Music 251A:

Studies in the Music of Ravel and Stravinsky

Spring, 2003


  • Stravinsky, Igor, The Firebird, full score, Dover Publications.
  • Stravinsky, Petrushka, full score, Dover.
  • Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring, full score, Dover.
  • Ravel, Maurice, Le Tombeau de Couperin and other works for solo piano, Dover Publications.
  • Ravel, Le Tombeau do Couperin and Valses Nobles et Sentimentales in full score, Dover.
  • Ravel, La Valse in full score, Dover.

  • The course will focus on both composers' use of orchestral techniques of accompaniment and textural contrast. In the case of Ravel, the topic will be enlarged to include the transference of materials from (or to) the medium of solo piano or piano four hands (Mother Goose). Students' assignments will be excerpts of music from the early 20th century in short score or pieces which do not exist in a final orchestral version.

    Click for A bibliography of orchestration, instrument, and acoustics sources.

  • April 3: Introduction.
  • April 10: Stravinsky I
    Melody and accompaniment: the definition of foreground.
    Guide 1 for discussion.
  • April 17: Ravel I
    Activation of texture in accompaniment.
    Guide 2 for discussion.
  • April 24: Stravinsky II
    heterophony and counterpoint.
    Assignment 1 is to be brought into class.
  • May 1: The use of percussion by both composers.
    Guide 3 for discussion.
  • May 8: Stravinsky III, Ravel II.
    Doublings and timbre modulation in the work of both composers
    Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and Ravel's La Valse will be featured.
    Guide 4 for discussion.
    Assignment 2 is to be brought in.
  • May 15:The whole picture on orchestral style and balance in both composers.
    Analysis from opening gestures to dramatic climaxes. Continue with Guide 4 and use criteria for the openings of Movements I and III of Symphony in Three Movements.
  • May 22: Stravinsky IV. His transcription of Bach's Vom Himmel Hoch.
    Guide 5 for discussion.
  • May 29: Stravinsky and Ravel: special effects and the big finish.
    Guide 6 for discussion.
    How does each composer control the relative power of these finales?
    Assignment 3 to be brought in.
  • June 5: Conclusions.
    An attempt at grand theft.

  • The class meets on Thursdays from 3:00 PM until 5:50 PM. There will be three orchestration assignments, and each assignemnt will be presented, discussed, and brought back the following week in a revised form.

    Updated: May 29, 2003.