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Harmony and Voice Leading 3rd Edition

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0155062429
ISBN-10: 0155062425
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Editorial Reviews


"The Exercises are first rate."

"The Exercises are also extremely good. In many chapters there are more lengthy exercises than most instructors could possibly use, but it's nice to be able to choose the ones one likes best."

"I consider HARMONY AND VOICE LEADING to be without question the preeminent harmony book on the market today. ... It offers instruction on a high musical and intellectual level that does not condescend to students, but rather encourages growth in the subject that is both rapid and profound."

"(I use HARMONY AND VOICE LEADING because of) ... the marvelous organization of the material; the authors' impressive mastery of the material; the musicianly quality of the presentation, which conveys the necessary information very effectively...but never mechanically; the high quality of the exercises and excerpts for analysis, which are thought-provoking for the teacher as well as the student; and the extremely well-chosen musical examples."

"The concepts are approached from a musical standpoint as I mentioned earlier. In addition, the coverage is incredibly thorough and logically presented. My personal favorite is that the homework exercises are largely compositional in nature, as opposed to 'fill in the blank' harmonic exercises. I believe that through composition and melody harmonization students best learn harmony and voice leading principles. Most importantly, through composition, students will make the transition to counterpoint studies more easily."

About the Author

Edward Aldwell received his bachelor's and master's degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied piano with Adele Marcus. He studied theory and analysis privately with Carl Schachter and later with Ernst Oster. He has been a member of the Techniques of Music department at Mannes since 1969 and a member of the piano department since 1973. He has taught theory at The Curtis Institute of Music since 1971 and is currently Chairperson of the theory department. He has given recitals and master classes throughout the United States as well as in Israel, England and Germany, many of them devoted to the works of Bach. Recordings include both books of THE WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER, GOLDBERG VARIATIONS and FRENCH SUITES OF BACH, as well as works of Hindemith and Faure.

Carl Schachter has taught music theory and analysis at Mannes College since 1956. He has served as the Chair of the Techniques of Music Division, and he was Dean of the College from 1962 to 1966. In July 1996 he retired as Distinguished Professor of Music at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate School, where he had taught since 1971. Following his retirement from Queens College, he joined the faculty of The Juilliard School. He has lectured and taught in France, England, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Finland, Estonia, Holland, Mexico, and Australia as well as the U.S. and Canada.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 3rd edition (August 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0155062425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0155062429
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When I was a student at the University of Michigan School of Music in the late seventies and early eighties, we used the then brand new first edition of this book. I thought it was quite good then, and I believe this third edition to be an even better book. It treats the subjects of tonal harmony and voice leading quite well. There have been some solid improvements in the way a few things are explained and some changes in the musical examples. However, it is still fundamentally the same sound course for undergraduate music theory it has been since 1978. However, it now comes in one volume instead of the two volumes of the first edition.

The text begins with a quick review of the basics of musical grammar, a brief introduction of the rudiments of musical notation, intervals, rhythm (and meter), chords, and four-part harmony. Part II talks about the powerful relationship between the tonic and dominant chords, chord progressions elaborating that relationship, and even the dominant as a key area (whether you call it tonicization or modulation is up to you). Part III discusses the implications of root position, first inversion, and second inversion chords in elaborating harmonies and in sequences. Part IV is actually about contrapuntal issues, but is framed in a discussion of melodic figuration. Part V introduces chromaticism, modal mixture, and extends the discussion on uses of seventh chords. Part VI extends the discussion of chromaticism and includes ninth and eleventh chords, Phrygian II (Neapolitan chords), augmented sixths, and more types of mixture. There is also important discussion of the implications all this has for voice leading and modulation to other key areas.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By jon_e on December 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
One thing to understand about this book - it was not written with beginners in mind. It is a college-level theory textbook, and is probably one of the few books that present basic theory concepts in a coherent, unified fashion. The "restrictions" some reviewers complain about, are actually part of a time-honored approach to teaching theory (think "species counterpoint"). To understand the book, a teacher needs to understand something of the ideas and approach of Heinrich Schenker (Schachter was one of Schenker's students). Unlike many theory books, which are into quick summaries and labels, this book is based on a deep understanding of how western tonal music works (at least from the Schenkerian perspective). Even basic concepts like scale degrees, intervals, and triads, are presented in such a way that important relationships among tones become evident. Chords are not merely chunks of notes that deserve a label, but are part of a larger, contrapuntal whole. Sticking with the early chapters, and especially getting a good grasp of the contrapuntal nature of even the most basic chords (insights gained into the similar "passing chord" functions of the V4/3 and viio6 chords, for example) are well worth the effort. Upon successful completion of the first 10 or 11 chapters, a student should have a new understanding of how tonal music works.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Olli Väisälä on October 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I first encountered this book when I already had done my master's thesis in music theory and considered myself as quite competent in the field of tonal harmony. Nevertheless, reading the book produced several experiences of finally apprehending clearly something that earlier had only been more or less vague practical knowledge. For this reason I enjoyed every section of the book, even though it starts from the very basics. Yet, its way of expression is so simple, even artless, that surely nobody will find it hard to follow. In fact, at first I was a little irritated by what seemed to me as somewhat patronizing style of the book - occasionally it seemed to me as being written for schoolchildren rather than adult students - but I soon learnt to ignore this stylistic feature (which seems typical of American textbooks in general). In any case, I think the book is simply the best ever written on tonal harmony, containing practically every harmonic usage of classical tonal music and integrating them to a grand overall view. This is a classic book in its field.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you are learning the concepts of harmony and voice leading for the first time prepare to read the same paragraph over and over and over again. On average it took me between 2-3 hours to read a chapter and fully comprehend it. I found that the writing was a bit difficult to understand and it took me longer that usual to understand all of the concepts. The really good thing about this textbook is the way in which all the information in it is organized. It starts with the most basic information and gets progressivly more difficult, each chapter builds on the preceeding chapter. All the information is delivered in a sequential manner so that each time you grasp a new concept you are a little bit closer to seeing the big picture. I would recommend this textbook to those who already have a solid foundation in basic music concepts, key signatures, intervals, rhythm and meter, triads, chords and figured bass. It is an advanced textbook which would suppliment music lessons or a theory course. I would not however, recommend it to someone who was learning about theory and harmony independantly as some of the concepts are very difficult to fully understand without asking someone else (like a theory teacher) for help.
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