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Wanna-be's book for Composition theory? (Read 2181 times)

Offline kind

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Wanna-be's book for Composition theory?
« on: August 07, 2009, 04:44:22 AM »
I find a lot of theory books out there are exactly that, only relative to theory itself. There is little to no discussion in the book on how to apply that to a compositional setting, and I have an immense interest in that. Could anybody recommend to me the one they have had the most success with?

Offline jgallag

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Re: Wanna-be's book for Composition theory?
«Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 02:04:16 PM »
I'm confused. Theory is (or should be) the study of how a composition works/is put together. Perhaps you haven't found a serious enough book? One that goes beyond chord symbols and simple progressions? Any of the books you've read explain the common tone diminished seventh, the German augmented sixth, diminished 7th modulations, binary form? Here's the way I see it: These books do not (if you're in the compositional mind) tell you how to write a composition, they tell you how to revise a composition. You write your composition first, and then you insert the techniques you learned about in theory and see if they fit. You learn about composition by analyzing the works of others, not by following some formulas presented in a composition book.

Anyways, you're not going to find what you want on the bookshelves in Borders, that's for sure. If you're serious, you've got to expand to online shopping.

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Wanna-be's book for Composition theory?
«Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 02:40:25 PM »
A fascinating book dealing with an individual's theory, and its application to composition, is "The Tone Clock" by Peter Schat.  He worked out that in a chromatic scale (in standard tuning) there are only 12 possible kinds of triads, and then discovered a map of how they relate to each other.
It's interesting stuff.

Here's a link to a more detailed explanation:
http://www.peterschat.nl/clockwise.html

Scroll down to get to the essay by Jenny McLeod ("The Tone Clock").

Also, Schoenberg's seminal work Harmonielehre has throughout compositional exercises.  Every time he introduces a new concept, he gives it a compositional application.  In some ways it's a fun book.

Walter Ramsey



Offline alysosha

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Re: Wanna-be's book for Composition theory?
«Reply #3 on: December 04, 2009, 01:11:10 AM »
I know exacley what kind means. All the most serious textbooks( piston, gauldin, kostak etc.) on harmony i've seen deal with harmony completley divorced from composition. All they show you how to do is reduce everything to 4 part chorales and demonstrate how they adhere to chorales part writing rules.

Offline keyofc

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Re: Wanna-be's book for Composition theory?
«Reply #4 on: February 23, 2010, 05:07:08 AM »
I agree - theory in a vacuum is pointless.

Like reciting dances...

There are Piana Theory workbooks by Snell that
are a little better - and they go up to level 10.