1st Edition

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

By Jason W. Solomon Copyright 2019
    322 Pages
    by Routledge

    322 Pages
    by Routledge

    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



    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


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