This groundbreaking book presents the elements of music in a way that is pedagogically clear and comprehensible, by building upon simple principles of proportion and relationship. These in turn are corresponded to language as musical metaphor. This, in combination with novel graphics and symbols, carries the reader to a basic understanding of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic principles, as well as Western musical notation. A great primer on music theory for the novice or professional, as well as an invaluable resource for composers and students, it includes the following:
- A rich unfolding of metaphors and illustrations to elucidate a notoriously impenetrable and abstract subject.
- The properties of the overtone series and how it influences harmonic and melodic thought.
- A discussion of epigrams and dialectics exploring how meaning is carried through time.
- Rhythm and meter as the marking of time and the organization of it into self-similar structures.
- From the circle of fifths to intervals, triads, and later seventh chords and extensions.
- How major/minor key tonality and modulation occur, and how they differ from music based upon drones or other types of scales.
- How form and structure reflect the relationship of humans to time and emotional states.
- A wealth of scales, rhythmic patterns, and notation references in the appendices.
About the Author
Dr. Jason Martineau is a composer, pianist, and private instructor living in Berkeley, CA.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Abstract and dense with information, not so much a primer as the outline of a survey in music theory and composition. Each chapter is 2 pages, the first a narrative overview of a key concept and related ideas, the second a blend of drawings, schemata, and further description (usually of one key idea fro the narrative). For example: in the chapter Meet the Intervals, Martineau indicates there are two basic ways to define a set of notes in a scale. One is based in frequency ratios; the other is based in reference to a fundamental (if arbitrary) tone. This second approach involves the concept of Circle of FIfths, which is described and diagrammed in more detail on the second page of the chapter. This introduced me to the concept of Circle of Fifths, and does define it, but it is not discussed thoroughly and I'm not musical enough to understand it. This is true for much of the book, and I don't think it's a failing of the book in that I don't think it strives to do more than this.I would benefit from having Dr Martineau discuss in detail the concepts he writes about, and demonstrate how music or playing an instrument ties to the concept. The value of this book is its brevity, comprehensive overview, and the fact it does not seem to be limited to either a particular style of music (classical, popular, jazz, blues, etc) nor indeed even a cultural tradition (European, Folk, Indian, Chinese are all discussed).Perfect for flipping through and using as a jumping-off point for further exploration into specific concepts or musical idioms.As with all titles in the Wooden Books series I've seen, the text is expert, the diagrams are astonishing in how abstract concepts are delineated, and the overall perspective esoteric (both literally and seemingly in keeping with the esoteric tradition).
This is an excellent reference book. As a serious Music researcher and investigator, I found this little source of big information as a must have for anyone interested in finding the reason because their feet start dancing to the rythm of Music, even before your brain starts to think about dancing.