Music Theory Essentials : A Streamlined Approach to Fundamentals, Tonal Harmony, and Post-Tonal Materials book cover
1st Edition

Music Theory Essentials
A Streamlined Approach to Fundamentals, Tonal Harmony, and Post-Tonal Materials

ISBN 9781138052536
Published April 8, 2019 by Routledge
322 Pages

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USD $69.95

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Book Description

Music Theory Essentials offers an antidote to music theory textbooks that are overly long and dense. Focusing on the essentials, this text provides a clear-cut guide to the key concepts of music theory. Beginning with no assumptions about music theory knowledge, the book covers the core elements of music fundamentals, diatonic and chromatic harmony, post-tonal theory, and popular music in a single concise volume. Emphasizing critical thinking skills, this book guides students through conceptualizing musical concepts and mastering analytic techniques.

Each chapter concludes with a selection of applications designed to enhance engagement:

  • Exercises allow students to apply and practice the skills and techniques addressed in the chapter.
  • Brain Teasers challenge students to expand their musical understanding by thinking outside the box.
  • Exploring Music offers strategies for students to apply learned concepts to the music they are currently learning or listening to.
  • Thinking Critically encourages students to think more deeply about music by solving problems and identifying and challenging assumptions.

A companion website provides answers to book exercises, additional downloadable exercises, and audio examples.

Straightforward and streamlined, Music Theory Essentials is a truly concise yet comprehensive introduction to music theory that is accessible to students of all backgrounds.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Part I: Fundamentals

Chapter 1: Pitch and Notation

Chapter 2: Intervals

Chapter 3: Scales and Melody

Chapter 4: Keys

Chapter 5: Chords

Chapter 6: Musical Time

Chapter 7: Introduction to Voice Leading and Counterpoint

Part II: Diatonic Harmony

Chapter 8: Four-Part Voice Leading

Chapter 9: Nonchord Tones

Chapter 10: Tonal Function, Syntax, and Prolongation

Chapter 11: Triad Inversions

Chapter 12: Seventh Chords

Chapter 13: Motive, Phrase, Cadence, and Period Structure

Chapter 14: Harmonic Sequences

Part III: Chromatic Harmony

Chapter 15: Secondary Dominants and Tonicization

Chapter 16: Modulation I: Phrase Modulation and Diatonic Pivot Chords

Chapter 17: Modal Mixture

Chapter 18: The Neapolitan and Augmented Sixth Chords

Chapter 19: Modulation II: Chromatic Pivot Chords, Enharmonic Reinterpretation, and Common-Tone Modulation

Chapter 20: Dominant Ninth Chords, Altered Dominants, and Embellishing Chords

Part IV: Post-Tonal and Popular Materials

Chapter 21: The Dissolution of the Tonal System

Chapter 22: New Pitch Collections

Chapter 23: Centricity and Harmony

Chapter 24: Set Theory

Chapter 25: Serialism

Chapter 26: Introduction to Jazz and Pop Harmony

Appendix: List of Set Classes


Index of Musical Examples

Index of Terms and Concepts

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Jason W. Solomon is Associate Professor of Music at Agnes Scott College, Georgia, USA.