Tracing as an Analytical Approach in the Music Theory Classroom: Exploring Chopin's Mazurka in A-flat Major, Op. 17, no. 3

May 1, 2020


This article explores tracing as an analytical method and a pedagogical tool. I define “tracing” as following a singular event throughout a work, tracking its evolution, and placing it in an overall narrative context. I use Chopin’s Mazurka in A♭ major, Op. 17, no. 3 to model a tracing analysis, tracking the development of F♭/E♮ across the work. The analysis shows not only how tracing can build a compelling analytical discussion but also how this methodology translates easily to the music theory classroom. I argue that integrating tracing into the undergraduate curriculum gives students a guided, focused introduction to the formidable task of building and supporting a musical argument.

Vincent Benitez

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2171 Last modified on March 9, 2021