StevenOBrien

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Educational resources for composers
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 22:12

Basic Theory/History
Yale lecture series to start you off
How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, by Robert Greenberg
Understanding the fundamentals of music, by Robert Greenberg

More advanced broad stuff
More Robert Greenberg lectures - From these you will learn how to analyse and critically listen to music, you will become familiar with the major works of composers you choose to study, and you will learn a lot of important music history. Greenberg is a fantastic teacher. I'd highly recommend his "30 Greatest Orchestral Works" to start out with.
Leonard Bernstein's Young Peoples concerts - Old, but absolutely fantastic. Bernstein was a GREAT teacher.
Leonard Bernstein's Omnibus series - Even OLDER, but even more fantastic. Definitely check out the one about Beethoven's fifth symphony, in which he takes Beethoven's discarded sketches for the work and suggests why he discarded them
Leonard Bernstein's Harvard Lecture Series

Harmony
Aldwell and Schacter's "Harmony and Voice Leading" - This is the standard college book on harmony these days. 2014 UPDATE: Bleeeeeeeeeeeergghhhhhhhhhh
Tchaikovsky's book on harmony - This one, while a little old (written in the 1880s) is VERY clear and to the point. I'd recommend this for starting out on.
Arnold Schoenberg's books on harmony and composition in general - I've only linked to one, but the others aren't too difficult to find.
Everything by Heinrich Schenker.

Counterpoint
(Keep in mind that the point in learning counterpoint is not to teach you how to write in a 17th century style, which is a common misconception. If you read the works of Heinrich Schenker, you'll find that a lot of the greatest classical works when simplified using Schenker's techniques read as perfect species counterpoint. Studying strict counterpoint and doing the exercises naturally strengthens your ability to write with good voice leading in your free compositions wherever you feel it's necessary.)

Counterpoint in Composition, by Felix Salzer - An excellent book that not only teaches you the theory, but also shows you examples of how the masters interpreted and used it.
Johann Joseph Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum
Ars Nova Counterpointer - This software will correct mistakes in your exercises

Form
Classical Form by William Caplin.
Followed by The Classical Style by Charles Rosen so that you can "unlearn" everything you learned in the previous book. ;)

Orchestration
Samuel Adler's "Orchestration" - An excellent book that comes with a CD with MANY audio and video examples of what he's talking about. This is an invaluable resource.
Thomas Goss' OrchestrationOnline Youtube channel


This is awesome. I've just messed around a bit with harmony after downloading and reading the book by Tchaikovsky, and just knowing a bit about harmonic thirds and sixths... it's revolutioned my writing already! I can't believe you don't have dozens of positive comments already on such an useful resource collection.
Posted by Yaru June 16, 2014 15:38 - 3.6 months ago
| [#1]

Quote
This is awesome. I've just messed around a bit with harmony after downloading and reading the book by Tchaikovsky, and just knowing a bit about harmonic thirds and sixths... it's revolutioned my writing already! I can't believe you don't have dozens of positive comments already on such an useful resource collection.

Holy bump-age. But thank you, I'm glad you're finding it useful.

I really need to update this (if only I had more time). My views on music education have changed a bit in the past two years.
Posted by StevenOBrien June 16, 2014 15:49 - 3.6 months ago
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Gosh, I didn't realize you posted this in 2012. Never reads the fine print properly. =P
Posted by Yaru June 16, 2014 16:04 - 3.6 months ago
| [#3]

Posted by hel  This comment was marked as irrelevant by hel. Show
| [#4]

Quote: hel
i've been wanting to study the history of music as well. if you know of any good videos, movies, documentaries, etc on that subject, that'd also be enlightening.

Quote: The Blog


If you want something about specific eras/composers/styles, I'll need more specific questions.
Posted by StevenOBrien June 16, 2014 16:53 - 3.6 months ago
| [#5]

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