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Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony.

Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony, by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. Dover Publications, Inc. (31 East 2nd St., Mineola, NY 11501), 2005. 137 pp. $10.95. Biographical note: an unabridged republication of the edition originally published by P. Jurgenson, Leipzig, in 1900.

The study of harmony has come a long way since its inception, so it may seem surprising, in 2005, to consider using a book originally written in 1900. Harmonic practices have evolved in the 20th--and 21st- centuries, but the basics remain the same. This said, Peter Tchaikovsky's Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony, with its intrinsic historical interest, is as useful and instructive today as it was more than a century ago. Written during Tchaikovsky's years as a professor at the Moscow Conservatory, his Guide presents a surprisingly clear and thorough introduction to the study of harmony, compared to earlier commonly used books on harmony such as Rameau, Helmholtz, Hindemith, Piston, Ottman and others. Tchaikovsky's Guide features a nice balance between rules, numerous examples and exercises. He labels some examples "good," or "less good," giving the reader opportunity to compare examples.

The Guide is a complete course in writing music, which is equally useful as a classroom text, a resource for private instruction or as a guide for individual musicians. Included are the fundamentals of harmony, such as intervals, triads, chords, modulation and so on. Some of the language in this volume is dated, but usually, the meaning is clear. Tchaikovsky's directions are concise and the Table of Contents makes it relatively easy to find answers to specific questions about basic harmony. The format and layout is attractive and well organized. This volume offers readers a chance to learn music's fundamentals from one of its great masters. Reviewed by Myrna Capp, NCTM, Seattle, Washington.
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Author:Capp, Myrna
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 2005
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