The manner in which music theory has been traditionally taught is now in a state of flux. Originally, the study of music theory was designed to acquaint the music student or knowledgeable amateur with the composer’s working materials in “Classical” music roughly spanning the 17th- through the 19th Centuries.
The role of music theory has expanded far beyond this mandate: theory training now incorporates greater or lesser explanations of music after 1900, music before 1600, idiomatic Jazz practices, elements of World Music, and Popular Song idioms.
Such an expansion of means and methods in learning and teaching the fundamental language of music presents a formidable and almost daunting challenge: what to teach, how to teach it, and in what sequence?
Additionally, music theory has become a favored required Arts elective in College and University curricula, and most music programs have a developmental music theory class to address the needs of under-prepared music majors. Often, music theory is required companion material for private instruction as well.
This textbook seeks to address these multiple needs: to serve as a basic to moderate text for the typical fundamentals of music course and to serve as an introductory text for those interested in acquiring a rudimentary knowledge of the language of music.
The text also provides supplemental information, such as chord symbolization, aspects of Jazz harmony, vernacular song form and its attributes, and so on. Usually, when this material is added to existing texts, it is incomplete and delivered in a manner that reflects only limited real-world experience.
PLEASE NOTE: This link only provides 3 chapters of the book, as the rest is in draft form:
Chapter 1: The Elements of Rhythm: Sound, Symbol, and Time (download PDF: 4 MB)
Durational Values: Symbols Representing Time in Music Pulse, Tempo, and Meter Music Notation Practices Additional Information Summary
Chapter 2: The Elements of Pitch: Sound, Symbol, and Tone (download PDF: 4 MB)
Pitch and Pitch-Class Chromatic Alteration: Accidentals The Keyboard as a Visual Tool Register Designation, The Octave, 8va, and 8vb Pitch Notation: Nomenclature and Solfége Moveable C-Clef; Other Clefs Summary
Chapter 3: The Foundations Scale-Steps and Scales (download PDF: 3 MB)
Scales and Scale-Steps Heptatonic Scales: The Major Scale, The Three Forms of the Minor Scale Solfége Revisited Heptatonic Scales: Introduction to Modes Other Commonly Used Scales Summary
Peter Knapp (Faculty)
Cathy Swift (Administrator)