Analyzing Classical Form

An Approach for the Classroom

book cover

Building upon the foundations of his critically acclaimed Classical Form, William E. Caplin's Analyzing Classical Form presents the most up-to-date version of his "theory of formal functions" in an approach especially suited to the classroom.  Students on both undergraduate and graduate levels will learn to construct complete harmonic and formal analyses of music drawn from the instrumental works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. 

Part 1 introduces the principal theme-types of classical instrumental music; part 2 provides a methodology for analyzing sonata form, the most important formal type in this style period; and part 3 considers other full-movement forms found in this repertory (such as minuet, rondo, and concerto).

The book is amply illustrated with annotated musical examples for each topic covered, as well as many unannotated examples that can be used for in-class discussion and for out-of-class analytical exercises.  A complete glossary of terms and chapter-by-chapter review questions will help students assimilate the many theoretical concepts employed in the book.

A companion website provides audio and musical scores for all of the examples in the book as well as additional examples for the analysis of the simple theme-types presented in part 1.

Order Analyzing Classical Form from Oxford University Press

Visit the Companion Website for Analyzing Classical Form

"William Caplin's sophisticated insights into musical form speak directly to performance and listening experience, and they have justifiably garnered international acclaim from scholars.  Analyzing Classical Form provides an exciting opportunity to introduce Caplin's vital concepts to a wider audience."—L. Poundie Burstein, Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

"William Caplin's Analyzing Classical Form is an impressive reframing of his theory of formal functions in classical-era instrumental music.  It is sure to become the standard for the study of classical form for generations of musicians and scholars to come."—James Buhler, Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music, The University of Texas at Austin

"Anyone involved in teaching or learning classical form will treasure this book: William Caplin's explanations of his analytical method are crystal clear, and the copious unannotated musical examples provide students with ample opportunity to discover their powers of analytical observation."—Suzannah Clark, Harvard University

© William Caplin 2021