Musical Theory and Analysis - 1950 to the present


a) To develop technical and conceptual skills on the 2nd half of 20th century musical analysis domain as well as analytical skills on recent music;
b) To know the main currents of music-theoretical thought, contextualizing the musical phenomena emerged during this period on its technological, sociological and aesthetic aspects;
c) To be able to reflect and discuss, by means of musical analysis practice, the paradigms of musical composition from the second half of 20th century and to know the main techniques emerging as well as composers and major works taking into account the compositional and performative practices inherent to the studied period.
d) To develop auditory skills of music analysis of non-tonal music.


General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Maria Antunes Pires


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Although it is not mandatory, the previous frequency of "Musical Theory and Analysis - 1890 to 1950" is advisable


BOSSEUR, Jean-Yves; MICHEL, Pierre. (2007) Musiques contemporaines: Perspectives analytiques (1950-1985). Paris. Minerve.
BOSSEUR, Jean-Yves. (1999) Révolutions musicales: La musique contemporaine depuis 1945. Paris. Minerve.
COHEN-LÉVINAS, Danielle. (2001) La Création après la Musique Contemporaine. Paris. L'Harmattan.
DELIÈGE, Célestin. (2003) Cinquante ans de modernité musicale: de Darmstadt à l´IRCAM. Bruxelles. Editions Mardaga.
Iddon, Martin (2013) New Music at Darmstadt: 
Nono, Stockhausen, Cage, and Boulez, NY, Cambridge University Press.
Paddison, Max. Deliège, Irène (2010) Contemporary Music. Theoretical Aand Philosophical Perspectives, Ashgate Publishing.

Teaching method

Theoretical and practical lessons with the regular realization of practical exercises that should be accomplished outside the classroom.

Evaluation method

Accomplishment of a music analysis works(60%), Active participation in thematic discussions developed during the courses and regular and successful accomplishment of exercises ((40%)

Subject matter

1. Detailed discussion of the main musical currents emerging since the World War II, composers and techniques with focus on serial, spectral and post spectral and "sound based" techniques, new-complexities and new-simplicities.
2. Detailed study of compositional technics ana aesthetical issues on about the of those periode by the practice of musical analysis on a limited number representative musical works.
The triggering aspects of these new techniques of composition will be addressed studied as well as the aesthetic approaches resulting therefrom.
Special attention will be given to the work of some important composers of the second half of the twentieth century such as Boulez, Berio, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Scelsi, Sciarrino, Lachenmann, Haas, Verrando, among others.
3. New musical analysis paradigms emerged in recent years, adapted to the analysis of the compositional techniques and aesthetics studied, as well as to electroacoustic or mixed-music, will be presented.


Programs where the course is taught: