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Customer Review

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal and illuminating, 28 Jan. 2005
This review is from: Theory of Harmony (California Library Reprint) (Paperback)
Schoenberg's 'Theory of Harmony' is a wonderful and luminous book, which can be read by the non-musician as a theory of aesthetics, or used by the music student as a challenging but comprehensive course in harmonic technique.
Working from first principles, Schoenberg gives a tour de force exploring the development of Western harmony from the most basic properties of a vibrating string or a column of air.
Filled with musical examples, Schoenberg works up through the various properties of tonality and the scale, through strong chord progression, modulation and into the disorientating world of augmented chords into a fully 12 tone theory of harmony.
What is fascinating is that although Schoenberg himself is best known for his composition of 12 tone music, which, with all the best will in the world, is tedious listening at the best of times, his theory is primarily about the classical harmony of the Germanic tradition.
This book is flawed for two reasons. First, Schoenberg's science is actually wrong -- his physics of sound does not really account for the ideas which he tries to impose on it. In a sense this does not matter, since his ideas are muscially 'right'.
Secondly, although this is a magnificent work for developing structural skills in the German tradition, it does not really account for impressionistic writing of the French tradition, especially in the 20th century.
Fascinating nonetheless.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Mar 2010 13:49:35 GMT
Morgan says:
Yes indeed.
Only if you understand. You need far high level of music theory knowledge to read this book.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Martin Turner
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   

Location: Marlcliff, Warwickshire, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 149