StevenOBrien

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

Basic Theory
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.
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, leading to more coherent music across all genres and styles.)

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.

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


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