Comprehensive Aural Skills : A Flexible Approach to Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony book cover
2nd Edition

Comprehensive Aural Skills
A Flexible Approach to Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony

ISBN 9780367225940
Published March 16, 2020 by Routledge
390 Pages 2158 B/W Illustrations

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USD $145.00

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Book Description

Comprehensive Aural Skills is a complete suite of material for both performance and dictation, covering the wide range of sight singing and ear training skills required for undergraduate courses of study. It provides a series of instructional modules on rhythm, melody, and harmony, and blends musical examples from the common-practice repertory with original examples composed to specifically address particular skills and concepts. Each module includes material for classroom performance, self-directed study, and homework assignments.


    • A complete suite of aural skills material: Comprehensive Aural Skills is a combined sight singing and ear training textbook, audio, and companion website package.
    • Fully modular, customizable organization: Instructors can choose freely from the set of exercises in the book and supplemental material on the companion website to appropriately tailor the curriculum based on their students’ needs.
    • Engaging and idiomatic musical examples: Examples are selected and composed specifically for the didactic context of an aural skills classroom.
    • Dictation exercises for practice and assignment: Practice exercises include an answer key so students can work independently and receive immediate feedback, while homework assignments are given without a key.
    • Audio examples for dictation: The website hosts live recordings of acoustic instruments performed by professional musicians for each dictation exercise and homework assignment.
    • Supplemental materials for instructors: A wealth of material for class use and assignment can be found on the companion website.
    • Teachers’ guide: The guide includes answers for every homework assignment, brief commentary on each module’s content, tips for integrating written theory, and strategies on how to effectively teach new concepts and skills.

This updated second edition includes the following:

    • Revised rhythm and harmony module structure, now introducing foundational concepts more gradually.
    • Additional examples from the repertory in the harmony and melody modules.
    • New and improved recordings on the companion website.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Rhythm

Module 1 : Introduction to Simple Meters

Module 2 : Simple Meters, Continued

Module 3 : Rests and Ties

Module 4 : Syncopation in Simple Meters

Module 5 : Introduction to Compound Meters

Module 6 : Compound Meters, Continued

Module 7 : Syncopation in Compound Meters

Module 8 : Triplets, Duplets, and Hemiola

Module 9 : Compound Meters, Advanced Beat Patterns

Module 10 : Asymmetrical and Mixed Meters


Part 2: Melody

Module 1 : Steps within the Major Scale

Module 2 : Steps within the Minor Scale

Module 3 : Leaps within the Tonic Triad (Major and Minor)

Module 4 : Leaps within the Dominant (Seventh) and vii°

Module 5 : Further Diatonic Leaps

Module 6 : Stepwise Chromatic Tones

Module 7 : Motion to The Dominant

Module 8 : Leaps To and from Chromatic Tones

Module 9 : Modulation to Closely Related Keys

Module 10 : Advanced Chromaticism

Module 11 : Modulation to Distantly Related Keys

Module 12 : Pentatonic and Diatonic Modes

Module 13 : Other Modes

Module 14 : Sets and 12-Tone Rows


Part 3: Harmony

Module 1 : I(i) and V (^1 and ^5 in the Bass)

Module 2 : IV(iv), ii6(°6), and ii (^4 and ^2 in the Bass)

Module 3 : I(i)6, vii°6, and V6 (^3, ^2, and ^7 in the Bass)

Module 4 : V7 and the Cadential 6/4 (^5 in the Bass)

Module 5 : Inversions of V7 and The Passing 6/4 (^4, ^2, and ^7 in the Bass)

Module 6 : vii°7 and its Inversions and the Pedal 6/4

Module 7 : IV(iv)6, vi(VI), and iii(III) (^6, and ^3 in the Bass)

Module 8 : Pre-dominant Seventh Chords—ii(ø)7 and IV(iv)7

Module 9 : Applied Dominants 1—V7/V, vii°7/V, and V7/III

Module 10 : Applied Dominants 2—V7/IV(iv) and vii°7/iv

Module 11 : Applied Dominants 3—V7/ii, vii°7/ii, V7/vi(VI), and vii°7/vi

Module 12 : Modulation to Closely Related Keys

Module 13 : Modal Mixture

Module 14 : The Neapolitan (bII)

Module 15 : Augmented 6th Chords

Module 16 : Modulations Using vii°7 and the ct°7

Glossary of Musical Terms; Solmization Systems

Dicatation Keys

Part 1 Rhythm

Part 2 Melody

Part 3 Harmony



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Justin Merritt is Professor of Music Composition and Theory at St. Olaf College, USA.

David Castro is Associate Professor of Music Theory at St. Olaf College, USA.


Comprehensive Aural Skills lives up to its name; together, the book and the companion website contain all the materials needed for an aural-skills curriculum. … Comprehensive Aural Skills effectively combines singing and dictation activities in rhythm, melody, and harmony into a single book, and the high quality of the recordings makes Merritt and Castro’s print-plus-digital package far more attractive than many automated dictation programs with low-quality MIDI. The inclusion of answer keys at the back of the book also makes this a viable resource for supplemental practice or even independent study … nearly everything else needed for a four-semester curriculum is provided.”

— Samantha M. Inman, Music Theory Online, vol. 23, no. 3