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The Elements of Music: Melody, Rhythm, and…

The Elements of Music: Melody, Rhythm, and Harmony (Wooden Books)

by Dr. Jason Martineau

Series: Wooden Books

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    The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory by Michael Miller (elenchus)
    elenchus: Worth reading for the musician and music fan alike, and the drawings are fascinating.

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Abstract and dense with information, Elements of Music is not so much a primer as the outline of a survey in music theory and composition. I will dip into it repeatedly to remind me of things to "work out", and to better appreciate as my knowledge improves.

Each chapter is 2 pages, the first a narrative overview of a key concept and related ideas, the second a blend of drawings, schemata, and further description (usually of one key idea from the narrative). For example: in the chapter Meet the Intervals, Martineau indicates there are two basic ways to define a set of notes in a scale. One is based in frequency ratios; the other is based in reference to a fundamental (if arbitrary) tone. This second approach involves the concept of Circle of Fifths, which is described and diagrammed in more detail on the second page of the chapter. This introduced me to the concept of Circle of Fifths, and does define it, but it is not discussed thoroughly and I'm not musically sophisticated enough to understand it. This is true for much of the book, and I don't think it's a failing of the book in that I don't think it strives to do more than this.

I would benefit from having someone discuss in detail the concepts Martineau writes about, and demonstrate the concept on an instrument. But again, that's not a failing of the book, but a reminder that its arguments are best use in tandem with direct listening. The value of this book is its brevity, comprehensive overview, and the fact it does not seem to be limited to either a particular style of music (classical, popular, jazz, blues, etc) nor indeed even a cultural tradition (European, Folk, Indian, Chinese traditions each are discussed).

Perfect for flipping through and using as a jumping-off point for further exploration into specific concepts or musical idioms.

As with all titles in the Wooden Books series I've seen, the text is expert, the diagrams astonish in their delineation of abstract concepts, and overall the series seems to take an esoteric approach to its subject matter (both literally and in keeping with the esoteric tradition). ( )
  elenchus | Mar 21, 2010 |
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Music is the art medium that communicates interiority, being only received by the ears, and received by the mind. A strict approach to understanding music will consequently always have something lacking as music theory, in essence, is primarily descriptive and not prescriptive.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802716822, Hardcover)

An elegant primer on the principles and theories of music.

This innovative book presents the elements of music by building upon the long-known fundamentals of acoustics, proportion and relationship--a kind of musical metaphor. In combination with novel graphics and symbols, the principles behind melody, rhythm, and harmony come alive, along with those of Western musical notation. From intervals, triads, and the circle of fifths to major/minor keys and modulation, Dr. Martineau presents a splendid primer on music theory for the novice and professional alike.

Walker & Company is proud to launch Wooden Books, a collectable series of concise books offering simple introductions to timeless sciences and vanishing arts.

Attractively simple in their appearance yet extremely informative in content, these unusual books are the perfect gift solution for all ages and occasions. The expanding title range is highly collectable and ensures continuing interest. In addition, the books are non-gloss and non-color, appealing to a greener book-buying public. Wooden Books are ideally suited to non-book outlets.

Wooden Books are designed as timeless. Much of the information contained in them will be as true in five hundred years time as it was five hundred years ago. These books are designed as gifts, lovely to own. They are beautifully made, case-bound, printed using ultra-fine plates on the highest quality recycled laid paper, finished with thick recycled endpapers and sewn in sections. There are fine, hand drawn illustrations on every page.
The fast-moving world of Wooden Books brings you a selection of fascinating titles.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:37 -0400)

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