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

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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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Last modified on Tuesday, 09/03/2021

Jennifer Salamone

Jennifer Salamone is Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She received her PhD in music theory from the University of Kentucky, writing a dissertation on traditional humor theories and the late Haydn string quartets.

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