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Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 18. August 2004

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Synopsis

For undergraduate/graduate-level courses in Twentieth-Century Techniques, and Post-Tonal Theory and Analysis taken by music majors. A primer--rather than a survey--this text offers exceptionally clear, simple explanations of basic theoretical concepts for the post-tonal music of the twentieth century. Emphasizing hands-on contact with the music--through playing, singing, listening, and analyzing--it provides six chapters on theory, each illustrated with musical examples and fully worked-out analyses, all drawn largely from the "classical" pre-war repertoire by Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Bartok, Berg, and Webern.

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Designed for a course in twenty-first-century techniques and analysis, this text offers a clear, comprehensive introduction to the basic concepts of post-tonal theory. Each concept is clearly explained and richly illustrated with examples from the musical literature. The text contains model analyses as well as carefully graduated exercises that involve playing, singing, composing, and analyzing.

The third edition stays abreast of recent theoretical developments by including discussions of transformational networks and graphs, contour theory, atonal voice leading, triadic post-tonality (including neotonality), inversional symmetry, and interval cycles. As a result, this text is not only a primer of basic concepts but also an introduction to the current state of post-tonal theory, with its rich array of theoretical concepts and analytical tools.

The third edition also features a wide range of composers and musical styles. Although the "classical" prewar repertoire of music by Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Bartok, Webern, and Berg still comprises the musical core, theoretical concepts are now also illustrated with music by Adams, Babbitt, Berio, Boulez, Britten, Cage, Carter, Cowell, Crawford, Crumb, Debussy, Feldman, Glass, Gubaidulina, Ives, Ligeti, Messiaen, Musgrave, Reich, Ruggles, Sessions, Shostakovich, Stockhausen, Varese, Wolpe, Wuorinen, and Zwillich.

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Von Ein Kunde am 29. Oktober 1999
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Re: "One can attempt to learn atonal theory through Allen Forte's book (and many did), but much of his book is theoretical, not practical, causing difficulty in distilling the main topics." I hope the author of this sentence when he writes "many did" means "many did attempt", not "many did learn 'atonal theory through Allen Forte's book'". Certainly that book is "not practical", but neither is it "theoretical" if we insist that music theory must say something about music. The practical alternative to reading Allen Forte's book is not to read a patronizing adulterated version of it such as "Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory", but to read a book that really knows and understands music, to read, for example, George Perle's "Serialism and Atonality" (as a reviewer below recommends).
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Von Ein Kunde am 21. Januar 2000
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is simply the best introduction to musical set theory in print, and one of the most pedagogically sound theory texts available for any topic. Straus writes exceedingly well, and his organization and pacing are excellent. This is not "watered-down Allen Forte," it is a humane spin on rather abstract musical concepts in language musicians can understand. Forte's and Perle's works are invaluable to the discipline, but their books are almost unreadable.
Straus's revised edition expands the repertoire only minimally (more could be done here), but the new exercises (particularly the composition sections) are an excellent addition. An average undergraduate class can make it through the text in a single semester with plenty of time left -- about four or five weeks -- to cover additional repertoire and topics.
Dr. O
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Von Ein Kunde am 26. Januar 2000
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I shouldn't feel constrained to point out that argumentum ad hominem is a material fallacy of presumption, that unfavorable criticism is not the concomitant of ignorance or opacity. I doubt anyone is deceived that "Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory" is intended as other than a college textbook. The question is whether it succeeds. In my opinion it does not. In my opinion, it fails to come to grips with--and is curiously oblivious of--the body of music it purports to explain. In my opinion, it perpetuates, in a patronizing manner, a number of logical errors, misconceptions, and abuses of terminology. (For a "technical" work it is fairly lightweight, a sort of musical "set theory" Cliff Notes. Don't let this circumstance encourage you.)
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is an excellent primer for the basics of twelve-tone and atonal theory. The book's biggest strength is its pedagogical approach and clarity of difficult concepts. One can attempt to learn atonal theory through Allen Forte's book (and many did), but much of his book is theoretical, not practical, causing difficulty in distilling the main topics. Fortunately Straus's book has been revised, so I hope the repertoire has been expanded a bit, to move beyond the canon composers (Bartok, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, etc). In short, if you're looking to understand the musical materials behind atonal music, this book is a fine place to start.
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Von Ein Kunde am 4. Oktober 1999
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is watered-down Allen Forte--something like watered-down near-beer or diluted wine cooler. Read George Perle's "Serialism and Atonality" instead. (I also recommend, by the bye, "Pentatonic Scales for the Jazz Rock Keyboardist" by Jeff Burns.)
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