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Essential Dictionary of Music Notation: Pocket Size Book (Essential Dictionary Series) Paperback – October 1, 1996
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It is by no means a complete reference work on music notation. Instead, it covers most of the basics, and also a more-or-less random, small selection of less basic topics. This is not a guide for reading music; it is a handbook for people preparing notated scores and parts, whether by hand or by computer. It is unlikely to answer all the questions that would come up in notating any reasonably complicated piece of music. It will suffice, however, to notate a simple piece professionally, in either classical or pop/jazz style.
All of the entries accurately describe standard notational practice. Precise guidance is often given as to exact positioning and size, e.g. whether a given articulation is centered on a note stem or a note head, what angle of beam to use for different intervals, and where to place dots. The sections on topics like meter, rests, slurs, and ties are lucid and thorough.
On the other hand, precise guidance is often absent. For example, correct notation of the treble and bass clefs requires knowing that they are also, respectively, a "G" and an "F" clef, and should be positioned in a specific way to mark those pitches. The entry on "glissando" fails to explain how to notate the precise rhythm of a glissando (in the sense of its duration, and at what point in the measure it ends). The positioning of accidentals in chords of more than 3 notes is explained ambiguously, but not illustrated. No guidance at all is given on how to notate an interval of an altered unison (e.g., a B-flat/B-natural pairing.)
Little guidance at all is given on notating wind or percussion parts.Read more ›
I read this book from cover to cover and learned a lot. It is brief, to-the-point, and doesn't get distracted by addressing theory or orchestration. It's about the notation, pure and simple.
The book is small -- fits into your pocket easily. My single complaint is that the binding is rather cheap. I expect sooner or later pages will begin to come loose - an annoyance for a reference text. On the other hand, at under $10, I guess I can afford to just buy another copy.
Illustrations depicts the meaning often. For an example, under 'Articulation' it lists the 5 main types of articulation and then divides them into Durational and Forceful. It then tells you in detail what they all do and how they should be written. Although dynamics are obviously listed in this way, the range and detail of the dynamic, I feel, is inadequate.
The book covers traditional notation as well as TAB, and specialist requirements for certain instruments. 351 pages - for the price the dictionary is excellent. Portable and full of information, which can be easily and quickly understood.
However, the authors don't try to make out that this guide is all you need to know. A larger book would be more detailed. This is well worth it!
Three terms I sought that were not in the index:
Appoggiatura (grace note) and Acciaccatura (short appoggiatura or multiple grace notes).
"Embellishment" (!) also was *not* in the Index. Granted , "ornaments" was there, but that is aggravating for something called dictionary.
Any recommendation for a real dictionary?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Now that I've got THE ESSENTIAL DICTIONARY OF MUSIC NOTATION; I actually stand A chance, as; Heretofore almost every piece of sheet music I could ever afford to buy, had something... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Rev. Bertier Riddle
A book that you should have sitting on your bookshelf within reach!Published 5 months ago by Michael F. Nartker
About 1 inch of the left side of the entire text is missing. The book is useless since only the last 2 or 3 letters in the main entries are shown.Published 8 months ago by Luis A. Lopez-Lemus
Excellent guide for all working musicians out there, it's like the perfect source of information.Published 8 months ago by Maurizio Fiore
So far I have found the explanation for all the notation needed. This is a small book, about the size of a CD jewel case and a little larger than half an inch thick. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Amazon Customer