Phrase Rhythm and Form in Brahms Chamber Music – ONLINE

TH 481 (Cross-listed for noncredit as INS 490)
Phrase Rhythm and Form in Brahms Chamber Music

NOTE: As of April 1, 2019, this class is FULL. We are no longer accepting registrations. Please contact the Summer@Eastman office at if you would like to be put on the wait list; we will notify you if space becomes available. Students seeking an online theory course for this summer might want to consider TH 481, Theory and Analysis of Rock Music; registrations will be accepted until that course has filled.

June 24-August 2, 2019 / online – synchronous class to be scheduled with students

Dave Headlam

This course focuses on analysis of the instrumental chamber music of Johannes Brahms. The approach combines phrase rhythm from Classical music with the flexible status of various beat levels from Baroque music. The main issue addressed is how the status of the bar line is continually called into question in Brahms’s music. The notated meter is treated as an element in the continual process of developing variation, wherein each beat is explored as a temporary downbeat to create metric dissonance, which then resolves to the notated meter as part of the formal reconciliation associated with tonal structure.

The metric shifts underlie the dynamic phrase rhythm and innovative forms in Brahms’s music. Rather than the poetic basis of earlier phrase rhythm, which stems from a duple norm, the basis of phrasing in Brahms’s music is often irregular prose.

The course requires weekly readings and analysis, and a seminar-length paper. The repertoire in the course will change every year. Enrollment limited to 10 students.

Please note: Undergraduates and all students not matriculated at Eastman must obtain instructor permission before registering; this applies to both the noncredit and for-credit versions of the course. Contact Professor Headlam at before applying. 

$5,010 / 3 credits     CRN 19603
$900 / noncredit     CRN 19370

Click HERE to apply (for-credit collegiate course)
Click HERE to apply (noncredit institute)