Music Theory for Non-Music Majors

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9780131925014: Music Theory for Non-Music Majors

Music Theory for Non-Music Majors is designed for the student who wishes to gain a thorough understanding of the basic principles of music theory, but who is not immediately interested in making a career out of music. Chapters 1-4 cover the basic elements of notation, major and minor scales, scale degrees, simple meter, and melodic intervals. Chapter 5 applies the materials of the first four chapters to analyzing and composing melodies. Chapters 6 and 7 address triads, seventh chords, compound meter, and some basic principles of music notation. Chapter 8 applies the materials of the entire text to analyzing and composing songs that consist of a melody with a simple harmonic accompaniment. Because learning is best accomplished by doing, each chapter contains numerous carefully graduated exercises that follow concise text with clear musical examples, notes, and diagrams. In Chapters 5 and 8, the two pivotal chapters of the book, the exercises challenge students' imaginations in addition to their grasp of the information. This new edition features an improved layout and, in Appendix A, more complex pieces of music for analysis.

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From the Publisher:

This text/workbook is especially designed for students who are not necessarily planning to make a career out of music, but who wish to understand how most of the music they hear every day on the radio or television essentially works.

From the Inside Flap:

Preface

Music Theory for Non-Music Majors is a text/workbook for students who are not necessarily planning to make a career out of music, but who wish to reach an understanding of how most of the music they hear every day on the radio or television essentially works. Using the piano keyboard as the starting point, the author systematically introduces the various elements of notation and related concepts that culminate first in the analysis and writing of Melody (Chapter 5), and second in the analysis and writing of Harmony and Melody (Chapter 8). To this end, the chapters are organized in a similar manner. Following an introduction that lays down the groundwork for each chapter, the author combines concise text with clear musical examples and diagrams in preparation for several carefully graduated exercises that test the students' knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, and that gradually sharpen their technical and creative skills.

Throughout the text, the author does not compromise a solid theoretical approach for one that allows easy gratification but delivers little substance. On the contrary, he firmly believes that the subject matter must be made accessible through a sound pedagogy; otherwise, students' attention soon wanders and their interest consequently wanes. He believes, also, that to understand and enjoy music more thoroughly, even at a relatively elementary level, its fundamentals must be absorbed by the amateur generally in the same way as they are by the professional, for the musical language is the same for both. The difference lies largely in the breadth of the vocabulary, and in the complexity of the syntax.

The page layout of Music Theory for Non-Music Majors is designed to take full advantage of the text/workbook format. The pages are perforated so that students may tear out their exercises for grading. However, to prevent any loss of information, exercises and text are not printed back-to-back on the same page. Furthermore, to allow for rapid feedback and reinforcement, exercises are printed on one side of the page only (on the reverse side there are spaces for the student's name, class, date, and instructor's comments), enabling the student to hand in exercise pages one at a time. The instructor, therefore, has the opportunity to correct and return them with the minimum of delay. Even more immediate feedback is available to students through several of the exercises in which a "mirroring" technique is employed. These exercises, which are designed to be selfgraded, involve matching of one kind or another, so that in the first group one part of the matching is given, and in the second group, the other. These mirrored exercises may be found in the following chapters:

Chapter 1: Exercises A and B Chapter 2: Exercises A and B Chapter 3: Exercises A and B C and D Chapter 4: Exercises A and D B and E C and F Chapter 6: Exercises A and B Chapter 7: Exercises A and B C and D

Music Theory for Non-Music Majors was conceived for a course of the same name that is a component,,ef the undergraduate liberal studies sequence at Florida State University. There is no reason, however, why this book should not serve as the text for an introductory theoy class in high school, for a similar class in an adult continuing education program, or even for a theory class in a private music studio. This text, although initially intended for the undergraduate non-music major, may be of benefit to anyone who wishes to discover the basic principles of music theory.

The second edition of Music Theory for Non-Music Majors does not feature many substantive changes, largely because the first edition was tested in the classroom for some time before it was assembled formally as a text book. Two changes, however, should be mentioned. First, the physical layout of the text has been enhanced in several places. Second, additional, optional pieces for analysis have been included in Appendix A.

Finally, the author would again like to thank Thomas D. Risher of the University of Alabama, Charles L. Byrne (retired) of the University of Minnesota, and Edwin F. Avril, for their perceptive, constructive, and very helpful reviews of the first edition of the text. He would also like to thank Michael Bowers (who proposed the inclusion of the mirrored exercises), Oren Fader, Andrew Houchins, Patricia Muller, and Scott Robbins. This group of five instructors grappled with the earliest drafts of the text, made numerous very helpful suggestions, and quickly pointed out and corrected errors as the book gradually took shape.

PETER SPENCER

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Published by Prentice Hall College Div (1995)
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