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Read more about Music Theory for the 21st-Century Classroom

Music Theory for the 21st-Century Classroom

(3 reviews)

Robert Hutchinson, University of Puget Sound

Copyright Year: 2017

Publisher: Robert Hutchinson

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of Use

Free Documentation License (GNU)
Free Documentation License (GNU)


Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Alek Palmersmith, Assistant Professor, Old Dominion University on 7/27/23

The book is detailed, with a lot of information, with a clear index, but it's missing a glossary. read more

Reviewed by Cherise Leiter, Professor, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 8/17/22

Overall, this text is quite comprehensive, including the topics generally covered in a 4-semester theory sequence. There are a few instances where there is not as much detail as I am used to (for instance, I couldn't find mention of the Phrygian... read more

Reviewed by Geoffrey Cunningham, Adjunct Music Lecturer, Holyoke Community College on 6/28/21

The text is very comprehensive. Each chapter is concise and clear, without being overly verbose as some music theory textbooks can be. The index is very effective, in that you can just click on the link next to each term or topic and it will give... read more

Table of Contents

  • 1 Basic Concepts 
  • 2 Major Scales and Key Signatures 
  • 3 Minor Scales and Key Signatures 
  • 4 Basics of Rhythm 
  • 5 Intervals
  • 6 Triads 
  • 7 Roman Numerals and Cadences 
  • 8 Seventh Chords 
  • 9 Harmonic Progression and Harmonic Function 
  • 10 Non-Chord Tones 
  • 11 Melodic Analysis
  • 12 Form in Popular Music 
  • 13 Phrases in Combination 
  • 14 Accompanimental Textures 
  • 15 Creating Contrast Between Sections 
  • 16 Figured Bass 
  • 17 Secondary Dominant Chords
  • 18 Secondary Diminished Chords 
  • 19 Mode Mixture 
  • 20 The Neapolitan Chord
  • 21 Augmented Sixth Chords 
  • 22 Modulation 
  • 23 Enharmonic Modulation
  • 24 Binary and Ternary Forms
  • 25 Sonata and Rondo Forms 
  • 26 Voice Leading Triads 
  • 27 Voice Leading Seventh Chords 
  • 28 Voice Leading With Non-Chord Tones 
  • 29 Voice Leading Chromatic Harmonies 
  • 30 Introduction to Counterpoint 
  • 31 Introduction to Jazz Theory 
  • 32 Impressionism and Extended Tonality 
  • 33 Set Theory 
  • 34 Serialism 
  • 35 Minimalism

Ancillary Material

  • Robert Hutchinson
  • About the Book

    Music Theory for the 21st–Century Classroom is an openly–licensed online four–semester college music theory textbook. This text differs from other music theory textbooks by focusing less on four–part (SATB) voiceleading and more on relating harmony to the phrase. Also, in traditional music theory textbooks, there is little emphasis on motivic analysis and analysis of melodic units smaller than the phrase. In my opinion, this led to students having difficulty with creating melodies, since the training they are given is typically to write a “melody” in quarter notes in the soprano voice of part writing exercises. When the assignments in those texts ask students to do more than this, the majority of the students struggle to create a melody with continuity and with appropriate placement of harmonies within a phrase because the text had not prepared them to do so.

    In Music Theory for the 21st–Century Classroom, students learn about motive, fragment, phrase, and subphrase, as well as types of melodic alteration like inversion, intervallic change, augmentation, diminution, rhythmic change, ornamentation, extension, and retrograde. By understanding motive and subphrase (also known as “phrase segment” or “phrase member”), I believe students will better understand the logic and construction of melodies, which will aid them in creating their own music.

    This text is meant to take the student from the basics of reading and writing pitches and rhythms through twelve–tone technique and minimalism over the course of four semesters. Whenever possible, examples from popular music and music from film and musical theater are included to illustrate melodic and harmonic concepts, usually within the context of the phrase.

    About the Contributors


    Robert Hutchinson, University of Puget Sound

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