Most helpful critical review
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Not the right book for me
on 24 September 2012
I bought this book because of the good reviews I read. Unfortunately, I must say I am quite dissapointed with it for several important reasons:
1) The explanations on each topic are very short. In most cases, important concepts are explained in one or two sentences, when it would be necessary one or two pages to do so (I had to consult other books to understand what the author was talking about). In this sense, the book was of little help to gain new knowledge of compositional techniques. Moreover, the style of his writing is very distant and unfriendly -it doesn't motivate or create empathy between the reader and the author.
2) The music examples in the book sound -to me- quite awfull in general. The main reason is because of the scales "imposed" by the author: he restricts the compositions to be made by the reader to -mainly- the Dorian, Phrygian and Pentatonic scales, which are not -in my opinion- the ideal scales to work with when starting to learn composition techniques. All this was quite demotivating for me and didn't encourage new compositional ideas.
3) The beggining of the book is very basic, but a few chapters later, the difficulty rises exponentially. So the book is not clearly for beginners, and an experienced composer will find the first few chapters useless.
After reaching the middle of the book, I realized why I didn't like the music examples and why the author used such unfrequent scales as the Phrygian scale: the author has a clear bias towards Minimalistic music (there are a few chapters dedicated just to this kind of music) and the whole book is written in a minimalistic style (is this what "A New Approach" means?). And this, finally, is the main reason why I didn't like the book: I was looking for a book that would teach me compositional techniques based on CLASSICAL HARMONY, and would explain each concept IN DETAIL, with PLEASING sounding musical examples based on CLASSICAL functional harmony. This is not so in this book.
In conclusion, if you like Minimalistic music and have a good backgroung in Harmony and Composition, you might find this book useful. If you are looking for in depth and clear explanations of compositional techniques, based on classicai harmony, I don't recommend this book at all.