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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2005
Despite my reviewer name (CPT Scott, my other career is as a Certified Personal Trainer), I have actually been a full time piano teacher since 1981 and teach about 45 lessons a week. While I am passionate about playing and teaching classical music I also studied jazz quite intensely at Berklee College of music and took some lessons with Jazz pianist Hal Galper.

The reason I mention Hal, is because the approach to note grouping in this book is very similar in concept to Hals approach to creating melodic lines with forward motion. He would actually have you practice scales in a way that had forward motion by using approach notes and target notes, you wouldn't start on the tonic of the scale but would play "in approach" to the tonic.

I have been teaching people to improvise using these concepts since I took those lesson with Hal over 20 years ago. I know Hal has a book out called "Forward Motion" but I've not gotten to check it out yet but I'd be surprised if it also isn't fabulous.

Both Hal and this book "Note Groupings" are revelatory ways of looking at music.

Anyway, after reading "Note grouping" I was listening intensely to Alfred Brendel, whose one of my favorite pianists. I could hear him using "note grouping" in his playing. You can hear often hear him doing subtle crescendo's up to the last note before the downbeat of a measure and just as he reaches the down beat there is a feeling of dynamic resolution.

I think this book is a real eye opener, a way for musicians at all levels to learn to look at music in a way that will create more flow and dynamic (both in terms of dynamic level and also using rhythm dynamically in the agogic sense).

Highly recommended!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 1998
Fully explains through musical example, the concept of expressive musicianship as taught by Anton Horner, William Kincaid and Marcel Tabuteau. This book clearly illustrates how to teach students to play or sing with expression, musicianship and style and will help to make your performances "come alive".
"Here in print are exactly the concepts I was taught by Robert Shaw and Julius has had a profound influence upon music education everywhere!" Weston H. Noble Director of Music Activities, Luther College
Dr. Thurmond has had a profound impact on musicians all over the world. This book unlocks the secrets of playing musically. A must for all players and teachers!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2004
This book was loaned to me by a colleague. At first I thought the title was rather unexciting, and that this may be a dull, uninformative book. This has proved to be very incorrect.
Thurmond's main point is that musicians can be taught to play/sing expressively, specifically with respect to rhythm.
Most amateur musicians have a tendency to play to the downbeat too forcefully and the preceding upbeat without proper emphasis, Thurmond theorizes. This postulate slowly is applied to larger and larger parts of the music, from the inner pulse to the common beat, back again to strong and weak measures, and even perhaps on a larger scale. In some ways it resembles a "Shenkerian" approach to rhythm.
Although this theory may sound confusing at first, Thurmond restates and clarifies each element with such incremental precision that it is relatively simple to follow.
Amateur musicians as well as professionals can benefit from this book, provided that the reader is able to read music and knows the difference between a downbeat and an upbeat (of course this disqualifies all trombone players--Just kidding). You will enjoy the insights in this book!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2002
This is one of those very rare books about music performance that is actually useful to the performing musician (as well as the devoted listener). It describes the historical basis of our perception of rhythm, its expressive impact, and its practical application. It has had an enormous impact on me both as a performer and a teacher is an invaluable tool for all musicians! I give it my highest recommendation!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2001
My trumpet teacher in college, Charles Schlueter of the Boston Symphony, recommended this book to all of his students. I learned a great deal on expressive playing. This is very helpfull to young and accoplished musicians alike.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2003
After struggling with being told to "be expressive" by music teachers and not knowing for sure what they meant, this book opened the door to my understanding. This is key information that should be read by all people who make music.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2004
This book is a must I mean a must for all musicians! The author shows how phrases are linked together and their patterns. It takes the guess work out of how to phrase properly and allows the music to come out. If you teach, perform, or coach a group you will clearly hear and be able to show these patterns to your students or friends. It will allow them to not only see it, but hear it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2006
this tiny 150 pages book has a clear message concerning the arsis-thesis concept in phrasing, which has a profound effect on my performance of classical music. After a few hours of study my comprehension of movement in music had grown a lot, and piano playing has become a lot more fun. This book is the ideal antidotum against the unconscious influence of the growing habit to put emphasis on the beat in contemporary music. Unfortunately the book is glued together is an amateuristic fashion: mine fell apart after several hours of intensive reading. But it is still higly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2011
I was a student of Dr. Thurmond's, so I'm a bit biased by the enormous respect I have for the man. I did not work as hard as I should have when I had him as a teacher, and now that he's gone I'm grateful to have this book in my library; it's sort of like I get a second chance. Yes, it's dry and pedantic and formal, but he was too; he was a product of his time, and I couldn't help but smile when I read the stiffly worded explanations, because he really did talk like that. I was not able to hear him play in his prime, but on the rare occasions when he would demonstrate something for me, the sound he produced was like a gift, and even a clod of a student like me could recognize the artistry and the musicianship.......even then, when his technical skills had slipped, his sound just soared, and the phrases he played danced and sang as if they had a life of their own, even the simplest passages. I suppose there are a lot of musicians who can do that, but what makes him (and this book) so great is that he manages to put it into words. I didn't fully appreciate him at the time, but I do now, and I'd like to offer this review really as a tribute to an outstanding musician and mentor. Doc, you were awesome, and it wasn't your fault that I didn't pay attention.......but I am now. Thanks, man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2011
I was a student in Dr. Thurmond's classes at Lebanon Valley College, and accompanist for his Concert Choir, and studio lessons. I have had many excellent teachers in my music education, but none took me to the next level as did the information presented here and personally by Dr. Thurmond. An anaylsis of WHY great artists are great artists - written for all to understand and learn to use in their playing and singing.

This book had not been published in my student days, but I took copious notes in his classes, even then realizing the value of what he was giving us. Pages and pages of notes!
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Expression in Music
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Phrasing and Articulation: A Contribution to a Rhetoric of Music (Norton Library)

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