Music Theory and Composition: A Practical Approach

PDF Music Theory and Composition: A Practical Approach 26 janvier 2018

Book author
  1. Stephen C. Stone
51LcPO9rHyL SX218 BO1204203200 QL40 FM

Music Theory and Composition: A Practical Approach presents a pragmatic, accessible approach to music theory through an emphasis on melody and counterpoint. This focus explains the "why" of musical construction more clearly than the traditional approach of beginning with chords. By starting with a single melodic line and gradually adding voices in counterpoint, the book drills part-writing while simultaneously explaining functionality, first with scale degrees and then with harmony. The text has students learn musical techniques and progressively build on their functions and importance to create their own compositions. With short, digestible chapters, Music Theory and Composition clearly presents otherwise complicated ideas not as strict rules, but as artistic ideals, encouraging the interactive creation of new compositions as a tool for learning. The textbook is versatile and easily customizable, suiting oDifferent skill levels with species counterpoint providing a framework for the beginner while providing an interesting challenge for more experienced students oDifferent curricular schedules with complete exercises in two, three, and four voices, allowing for an optional skip from two voices to four oDifferent pedagogical approaches with species exercises encouraging students to consider harmonic choices and figured bass ensuring functional progressions Instructor Resources: -Instructor's Manual: The Instructor's Manual includes sample syllabi and student handouts -Test Bank: The test bank includes sample tests and answer keys in MS Word format. Student Resources: -Companion Website with Downloadable Workbook Sections: http: // Additional Features: -complete curriculum for first-year theory courses -over 500 musical examples drawn from Common Practice Era compositions as well as more contemporary and popular pieces -focus on active composition throughout the text and workbook sections -large pop music section to expand student's application of theory -conversational tone to encourage student engagement Designed for first-year college music theory courses, but accessible enough for the interested lay reader or high school student, the text offers a true balance of counterpoint and harmony.


This book is the result of over a decade of work. My initial realization of the importance of counterpoint in explaining harmony goes back to the mid-1990s, truly twenty years ago. I began writing chapters in 2004, after completing my doctorate and getting a full-time job. Needless to say, after so much time, many people have given input and help on this book.

While a student at Peabody, I had two principal mentors, Eileen Soskin and Thomas Benjamin, who both taught me a great deal about music and teaching and who have been incredibly supportive over the years. The reorganization of the harmonic minor scale so that the tendency tones resolve (Chapter 3) comes from Eileen. Tom has also been incredibly supportive of this textbook, helping me navigate the publishing process, suggesting reviewers, and reading the proposal, despite the fact that it will be competition for his (and Horvit’s and Nelson’s) excellent book.

I owe a huge debt to Natalie Draper for her contribution to the Preludes section. Armed with a one-page outline, Natalie wrote the first draft of the section, including figures. If it were not for her efforts, the book release would have been delayed, and I am extremely appreciative of her help.

Over the years I have had a number of graduate assistants who have taught with me and given input on this book: Ben Quine, Mark Lackey, Sookkyung Cho, Josh Bornfield, Natalie Draper, and Trey Dayton. I apologize to any of you who may be looking through this book and thinking, “Wait, I wrote that figured bass!”

For the past three years, the professors at the Arts and Sciences campus have been teaching from this text and providing feedback. My thanks go to all of them for this help: Josh Bornfield, Faye Chiao, Sookkyung Cho, John Crouch, Natalie Draper, Travis Hardaway, Mark Janello, and Michael Rickelton. Special thanks go to Travis Hardaway, who suggested many substantial revisions, including reordering the chapters, clarifying the transitions between units, and making musical examples easier to play. Travis also showed me the diagram of summarizing functionality through motion by thirds (Chapter 24).

My Peabody colleagues have also provided support over the years. Mark Janello, continuo player extraordinaire, served as my consultant for all questions regarding the nuances of figured bass. Ian Sims answered my questions on jazz theory. David Smooke recommended the book for use at the Arts and Sciences campus, providing a new set of eyes to look at the text. Sharon Levy and Paul Mathews provided support and encouragement over the years. My office mate, Kip Wile, has endured many questions and conversations whenever I was stuck on a topic or searching for the perfect example. He also included this text in his pedagogy class’s textbook review unit, providing critiques from impartial students.

Over the past twelve years, my students have had to work with the book in various stages of completion. My thanks go to them for their helpful comments on student evaluations, ranging from the early “This looks like a promising approach. I hope you write more and make a fantastic book,” to the much more recent “Finish the damn book, Dr. Stone.” The direction and tone of the book changed every year, as I saw how students reacted to and learned from it.

Finally, I want to thank my family, who was patient throughout the process, allowing me to disappear in the basement for many evenings and afternoons. Alex, although I did not use Offenbach’s “Cancan” in here, I appreciate the suggestion. Chloe, “Long, Long Ago” did end up in here, so thank you for the help. Mary Margaret, you have seen the progress of this book from day one. Thank you for your support, faith, and love.
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