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Thread: Music Book Recommendations

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Default Music Book Recommendations

    I'm looking for a technical/theoretical book that does not focus on diatonicism or the common practice period. I've read Piston, Schoenberg, Kennan, Schenker, Fux and all those kind of books. Whilst they were useful and informative works they're not what I'm after at this point in time.

    I'm not after just books that focus on harmony, but any aspect of music, or even sound in the widest sense. Partch's Genesis of a Music was good, and I'm meaning to pick up Cowell's New Musical Resources and possibly Hindemith's Craft of Musical Composition (even though I don't like his music it might hold some interest).

    Generally, the more modern, the better, but books on older modal systems would be handy (not just the church and Greek modes, but all kinds of maqams, ragas, pathets etc). Ethnomusicological texts would be of interest too, as well as different takes on musical notation (graphic scores and the like).

    Cheers.

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    Vincent Persichetti's 20th Century Harmony
    "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." - Rousseau

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    Senior Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emiellucifuge View Post
    Vincent Persichetti's 20th Century Harmony
    I was going to recommend that. Damn.

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emiellucifuge View Post
    Vincent Persichetti's 20th Century Harmony
    Thanks. That's a new one to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emiellucifuge View Post
    Vincent Persichetti's 20th Century Harmony
    I can also recommend that one; the discussion on harmonies based on fourths was interesting.

    There is no single comprehensive theory book to expand your horizons. To distill ideas you will need to dig into the composer-written essay kind of material. Some of the books I have and can recommend off the top of my head:

    Berry, Structural functions in music
    Boulez, Penser la musique aujourd'hui
    Forte, The structure of atonal music
    Messiaen, Technique de mon langage musical
    Perle, Twelve-tone tonality
    Perle, Serial composition and atonality
    Smith-Brindle, Serial composition
    Stockhausen, Texte (the first 4 volumes are enlightening)
    Xenakis, Formalized music
    Die Reihe series (exists in english translation)

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petrarch View Post
    Berry, Structural functions in music
    Boulez, Penser la musique aujourd'hui
    Forte, The structure of atonal music
    Messiaen, Technique de mon langage musical
    Perle, Twelve-tone tonality
    Perle, Serial composition and atonality
    Smith-Brindle, Serial composition
    Stockhausen, Texte (the first 4 volumes are enlightening)
    Xenakis, Formalized music
    Die Reihe series (exists in english translation)
    Thank you.

    I am not a fan of that kind of serialism that was all the rage in the Modernism of the 50s/60s, so some of them I don't want to waste time on. I've read some Stockhausen before and found his views quite interesting so I'll pick that one up soon, and the Messiaen and Xenakis might have some interesting info in them even though I'm not big on either of their musics. The Berry book is a new one to me but that looks decent enough for a perusal.

    I realise now I don't have anything against serialism as an idea, just that all of its implementation by guys like Boulez, Babbitt etc has sounded like absolute ***** to my ears. This, however, I believe, is more down to their use of the twelve-tone scale as the basic foundations of the music. Use of more harmonically friendly scales and modes, and also more unusual configurations ('xenharmonics') improves this, and thus creates a system where it's harder to make the music sound as downright bad as total serialism. Xenakis's stochastic music is slightly more agreeable at times, but Ligeti and Penderecki's method of atonal composition and use of analogue pitches is better yet. Still, I'm a minimalistic man at heart so I prefer simplicity or at least deceptive complexity.

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    Senior Member Webernite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    Thank you.

    I am not a fan of that kind of serialism that was all the rage in the Modernism of the 50s/60s, so some of them I don't want to waste time on. I've read some Stockhausen before and found his views quite interesting so I'll pick that one up soon, and the Messiaen and Xenakis might have some interesting info in them even though I'm not big on either of their musics. The Berry book is a new one to me but that looks decent enough for a perusal.

    I realise now I don't have anything against serialism as an idea, just that all of its implementation by guys like Boulez, Babbitt etc has sounded like absolute ***** to my ears. This, however, I believe, is more down to their use of the twelve-tone scale as the basic foundations of the music. Use of more harmonically friendly scales and modes, and also more unusual configurations ('xenharmonics') improves this, and thus creates a system where it's harder to make the music sound as downright bad as total serialism. Xenakis's stochastic music is slightly more agreeable at times, but Ligeti and Penderecki's method of atonal composition and use of analogue pitches is better yet. Still, I'm a minimalistic man at heart so I prefer simplicity or at least deceptive complexity.
    What do you think of Krenek? Out of interest.

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webernite View Post
    What do you think of Krenek? Out of interest.
    Not as bad as the dregs of Darmstadt (i.e. most of it) but not someone I particularly care for. His orchestral music is probably his most listenable for me (I haven't listened to his operas for obvious reasons), a bit like Penderecki but nowhere near as dark or heavy, but still quite oppressive and very restless. He's probably closer in style to the SVS or even the American modernists like Ruggles and Cowell, or possibly some Ives but I greatly prefer most of these Americans over their European counterparts from that time. Saying that Cowell's New Musical Resources is another book I haven't read in full but only snippets, I'll have to get that sorted.

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    Senior Member Romantic Geek's Avatar
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    David Lewin, Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations

    B.M. Music Theory - University of Connecticut
    M.M. Music Theory - College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati (in process)
    My Soundclick Page - feel free to browse my compositions I post up there

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    poster.pdf
    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post

    I'm not after just books that focus on harmony, but any aspect of music

    Cheers.
    Hi,
    Check out my book "The music of the Temporalists":
    http://www.amazon.com/music-Temporal.../dp/B006FWZLSI
    You might find what you need there.
    Andrei

    Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-m...07722055926158

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