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Harmonyby Walter Piston
Synopses & Reviews
Years after Walter Piston's death, his students and their students can still take great pride in the enduring vitality of his teaching. By now it is plain that the book is different from what it used to be, but its essential approach and its basic substance remain as they were. The major departure of the fourth edition was the addition of seven new chapters, including four on the complicated subject of harmony after common practice, which had not been discussed in the first three editions. However, then as now, the core of the book remains the exhaustive treatment of common-practice harmony, the subject of most one-year or two-year courses in tonal harmony. In the present edition, the entire text has been carefully revised with a view to clarifying the language and illuminating the essential principles. Wherever possible, the text has been "opened up" to allow the reader to adopt a more leisurely pace through what had been a terse and detailed presentation. The results will also be perceived in the more spacious design of this edition. New exercises have been added to the early chapters as well as some fresh music examples. There is an entirely new chapter on musical texture that serves to clear up many difficult points encountered by the beginning student. Another innovation is the rearrangement of the chapters dealing with harmonic rhythm and the structure of the phrase as well as the inclusion of a short summary of analytical method. This book has long been known as an introductory textbook, but because of its comprehensive range, it also serves as an invaluable reference book. The acquisition of an consummate knowledge of composers' practice--the goal of any study of harmony--is admittedly an endless assignment. , but consolation may be derived from the thought that intellectual and artistic rewards are to be found at all stages along the way.
'This fifth edition of Harmony marks the forty-fifth year of its successful use. The major departure of the fourth edition was the addition of seven new chapters, including four on the complicated subject of harmony after common practice, which had not been discussed in the first three editions.\n
This Workbookhas been designed to accompany Piston's Harmony, Fifth Edition, as revised by Mark DeVoto, and to supplement it were necessary.
This fifth edition of marks the forty-fifth year of its successful use.
The basic organization of this Workbookis straightforward: each of the fifteen units matches a corresponding chapter in the main text. the unit sections include:
WORDS AND IDEAS to define in your own terms. All relevant information may be found in the corresponding chapter of the main text.
EXERCISES, which are, for the most part, drills requiring a sort of mental calisthenics. You are to do these in a concentrated fashion, striving for accuracy and speed.
Analysis, the section designed to help you develop basic skills that are not discussed at great length in the text. In the first few units, a system is developed by which you learn to record data resulting from your analytical efforts.
COMPOSITION ACTIVITIES, consisting of a special set of activities to introduce you to a new world of creativity. You are called upon to utilize the principles covered in each chapter in a personal, highly individualized way.
SELF TESTS, which are brief summaries of a chapter's contents and are useful for spot-checking information. The answers to the Self Tests be found in Appendix 1.
'The core of the book, however, remains the exhaustive treatment of common-practice harmony, which will still be the basis for most one-year or two-year courses in tonal harmony. In the present edition the entire text has been carefully examined, with a view especially to clarifying the language whenever possible. A few topics of relatively lesser importance have been deleted, and a number of duplicative examples have been trimmed.'
About the Author
Walter Piston was Professor of Music at Harvard University. An outstanding composer whose many works have been performed by leading orchestras and chamber ensembles both in the US and abroad, he received the Pulitzer Prize twice for distinguished musical composition.
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