Conditions of Use
This book does a good job covering all areas of Music Fundamentals in regard to pitch and major scales. A small example of this is the way the author shows the treble and bass clef's as fluid systems of the musical alphabet directly followed by... read more
This book does a good job covering all areas of Music Fundamentals in regard to pitch and major scales. A small example of this is the way the author shows the treble and bass clef's as fluid systems of the musical alphabet directly followed by the traditional EGBDF (lines) and FACE (spaces) for treble clef. I think the book flows well and there is an appropriate amount of information covered in relation to the topic it is about. There are also a number of good hyperlinks that expand on an idea that the author is explaining. Very thorough.
The content is accurate and I did not find any errors in the information itself.
The content is relevant to how music theory is taught today. Music theory doesn't change much in its rudiments. It all makes good sense.
The hyperlinks are very useful but it might have been better to include them as pages in the book instead of links as some of that information could be overlooked by the reader. For instance at first I didn't think there was any information on frequency but there is in a hyperlink if you look closer labelled middle C. Furthermore, the hyperlinks should be in different colored text, bigger or stand out in some way so the reader can see and access them easier otherwise they get lost in the text of the book. The introduction to the piano keyboard video link did not work for me. I am not sure if it was my computer or a glitch in the book. The audio worked but having the video would be helpful.
The book is consistent throughout.
I think the text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course. The hyperlinks are used well to break things up in smaller particles of information. I did tend to get lost in the hyperlinks and had trouble getting back to where I was.
The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion. But, when I click on a link it might be better to open the link in a new window so I can get back more easily to where I was before I clicked on the link. It doesn't seem clear or consistent as to how to get back to my original spot.
I think for the most the book is free of significant interface issues. As I said earlier I do think the hyperlinks should be clearer, stand out more and be accurate in their labelling as to what the link is really about. For instance including the topic of frequency on the "middle C" link might not tell the entire picture of what the link is about.
I do not see any grammatical errors.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way that I have found.
I recommend this book for those wanting to gain a solid foundation in the concepts of beginning music theory. Overall the concepts are well presented.
The hyper links to terms and concepts embedded in the modules are quite effective. A student is able to thoroughly explore a topic. Perhaps including basic information acoustics and sound (soundwaves, resonance, hertz etc.) might be useful to... read more
The hyper links to terms and concepts embedded in the modules are quite effective. A student is able to thoroughly explore a topic. Perhaps including basic information acoustics and sound (soundwaves, resonance, hertz etc.) might be useful to include with the tuning information such as equal temperament.
The rudiments of music do not change much, content included is up to date. Perhaps including alternate labels when applicable such as other octave designations that are commonly used. It is mentioned but none are cited.
Verbiage is clear. Some of the illustrations are clunky and could be improved by being made easier to read. Specifically the section 3 - Introduction to the Piano Keyboard -on staff note reading and how it relates to the piano keyboard, and section 9 Scale Degrees.
The book is consistent.
This is really a single chapter from a larger book. Due to the nature of the subject there is a limited amount of modular flexibility with the sections contained here.
Structure of sections and flow of content are good.
Some illustrations are not as clear as they could be, note name letters seem too large and color coding could be confusing to some students.
Grammar is appropriate to the content.
Mention of non-western music practices such as gamelan in section on tuning systems is commended. Mention of non-western notational systems and graphic based systems such as the MIDI piano roll (something used by students) is also worth including.
This book is a really a single chapter or two from a larger collection. Only parts one and two of six are listed as available from this collection. Overall a good introduction to the topic of pitch notation as part of music fundamentals or intro to music theory.
This pretty much covers most of the basic material, yet it strays from simplicity and focus. read more
This pretty much covers most of the basic material, yet it strays from simplicity and focus.
This is pretty much on target, yet I find examples of terminology that vary: diatonic, etc.
The book is pretty standard, yet some of the links don't work at all which will need to be updated to a more 2020/2021 format.
Terry's style of writing brings this textbook low, yet Catherine's style of writing is more straightforward and applicable.
Fairly consistent without too many inconsistencies.
It is fairly laid our and structured, yet it needs reformatting and reorganization.
Overall, it is basic yet jumbled. The graphics need to be fine tuned.
Overall, it is basic yet jumbled. The graphics need to be fine tuned.
No grammatical flaws that are apparent.
No offensive material present.
Overall, a basic music theory textbook that needs a some reformatting and updates to be very effective along with a great lecturer to make it above average. Yet, it is a good start.
Overall, it does a decent job but there are a few missed explanations. The part I have an issue with is when the text all of a sudden throws in the words “interval” and “chord” without explaining what they are, nor does it bother to bold text... read more
Overall, it does a decent job but there are a few missed explanations. The part I have an issue with is when the text all of a sudden throws in the words “interval” and “chord” without explaining what they are, nor does it bother to bold text those words. Those words don’t appear in the index either. Additionally, there are a few missed points, such as noting that pitch C4 is middle C (important) when discussing C1, C2, etc. on a piano. The text desperately needs a discussion of intervals when getting into the Circle of 5ths at the end and how that works together, and I did not feel that the explanation of keys/key signatures in the Circle of 5ths was adequate in helping someone figure that out. The index is alright but I'd like to see a glossary- students like a "quick check" section.
It is accurate for the content chosen to include.
There is generally not an issue with this in music theory textbooks and I did not find problems with the book in this aspect.
Most terms are explained, but some are not (interval, chord, etc.) and runs right on from there. There are some wordy areas, while other explanations are missed (see Comprehensiveness). Not explaining terms will confuse a beginner.
Consistency is my biggest problem with this book. Terms are sometimes bolded, in quotation marks, or nothing, but it is not consistent amongst all terms. I found this to be inconsistent in use of terms and definition format, which is difficult for someone learning this material for the first time to find those things. It’s easy to miss many terms because of this. Red/blue/green labeling on figures is also inconsistent—font size varies so much. It is huge in some places and small in others. In other places, colors aren’t used at all. I see a lot of issues with this. Diagram size is also inconsistent.
It is divided into chapters, but only some chapters are thereafter divided into sections, such as 8.1, 8.2, etc. It would be nice if it was consistent for all chapters—either divisions, or not. It could use additional divisions/subheadings so that a student can easily skim back through to find the explanation for that part they just forgot what it said without getting frustrated in finding it.
I think the chapter order is fine, but there are some instances where I would change the sentence order to be clearer within some paragraphs in chapters. There are some topics introduced early on that are confusing to beginners (tuning or alto/tenor clefs).
The shockingly bright red can be a little hard on some readers’ eyes. Additionally (as mentioned in the “Consistency” section), font sizes of labelings on figures are inconsistent and distracting. Staff figure sizes are inconsistent and distracting to the eye. The book needs to be more reader/learner friendly.
There are some comma splices or other small grammatical errors and instances were a period was used rather than a colon, but nothing terrible in terms of being able to understand the information. However, it would be nice if those were edited and fixed.
I don’t see any issues in this category.
I found the practice pages to be useful for students, especially since they contain an answer key for the student to check. Overall, the book seems to be a decent introduction to the material. This would be beneath the level of a Theory I course, but could be used in a fundamentals course for students who are at a remedial level when entering college, or for high school students wanting to enter college as a music major.
The contents of this text thoroughly explore and explain the basics of pitch, major scales and keys. Extra content is available through hyperlinks embedded throughout the chapters. Here users will find detailed and accessible information for... read more
The contents of this text thoroughly explore and explain the basics of pitch, major scales and keys. Extra content is available through hyperlinks embedded throughout the chapters. Here users will find detailed and accessible information for expanded study of this subject covering such topics as "How To Read Music," "Tonal, Atonal and Modal Music," and "Transposing and Non-Transposing Instruments." An index of key terms is only available in the downloadable PDF.
The information is accurate, error-free and unbiased, except for the following: CHAPTER 1 • Below Figure 4 - "Description The grand staff is used for keyboard instruments such as piano, organ, and harpsichord." The organ primarily uses a grand staff with three staves. CHAPTER 2 • Moveable Clefs – The treble clef with an 8 is not used because “many people are uncomfortable reading bass clef.” This is called an octave clef and is used primarily for tenor vocal lines. CHAPTER 3 • “But musicians usually don’t want to talk about wavelengths and frequencies.” This is a generalization and not entirely true. CHAPTER 4 • Under Figure 3: using the term “note” instead of “pitch” when referring to letter names for pitches.
The text is arranged in a format that can be easily edited, amended or expanded.
Most of the technical terminology is adequately explained within the context of each topic. As with any presentation about the fundamentals of music, the educator is faced with the dilemma of what order to present concepts. The chosen order in this text is adequate, but sometimes provides the reader with terms that are not explained until later on in the book. For example, in Chapter 2 the description “C4” is used, but this numbering system is not explained until Chapter 6. In Chapter 3 the author refers to the arrangement of black keys on the piano keyboard as “Twins” and “Triplets." This could potentially cause confusion when discussing the rhythmic term “Triplet.” The following terms are also used in Chapter 3, but not defined: whole steps, half steps, sharps and flats.
Consistency is present with the presentation and explanation of terms. The textbook is inconsistent in the incorporation of exercises and opportunities to practice or assess understanding of the information. • Chapter 2 is the only chapter which includes a worksheet. Chapters 2, 8, 10 and 11 provide the reader with a few exercises and solutions.
One of the best features of this text is that it can easily be divided into sub-units. This will be especially helpful when working with a class comprised of students with differing prior knowledge and experience with music fundamentals.
The organization of concepts and topics is logical and supported by numerous hyperlinks to fill in possible knowledge gaps possessed by the reader.
There are several features of this text that are distracting and should and could be easily be improved upon: - In the section "Beyond Triads: Naming Other Chords," Ars Nova Software – link not Found - An Index is not in the table of contents of the online textbook. In the downloaded, PDF an Index page is available. - There are hyperlinks to content in the online textbook … but no index or ability to browse through these topics - The use of color is interesting, but inconsistent throughout the text CHAPTER 1 • Borrowed graphics that could easily be created. Citation clutters the page. • Graphics are pixilated • Figure 4. Description – colon needed CHAPTER 3 • Red font letters are on top of note flags CHAPTER 4 • Double sharp is sloppy in appearance • Double flat is crowded (flats overlap) CHAPTER 5 • The corresponding text for Figure 2, 3, 4 is further away than text for other figures = confusing CHAPTER 6 • Jagged / pixilated 8th notes Figure 2 CHAPTER 7 • Hyperlink to “discussion at Opening Measures – server can no longer be found CHAPTER 9 • Figure 3 and 4 should also have letters leading to the subdominant and sub-mediant
There are a few grammatical errors: CHAPTER 1 • “Some of the clefs used in music notation matched the names given to voices…” Matched should be replace with match: these clefs are still used today. CHAPTER 3 • “Under Figure 4 “E to F and C to B are half step.” Step should be replaced with the plural form: steps. • “Not all keyboards instruments..." Keyboards should be replaced with the singular form: keyboard.
The text is acceptable and does not offend or treat in cultures insensitively. There is a reference to France in Chapter 1 that could be expanded to include the other "many countries" that employ solfege syllables to designate pitches.
"Music Fundamentals 1: Pitch and Major Scales and Keys" can be easily adopted as a textbook for a beginning music theory class at the secondary or collegiate level. Readers can easily navigate through the online text to obtain basic and in-depth information about the topic. There is also ample opportunity for further study and research if one uses the extra content. However, the textbook is lacking in providing pre-made worksheets and exercises to use for practice and assessment. This makes it less appealing for self-study or for an instructor who is looking for a streamlined ready-made option for their class.
As a “Music Fundamentals 1” text, this seems to cover expected topics, but sometimes includes extra information that doesn’t serve to improve content. Instructors would need to add explanations and examples from a repertoire of their choice to... read more
As a “Music Fundamentals 1” text, this seems to cover expected topics, but sometimes includes extra information that doesn’t serve to improve content. Instructors would need to add explanations and examples from a repertoire of their choice to help illustrate ideas from the text. Links to supplementary materials (“What Kind of Music is That?” “Triads” “Beginning Harmonic Anlaysis,” etc.) are only found in the body of the text. I did not find an appendix listed in the contents tab to indicate these resources as part of the text.
I felt this text generally stays on course for an introduction to theory basics, but occasionally emphasizes unexpected elements. For example, "Introduction to Piano Keyboard" dwells on the color of keys on a harpsichord.
Generally good – I like the colored examples that help to distinguish between concepts such as sharp and flat signs.
Very consistent - some unusual terms, but used consistently
Concise sections and topics, with some issues of overlap or missing information in early chapters.
Possibly because of the attempt at brevity, the organization has lots of overlap: Chapter 1 is an “Introduction to Pitch Notation,” but includes clef and the piano keyboard while Chapter 2 is “Clef,” and Chapter 3 is “Introduction to the Piano Keyboard.” Chapter 3 introduces accidentals, but they are not explained until Chapter 4.
Clicking the “PDF” link in the Open Textbook Library didn’t actually link directly to the PDF, but instead to the online copy, which then had a PDF link. This could be confusing for students. Good search function that brings up specific pages. Video links include older formats, such as RealPlayer (some also have youtube or Windows Media versions) Visually, the quality of the examples varies greatly, though they are effective at conveying the information.
Easy to read
There is an inconsistency in the materials – some chapters have interactive worksheets or exercises with the answers included, while others simply present the information.
The book is a decent general introduction to music terminology and symbols while not delving too far into complicated concepts. The Circle of Fifths is introduced, which seems unnecessary until students under stand major and minor keys, parallel... read more
The book is a decent general introduction to music terminology and symbols while not delving too far into complicated concepts. The Circle of Fifths is introduced, which seems unnecessary until students under stand major and minor keys, parallel and relative minor keys, completely. More exercises could be provided. This text is supplemental at best.
Although there is no creative pedagogy for teaching these materials, the information itself is accurate and will remain so.
The author runs into the perennial problem of which concept to introduce first - with so much necessary to understand to read music, sometimes it is difficult to discern whether or not to introduce scales or the concept of half-steps and enharmonic spellings first. Similarly, when do you introduce the concept of enharmonic spelling vs. major and minor key signatures? There isn't a perfect solution to the ordering of this content and the author makes a good effort, but through the eyes of a beginner, there are some concepts that are needlessly complicated which are introduced before they are useful (like the idea of a tuning system). For the most part, technical jargon is well explained, sometimes going overly in depth. I know that my first-year sight singing students would be overwhelmed and confused by portions of this text.
The author is consistent in style.
This book is easily divided into short readings. There are some exercises included with some chapters. It would be more beneficial with more exercises. However, the exercises provided have a self-check available, so that is handy. For the more complex concepts, an instructor could spend a couple of weeks on these, as the book is not long enough for an entire semester.
As commented earlier, some concepts are presented in a confusing order.
The interface is extremely basic. There are a few videos the students can download and these take a few minutes. Exercises within the chapters have a self-check option that they can click on without navigating to a new window, so this is convenient.
Fine. The syntax, however, can be clunky. It's as if the author is so concerned with the idea that students may know literally nothing about music that sometimes the author can be overly long-winded and a bit awkward with word choice when describing musical symbols and acoustic phenomena.
Fine. The author nods to non-Western notation and tuning, which is important.
I would recommend this as a supplement to my own materials if a student would like different wording in order to understand a concept (everyone learns differently, after all), but I would not make this my main text.
The writing is clear and concise, and is well within grasp of a first-year college student. read more
The writing is clear and concise, and is well within grasp of a first-year college student.
All points presented are in keeping with standard definitions.
The books relevance may be it's strongest feature. Material that is often presented, in more traditional print textbooks, with unnecessary jargon, is here presented with facts and concise examples without the unnecessary jargon. While 'necessary' jargon is explained and presented in a meaningful
The writing is so well thought out, and precise, that it could be understood in the first pass. There is nothing superfluous or misleading
Each unit follows a consistent pattern. The over-all flow is conducive to learning.
Because of the consistent teaching patterns used in each unit, I feel that parts could be used modularly. I don't recall seeing any self-reference.
The over-all flow lends itself to a sequential presentation as well as a modular one.
I appreciate that the interface does not require special software, or plug-ins. It is entirely web-based, and the mobile version works just as well.
The book is made up of concise, grammatically correct prose.
There is a growing need for accessible music fundamentals materials, as students enter college courses to study music from a variety of backgrounds. This is easily the most cohesive, accessible and clear textbook I've seen for music fundamentals.
If I were to teach a music fundamentals course, I would use this book. I would, however, like to have a companion workbook, as music fundamentals is as much a 'skills' class as it is a lecture class.
Step by step guidance from basic note reading skills to relationships between intervals, scale degrees, and key signatures are explored and showcased very well. read more
Step by step guidance from basic note reading skills to relationships between intervals, scale degrees, and key signatures are explored and showcased very well.
I did not find any errors and all info is accurate.
The book is up to date as it is just covering basic music theory.
The book is generally clear if the reader follows all information closely. Some visual aids could be done better to understand certain graphs such as the circle of fifths. Overall, still well done in showing specific details and clarity of the subject matter.
The book is consistent with the terminology as it should give the reader accurate words used in music theory currently, and methodically tools to work with.
The breakdown of various subcategories were organized well for the reader so that they can thoroughly understand the relationships of the notes and key signatures.
The book's overall organization was well done. Just some visuals on graphs can be improved for a reader who is a beginner in music theory.
No significant issues with navigating or images/charts. The circle of fifth chart may possibly confuse a beginner if he or she does not follow the material closely.
There were no grammatical errors.
The book is not offensive within the Western world of music theory. It is possible that the way music theory present in this book and among other music theory books and taught in universities, may clash with the way music in other cultures is presented.
I highly recommend this book to many students who are looking to thoroughly understand music notation, relationships between notes and chords within Western classical music.
I think all content was appropriate. I appreciate the fact that there were hyperlinks to dive deeper. At times, I think the information presented was more than necessary and pragmatic and would have been better served as information embedded in... read more
I think all content was appropriate. I appreciate the fact that there were hyperlinks to dive deeper. At times, I think the information presented was more than necessary and pragmatic and would have been better served as information embedded in a hyperlink.
Content looks good.
The arrangement of the material is satisfactory and makes sense.
I particularly liked the use of the terms "twins" and "triplets" to describe the groups of 2 and black keys on the keyboard. That's an easily remembered concept and an accessible way for students to think of the keyboard.
Consistency is found throughout the text.
The text is divided in a way that makes sense.
Topics are presented in a logical manner.
The figures that involve staffs or keyboards are less than desirable, specifically the labeling of note names. At times, the note names either overlap the stems or are placed on the keyboard in a way that isn't easy to read.
There were no grammatical errors.
The text was culturally sensitive.
The content is solid, but the formatting looks ill-conceived. In my opinion, the formatting found in a traditional textbook is superior.
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction to Pitch Notation in Music
- 2. Clef
- 3. Introduction to the Piano Keyboard
- 4. Pitch: Sharp, Flat, and Natural Notes
- 5. Chromatic and Diatonic Half Steps
- 6. Octave Designations in Music
- 7. Key Signatures
- 8. Major Keys and Scales
- 9. Scale Degrees of the Diatonic Scale
- 10. Enharmonic Spelling
- 11. The Circle of Fifths
About the Book
This collection is the first of five dealing with the rudiments of music.
About the Contributors
Terry B. Ewell, professor, Department of Music, Towson University Former President, International Double Reed Society
B. M. University of Washington; Bassoon Performance, magna cum lauda
M. A. University of Washington, Music Theory
Ph.D. University of Washington, Music Theory
Terry Ewell is Professor of online instruction and bassoon at Towson University Department of Music. In his 30+ years as a professional musician he has received recognition as a performer, teacher, scholar, and administrator.
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.