Music for Sightsinging, Sixth Edition

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9780131826625: Music for Sightsinging, Sixth Edition

Blending step-by-step guidance with frequent practice, this book helps readers cultivate an understanding of sight singing and acquire the necessary skills to hear mentally a piece of printed music without using an instrument. Arranging its 21 chapters to study both pitch and rhythm, this book presents melodies and exercises that enable readers to develop the skills of reading pitch, reading rhythm, and combining these two essential elements. The Sixth Edition contains nearly 1200 melodies taken from a wide spectrum of music literature and the world's folk music. For professionals with a career in music, music education, and composition.

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Music for Sight Singing provides music examples for practice in accomplishing the sight singing goals described on the first page of the text. The principal objective of the study is to acquire the ability to sing a given melody at first sight. Once sung, that melody no longer qualifies to satisfy its purpose, though repetition is valuable in reviewing errors. Thus, a large number of melodies (nearly 1,200 in this volume) is desirable to provide enough practice material to accomplish the "first sight" requirement.

So that the sight singing materials will provide a musical satisfaction greater than that from routine exercises, the melodies in this text are carefully chosen from the literature of composed music and a wide range of the world's folk music. Music examples written, especially for pedagogical purposes are kept to a minimum. All materials are graded so that the student is presented with just one musical problem, rhythmic or melodic, at a time. In a given melody, only those musical elements presented in its chapter or in previous chapters will be found. To facilitate the presentation of either element—pitch or rhythm—the opening examples of each chapter will make use only of the simplest materials of the other element.

Prerequisite to the study of sight singing is a working knowledge of the basic aspects of music theory, these often taught from materials with titles such as "Introduction," "Rudiments," or "Fundamentals."1 In the area of pitch, these are especially important: (1) the ability to spell, write, and sing all major and minor scales; (2) the ability to write all major and minor key signatures; and (3) the ability to recognize the key from a given key signature. In the area of rhythm, a knowledge of note values and the interpretation of time (meter) signatures is necessary. Much of this information will be reviewed as the need occurs throughout the text. However, bringing to the opening studies a comprehensive and usable knowledge of these basic materials will guarantee more immediate accomplishment of sight-reading goals.

The text as a whole may be considered as consisting of four parts:

  1. Chapters 1-9, diatonic melodies with rhythmic patterns limited to beat-note values and their simplest divisions (simple time, two per beat; compound time, three per beat).
  2. Chapters 10-12, rhythmic studies and diatonic melodies that include subdivisions of the beat value.
  3. Chapters 13-19, chromaticism, modulation, and more advanced rhythmic problems.
  4. Chapters 20-21, the medieval modes and twentieth-century melodic lines.

The principal features of previous editions remain unchanged. Improvement in this sixth edition include (1) some fifty new melodies, many in the areas of chromaticism, while considerably fewer have been deleted; (2) additional explanatory material for such subjects as "hemiola," and "Neapolitan sixth chords"; and (3) in many chapters, melodies relocated to present smoother progression from easy to difficult within the chapter.

Robert W. Ottman

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