                             mm. 11-12          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by vi
                             mm. 17-19          [P.sup.6.sub.4] in
                                                minor with more chords
                             mm. 27-29          minor dominant and
Le violette                  m. 3               [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.6]
                             m. 18              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by iv
                             m. 22              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by ii
Nel cor piu non mi sento     mm. 6-7            [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             mm. 14-15, 26-27   [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by IV
Nina                         mm. 2-5            [N.sup.6.sub.4]
                             m. 24              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 28              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
Non posso disperar           m. 8               [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 12              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 27              [N.sup.6.sub.4]
                             mm. 27-28          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.6]
                             m. 36              [P.sup.6.sub.4]
O del mio dolce ardor        mm. 5-6, 35-36     [P.sup.6.sub.4]
                             mm. 12-13, 42-43   [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by iv
                             mm. 20-22          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [V.sup.7]
                                                /V (a very long
                             mm. 29-30          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.6]
Pieta, Signore               m. 24, 72          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 51, 61          [P.sup.6.sub.4]
                             m. 95              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.o6]
                             mm. 74-77, 87-90   [N.sup.6.sub.4]
                             m. 97              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by iv
Pur dicesti, o bocca bella*  mm. 11-12, 15-16,  [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                             31, 32-33          preceded by [ii.sup.6]
                             mm. 40-41          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.6]
                                                and followed by
                             m. 51              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by I and
                                                followed by
                             mm. 79-80          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by ii
                             mm. 106-108        [arp.sup.6.sub.4*]
                             mm. 109-110        [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by IV*
Quella fiamma che m'accende  m. 32, 37          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by iv
                             mm. 59-60, 96      [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.o6]
                             mm. 87-91          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.o6]
                                                and embellished with
Se Florindo e fedele         mm. 19-21, 25-26   [vii.sup.o]
                                                [right arrow]
                                                [right arrow] [V.sup.7]
                             m. 22, 29          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.6]
                             m. 36              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.o6]
                                                (compare to mm. 22 and
                             mm. 43-44          [P.sup.6.sub.4]
                             m. 51              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by IV
                             m. 67              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.o6]
Se i miei sospiri            m. 51              [P.sup.6.sub.4]
                             mm. 57, 80         [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             mm. 87, 89         [N.sup.6.sub.4]
Se tu m'ami                  mm. 25-26, 27-28   [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             mm. 35-36, 37-38   [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.o6]
Sebben, crudele              m. 13              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 38              [V.sup.6.sub.4]/V as
                                                passing chord
                             m. 43              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 47              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 61              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
Sento nel core               mm. 3, 35          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             mm. 7-8            [??]II [right arrow]
                                                [right arrow]
                                                [right arrow] [i.sup.6]
                             m. 27, 43          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.o6]
                             m. 31              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [vii.sup.o7]
                             mm. 41-42          [P.sup.6.sub.4]
                             m. 53              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [ii.sup.6]
Star vicino                  m. 15              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 35              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by [vi.sup.6]
Tu lo sai                    m. 23              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             mm. 45-46          [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
Vergin, tutt'amor*           m. 10              [P.sup.6.sub.4]
                             m. 13              IV [right arrow]
                                                [right arrow]
                             mm. 13-14, 17-18,  [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                             24, 41-42, 51-52   preceded by IV
                             mm. 20, 31-32      [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
                             m. 25              [cad.sup.6.sub.4]
                                                preceded by
Vittoria, vittoria           many examples      [cad.sup.6.sub.4] can be
                                                used as indicator of
                                                modulation to various
                                                key areas as this chord
                                                does not work as a
                                                secondary function


Composition                 Measures           Notes

Caro mio ben                mm. 24-25
Come raggio di sol          mm. 7-13           Descending bass line (1
                                               [right arrow] [??]7
                                               [right arrow] [??]6
                                               [right arrow] [??]6
                                               [right arrow] 5)
Danza, danza*               mm. 18-25          Circle of fifths in F
                            mm. 45-52          Circle of fifths in B[??]
                            mm. 54-61
Gia il sole dal Gange       mm. 15-16          Deceptive resolution aids
                                               in pivot chord modulation
                            mm. 21-23
Intorno all'idol mio*       mm. 24-27          Circle of fifths in E
Lasiatemi morire*           mm. 4-5, 17-18     Noncommon practice
Le violette                 mm. 5-6, 9-10,     Circle of fifths begins
                            24-26, 31-32       with iii
                            mm. 28-29          V [right arrow]
                            mm. 29-30          Compare mm. 29-30 with
                                               mm. 30-31
O cessate di piagarmi       m. 15
O del mio dolce ardor*      mm. 7-14           Many changes in harmonic
                                               rhythm throughout the
O leggiadri occhi belli     mm. 23-25          Descending bass line (6
                                               [right arrow] 5
                                               [right arrow] 4, so the
                                               progression V
                                               [right arrow] IV makes
                                               sense this way: vi
                                               [right arrow] V
                                               [right arrow] IV)
Pieta, Signore*             mm. 10-11, 14-15,  Circle-of-fifths with
                            31-38              inversions*
                            mm. 59-66          Ascending bass line (3
                            mm. 56, 66, 95-96  [right arrow] 4
                                               [right arrow] 5
                                               [right arrow] [??]6
                                               [right arrow] 6
                                               [right arrow] [??]7
                                               [right arrow]
                                               #7 [right arrow] 1);
                            mm. 90-91          V [right arrow]
Pur dicesti, o bocca bella  mm. 3-9            Descending bass line (4
                                               [right arrow] 3
                                               [right arrow] 2
                                               [right arrow] 1
                                               [right arrow] 7
                                               [right arrow] 6
                                               [right arrow] 5
                                               [right arrow] 4
                                               [right arrow] 3)
Se i miei sospiri*          mm. 31-38          Ascending bass line
                            mm. 56, 95-96      V [right arrow]
                            mm. 83-86          Resolution of [V.sup.7];
                                               compare mm. 95-96 with
                            mm. 90-91          97-98*
                            mm. 95-96
Sebben, crudele             mm. 43-44, 69-70
Star vicino                 mm. 1-3            Descending bass line (1
                                               [right arrow] 7
                                               [right arrow] 6)
Tu lo sai                   mm. 38, 43-44
Vergin, tutt'amor           m. 3, 7            V [right arrow]
                            mm. 14-16
                            mm. 16-17
Vittoria, vittoria          mm. 30-31


Composition                   Measures          Notes

Amarilli*                     mm. 2-3, 13-14    Phrygian half cadence
                                                [right arrow] V)*
                              m. 17             III as tonic substitute
                                                from resolution of
                              m. 22, 24         V/V
Caro mio ben                  mm. 7-8           [V.sup.7]/V
Che fiero costume             m. 7              [V.sup.7]/V
Come raggio di sol*           mm. 12, 22        [vii.sup.o7]/V
                              m. 34             Neapolitan ([??]II)*
                              m. 39             [V.sup.7]/V
Delizie contente*             m. 2              III as a tonic
                                                substitute versus m. 4*
Gia il sole dal Gange         mm. 13-14         [V.sup.7]/V
Intorno all'idol mio          mm. 14-15         [vii.sup.o6]/V
Le violette                   mm. 5, 9, 24      iii as a tonic
                              mm. 7, 11         [iii.sup.7] as a
                                                dominant substitute
Nel cor piu non mi sento      mm. 21-22         [vii.sup.o6]/V
Non posso disperar            m. 7              Neapolitan ([??]II)
                              m. 12             [vii.sup.o7]/V
                              m. 29             mode mixture (C-flat
O cessate di piagarmi*        mm. 12-13         [V.sup.7]/V*
                              mm. 21-23         [vii.sup.o7]/V
O del mio dolce ardor         m. 6, 36          [vii.sup.o7]/V
Per la gloria d'adorarvi      m. 3, 11          [V.sup.7]/V
Pieta, Signore                mm. 29-30         Phrygian half cadence
                                                [right arrow] V)
                              m. 92             V/V
Pur dicesti, o bocca bella    mm. 55-56         [V.sup.7]/V
Quella fiamma che m'accende*  m. 6, 26          [vii.sup.o7]/V
                              m. 7              Picardy third*
                              mm. 20-21, 24-25  III as a tonic
                              mm. 27-28         Phrygian half cadence
                                                [right arrow] V)
Se Florindo e fedele*         mm. 30-36         Mode mixture (compare m.
                                                29 to m. 36)*
                              mm. 58-59         V/V
                              mm. 64-65         Italian augmented-sixth
                                                chord ([It.sup.+6])
                                                embellishing V
Se i miei sospiri             m. 92             V/V
Se tu m'ami*                  mm. 11-18         Tonicization of III and
                              mm. 49-50         Phrygian half cadence
                                                [right arrow] V)--unlike
                                                the opening, right
                                                before the da capo
Sebben, crudele               mm. 20-21, 28-29  V/V
Sento nel core*               m. 22, 30         Neapolitan ([??]II)*
                              m. 47             V/V
Tu lo sai                     m. 6, 7           [V.sup.7]/V

Alma del core Snodgrass, pp. 251-2 (analysis example for secondary
leading tones, mm. 76-87).


Composition               Measures             Notes

Alma del core[dagger]     mm. 48-49, 62-63     Sectional shifts I
                                               [right arrow] iii
                                               [right arrow] I
                          mm. 57-60            Secondary key area (no
                                               modulation)--[??]II, ii
Amarilli                  mm. 44-49            Ending with Picardy
                                               third (I)
Caro mio ben*             mm. 7-15ff           Modulation with pivot
                                               chord or phrase shift*
Come raggio di sol        mm. 25-27            Secondary key area of V,
                                               but no strong cadence
Lasciatemi morire         m. 1 and throughout  Minor dominant use (v
                                               versus V)
Le violette*              mm. 23-24            Key shift/phrase
Nel cor piu mi sento                           No modulations
Non posso disperar*       mm. 9-14             Many key areas throughout
                                               the piece modulation by
O leggiadri occhi belli   m. 42, 84            Picardy third
Per la gloria d'adorarvi                       No modulations
Pieta, Signore[dagger]    m. 9                 Picardy third
                          mm. 39-43            Secondary key area (no
                          mm. 99-102           Monophonic modulation
Se Florindo e fedele      m. 30                I [right arrow] i (mode
                          m. 36                i [right arrow] I (mode
Se i miei sospiri         m. 9, 13             Picardy third
Star vicino                                    No modulations
Tu lo sai                 mm. 24-25            Key shift
Vittoria, vittoria*       mm. 1-8, 16-19       Opening key area dilemma*

Alma del core No modulations; see also Roig-Francoli for analysis.


Composition                Measures          Notes

Per la Gloria d'adorarvi*  mm. 25-32         Sentence structure*
Se tu m'ami                mm. 29-36, 37-38  Sentence structure (2+2+4)
                                             extended 2 measures with
                                             cadential repetition. The
                                             2+2 = the key area above
                                             without tonicization.
Sebben crudele*            mm. 19-26         Sentence structure
                           mm. 39-48         Asymmetrical structure*
Star vicino                mm. 1-16, 21-36   Sentence structure


(1.) Jennifer Sterling Snodgrass, Contemporary Musicianship: Analysis and the Artist (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

(2.) Miguel A. Roig-Francoli, Harmony in Context, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010).

Courtenay L. Harter is an Associate Professor of Music at Rhodes College. She earned a BFA in Oboe Performance from Carnegie Mellon University, MM in Music Theory and Oboe Performance from Northwestern University, and PhD in Music Theory and Music History from the University of Connecticut. She currently teaches music theory, oboe and English horn, and coaches chamber music. Most recently, Dr. Harter has been the point person in the development of an interdisciplinary major in Music and Psychology, teaching courses such as Psychology of Music and Psychology of Film Music. Her previous teaching appointments include Georgia State University, Oberlin College's Conservatory of Music, and the University of Connecticut.

Of her many research interests, Dr. Harter is particularly attracted to the pedagogy of music theory; her dissertation study, "Phrase Structure in Prokofiev's Piano Sonatas," uses familiar terminology to describe formal procedures within the context of neoclassic characteristics. In addition to new empirical methodologies to complement the Music and Psychology program, she is also working on instrument-specific excerpts for theoretical studies and continues to study the compositional procedures of Serge Prokofiev through manuscript studies and sketchbook analyses. Dr. Harter has presented papers at national and regional meetings of the Society for Music Theory and the College Music Society, international conferences on Music Since 1900, the Music Analysis Conference and the College Music Society, and presented posters for the Society for Music Perception and Cognition conferences. She has been a faculty consultant for the Advanced Placement Music Theory Exam and the CLEP Humanities Exam. Dr. Harter is also an active freelance musician in the mid-south region, maintains a private oboe studio, and is a core member of the Jackson (TN) Symphony Orchestra this season.
Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
                  Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
                  And the wind
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

             William Carlos Williams
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Author:Harter, Courtenay L.
Publication:Journal of Singing
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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