Understanding Basic Music Theory

(9 reviews)

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Catherine Schmidt-Jones

Pub Date: 2013

ISBN 13:

Publisher: OpenStax CNX

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Reviewed by Lewton Jones, Graduate Student/PSU/Music Teacher/Community Ed, PCC, on 8/22/2016.

The book by Catherine Jones is condensed and takes on many aspects of music theory even the physics of sound.Her comment regarding its peripheral … read more

 

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Reviewed by Christopher Van Hof, Assistant Professor of Music, Colorado State Univeristy, on 12/6/2016.

While the fundamentals of how music is read, written, and functions are indeed covered clearly, there is no mention whatsoever of the common Practice … read more

 

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Reviewed by Shane Anderson, Associate Professor of Music, Nicholls State University, on 12/6/2016.

The text covers all basic introductory material of Music Theory. From the Introduction, it is clear that the author intends this text to be an … read more

 

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Reviewed by John Irrera, Instructor of Music, Virginia Tech, on 2/9/2017.

This book is meant to be an introduction to music theory, presenting to the learner the basics of how music is composed, performed, and interpreted. … read more

 

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Reviewed by Jeffery Kyle Hutchins, Artist/Teacher, Virginia Tech, on 2/9/2017.

I found this text to be very comprehensive in scope of teaching basic music theory. I found a great deal of emphasis was put on naming notes, scales, … read more

 

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Reviewed by Matthew Andrews, Graduate Student, Portland State University School of Music, on 2/9/2017.

Quite comprehensive for its stated purpose of covering "only the bare essentials of music theory." I would not use this textbook in a course intended … read more

 

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Reviewed by Miriam Webber, Assistant Professor, Bemidji State University, on 2/9/2017.

This book covers a variety of topics needed for a basic understanding of music theory. Topic include notation fundamentals, acoustics, scales, forms, … read more

 

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Reviewed by Maristella Feustle, Music Special Collections Librarian, University of North Texas, on 4/12/2017.

The text is imbalanced in proportion. I don't believe it necessary to have 63 pages on notation (Section 1), the longest section in the book. Perhaps … read more

 

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Reviewed by Stephen Martorella, Adjunct Instructor, Rhode Island College, on 4/12/2017.

The text covers the basics of music theory as laid out in the table of contents in four of six sections with some additional peripheral material in … read more

 

Table of Contents

Introduction
1 Notation

1.1 Pitch
1.2 Time
1.3 Style
Solutions
2 Definitions
2.1 Rhythm
2.2 Timbre
2.3 Melody
2.4 Texture
2.5 Harmony
2.6 Counterpoint
2.7 Range
2.8 Classifying Music
3 The Physical Basis
3.1 Acoustics for Music Theory
3.2 Standing Waves and Musical Instruments
3.3 Harmonic Series I: Timbre and Octaves Solutions
4 Notes and Scales
4.1 Octaves and the Major-Minor Tonal System
4.2 Half Steps and Whole Steps
4.3 Major Keys and Scales
4.4 Minor Keys and Scales
4.5 Interval
4.6 Harmonic Series II: Harmonics, Intervals, and Instruments
4.7 The Circle of Fifths
4.8 Scales that aren't Major or Minor
Solutions
5 Harmony and Form
5.1 Triads
5.2 Naming Triads
5.3 Consonance and Dissonance
5.4 Beyond Triads: Naming Other Chords
5.5 Beginning Harmonic Analysis
5.6 Cadence
5.7 Form
Solutions
6 Challenges
6.1 Ear Training
6.2 Tuning Systems
6.3 Modes and Ragas
6.4 Transposition: Changing Keys
Solutions
Index
Attributions

About the Book

Although it is significantly expanded from "Introduction to Music Theory", this book still covers only the bare essentials of music theory. Music is a very large subject, and the advanced theory that students will want to pursue after mastering the basics will vary greatly. A trumpet player interested in jazz, a vocalist interested in early music, a pianist interested in classical composition, and a guitarist interested in world music, will all want to delve into very different facets of music theory; although, interestingly, if they all become very well-versed in their chosen fields, they will still end up very capable of understanding each other and cooperating in musical endeavors. The final section does include a few challenges that are generally not considered "beginner level" musicianship, but are very useful in just about every field and genre of music.

About the Contributors

Author(s)

Catherine Schmidt-Jones graduated from Rice University in 1985, completing a BA in chemistry, a BA in music and a Master of Music in French horn performance.