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Music for Sightsinging (6th Edition) [Spiral-bound]

Robert W. Ottman
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 3, 2004 0131896628 978-0131896628 6
For freshman/sophomore-level courses in any Music Theory curriculum. Blending step-by-step guidance with frequent practice, this text helps students cultivate an understanding of sight singing. This text presents melodies and exercises that enable students 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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The study of sight singing is one of the most important means of developing the ability to recognize ("to hear") mentally the sound of music notation on the printed page without the necessity of recourse to a musical instrument. For the professional musician, performer, or teacher, this skill is a necessity, while for others, achievement will greatly amplify the pleasures of musical activity in performance and listening.

To achieve success in sight singing, students must have large numbers of melodies available for practice. Once a melody has been sung, repetition is no longer "singing at first sight," although reviewing for study purposes is highly recommended. To this end, this volume includes 1,199 examples. Most of these are chosen from worldwide folk sources and a wide variety of composed music, ranging from melodies simpler than Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to excerpts from Bartok string quartets. The remaining examples, written by the author, provide practice for rhythm alone, and for singing melodies composed only of adjacent scale steps, valuable for initial study but rarely found in music literature.

Each chapter presents only one new problem, either in rhythm or in melody, allowing students to concentrate on the newly introduced feature. Otherwise, no chapter will include any material not already presented in earlier chapters. For the dedicated student, this careful selection and grading of melodies guarantees steady and rewarding progress to a successful accomplishment of sight singing skills. Some of the changes in the new edition include:

  • Additional melodies incorporating modulation and other uses of chromaticism.
  • In many chapters, order of materials reorganized to reflect a better sequence from easy to more difficult.
  • Revised and/or added materials in introductory statements, especially in the subjects of the hemiola, melodic use of the Neapolitan sixth harmony, and twentieth-century music.
  • Numerous new melodies, including a "find" of easy but effective melodies by Schubert, especially in modulation and syncopation.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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

Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 6 edition (January 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131896628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131896628
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I picked this book up at my local used bookstore for a fraction of the price that it costs new, or I would have never purchased it. However, for the less than $10.00 price tag, I had to get it!

The idea of this volume is to provide a large amount of singable lines in order to perfect sight-singing. The author's (compiler's?) idea is that once a piece of music has been read, it is no longer useful for true-sight-singing practice. Good point! But there are many volumes that are just as good to use as this one.

However, it's not bad. If you can get a deal like I did, going through this book will certainly improve your sight reading skills.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book September 10, 2012
Format:Spiral-bound|Verified Purchase
My son uses the later version of this book as a vocal performance major at college. I used it over the summer and really liked it, but didn't want to pay the high price for the newest version. I found this much cheaper older version to contain most of the same material.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and well thought out August 29, 2012
Format:Spiral-bound|Verified Purchase
My voice coach insists that her students get a copy of this. I have really just started using it but I find it extremely useful already. There are lots and lots of exercises but at the same time they are graded very well so you can start out very simply and still benefit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just right April 18, 2010
Format:Spiral-bound|Verified Purchase
Everything just fine - book was in the condition indicated, and arrived on time without a hitch.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Review: Music for Sight Singing; Ottman June 12, 2014
Format:Spiral-bound|Verified Purchase
I can't really rate this as I have nothing to compare it with. I got it because it's book my singing instructor uses.
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