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Tonal Harmony [Hardcover]

Stefan Kostka , Dorothy Payne
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 July 2003 0072852607 978-0072852608 5
Designed to meet the needs of music theory courses, this straightforward text emphasizes practicality and ease of use for both the student and the instructor. Its outstanding ancillary package, which includes a collection of audio examples on CD and an extensive "Instructor's Manual", rounds out the effective teaching package.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education; 5 edition (1 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0072852607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072852608
  • Product Dimensions: 25.9 x 21 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 752,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the Publisher

New Larger trim size which will make the text easier to read.
Notational Highlights (indicated in second color)point out important and specific passages in the notational examples. We are the only theory book on the market that does this.

"Variation" New in-text element found at the end of each chapter pointing students to the OLC to expand on specific topics.

Species counterpoint will be on the OLC.
Updated Twentieth Century coverage: There are now more contemporary music examples.
Two sets of CD recordings: With one set for students and another set for instructors, Kostka-Payne offers a huge collection of music for theory classes. Each recording is performed using the instruments mentioned in the written example.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Pitch in music refers to the highness or lowness of a sound. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A MOST MUSICAL THEORY OF MUSIC OFFERING! 29 Mar 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This text is still one of the best on the market today due to its layout, depth and ancillary resources.
Many of these USA texts also come with their respective Online Learning Centres and Instructor's Manuals.
Currently there is NO UK text that can rival the tonal harmony resources that the USA are in abundance of.
I am a professional piano and its associated subjects pedagogue of thirty years standing, worldwide performer of gospel music, ex music examiner-possessing all the major texts and their ancillary resources (Instructor's Manuals etc) and have spent many years aiding students to understand tonal harmony from an audiation stance whereas the UK tonal harmony / theory of music texts from the UK examination boards do NOT provide mandatory listening components within their meagre offerings to aid the development of these underestimated and lacking musicianship skills not found in many professing musicians today.
Don't take my word for it but take the word of so many musicians around the world who passionately adhere to the fact that the internalization of sounds is paramount to a musicians' development.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  44 reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much improved but still has a ways to go 9 Dec 2001
By klavierspiel - Published on
I've used this book for my first-year theory class for nine years, through three editions. I haven't found any better but that doesn't mean I think it's perfect. I agree with some of the other commentaries about the errors and the poor choice of musical examples. Students of mine have frequently complained about this. In addition, the book is very keyboard-centric and thus creates difficulties for people who don't play the piano and who aren't used to reading keyboard score. One can argue, of course, that keyboard facility is a skill any serious musician ought to have (being a pianist myself, I agree in principle), but still, there ARE good musicians who are not pianists who will struggle unnecessarily with this material.
Other, specific things I would change about the book: 1) The chapters on part-writing emphasize too heavily the minutiae of voice-leading and thus obscure the point that we're talking about the relative motion of complete melodic lines. More exercises involving only two parts, to give students a thorough grounding in the basics (i.e., no parallel fifths and octaves), would really help. 2) Although including discussions and examples from popular music is a good idea, the section that tries to explain the concept of "suspension" in pop chord symbols is skimpy and confusing. 3) I find the whole explanation of harmonic progression, based on the circle-of-fifths progression, unconvincing. Piston's looser cataloging for me better fits the reality of tonal music.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh well ... nice try. 18 Oct 2005
By Music Man - Published on
I've been teaching music theory for 35 years, and have seen a lot of texts that I like less than this one. However, it doesn't make this one wonderful.

As other reviewers have mentioned, there are a lot of errors. Also, there are far too many places in the examples where they say, "Ignore this note", or "Forget about this for now". You'd think they'd have found better examples without making the interested student wonder what's really going on, and the less involved student confused with excess.

This book is heavy in overkill. It's the same problem as in computer manuals: they obviously feel like they have to tell you EVERYTHING, and that nothing is more important than anything else. For example, they go on for pages and pages about chord spacing and voice leading, where a simple grounding in how to write and recognize decent melodies would go a lot farther and reduce dependance on mastering mountains of scrupulous finicky detail.

The authors obviously feel that the inner voices are no more or less important than the soprano-bass counterpoint, whereas perceptually, the soprano and bass carry most of the weight of what's heard and experienced. The emphasis is on recognizing the vertical component of harmony at the expense of the horizontal, but music is experienced as ongoing linear motion, not as successive blocks of stuff. On the other confused hand, they treat Alberti Bass as a note-to-note melodic line, where it's exprienced as just a rhythmised chord with the bass predominant. Minor scales and harmony are introduced as soon as major, and this much complexity before students know what's going on is pedagogically weak. It's the same with triads and seventh chords. And so-on.

You need to understand the simple before getting into the complex.

If you are good at taking a long string of finicky detail where all is of equal importance, and developing it all into a bigger picture with hierarchies, this book might be good for you. Otherwise, keep looking.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, necessarily dry, and best, educational. 22 Feb 2002
By Thomas J. Dempster - Published on
I am quite amused by the complaints I hear from students and professors about this text. Perhaps these folks who exude grunts and groans about this text have not had the grave misfortune of encountering Gauldin's bare-bones tonal-harmony survey. I would jump quickly to recommend Piston's original text, but the deVoto bastardization destroyed any sense of "fun" or instructional continuity present in the original version (which I am lucky - and old enough - to own).
Let's face it: expository writing is tedious. It is not meant by nature or design to be a page-turning writing device. Nonetheless, Kostka's survey is complete, providing adequate and clear examples, and written in a very succinct manner. True, Kostka does dwell in a few places, but these minutiae-explanations are necessary (if you have ever taught elementary theory, you will understand immediately). The organization of the text is second to none, and the authors are consistent in explanations and refrain from "inventing" jargon or becoming unnecessarily nebulous (Gauldin, for one, is notorious in this regard).
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Harmony Text 30 Mar 2006
By rufe - Published on
This is an excellent introduction, covering most aspects of theory thoroughly. It is also MUCH easier to read than Walter Piston's Harmony. The problem is that this book is much more abstract than piston's book, breezes over inversions of chords much too quickly and is a tad lax in the rules of voice leading. I do suggest you consider that text as well.

It's still a good introduction that you will ACTUALLY READ. It covers all triads, seventh chords, chord functions, chromatically altered chords like Neapolitan and Augmented sixth chords, covers non-harmonic tones, and even goes off onto other (more abstract) topics.

As to the reviewer below who pointed out that it neglects counterpoint and focuses too much on the vertical aspect of music (for example, in the exercises EVER note is a different chord and almost no non-harmonic tones are employed): this is an ELEMENTARY HARMONY text. Counterpoint is generally approached after the student has mastered all that is contained in this book. The exercises are meant to teach voice leading and chord functions. Fux's treatise on Counterpoint from Gradus Ad Parnassum clearly states that what is learned in the "first part" on Harmony still applies in writing counterpoint. The horizontal aspect of music can be taught better if the the vertical aspect is understood first. Multiple times Fux also says that exercises, whether those in the book on counterpoint or those in this text, are designed to instruct and make future writing of music easier, but aren't the same as writing music.
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware the Fourth Edition 11 Dec 1999
By Bluesbo - Published on
Be forewarned that the new 4th edition is rife with errors resulting from bad proofreading -- both in the text and in the workbook. Apparently, the publishers (I can't imagine the authors would do this) were in such a hurry to get this out by the start of the Fall 1999 semester, that they unleashed this abortion of botched key signatures and wrong notes. Were these guys swattin' flies on staff paper, or what? The typography and layout are crowded and harder to read than the clean, uncluttered pages of the 3rd edition. Also, I've been told part of the rush was to incorporate more information on reading lead sheets, women composers, and more 20th century techniques. Why does the latter need to be in an introductory text? Save it for the grad students. Please spare us the contemporary and politically correct fourth edition, and give us back the sturdy, error-free 3rd edition.
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