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Harmony (Second Edition), Basic, Intermediate and Advanced, by Mark Sarnecki. The Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited, 2010.; Basic: 238 pp, Intermediate: 224 pp, Advanced: 192 pp., $36.95 each.


These books contain a wealth of information for the older and more advanced students. If you just saw the front cover of the Basic book and opened it, you might be surprised that it is really intended for late-intermediate to advanced level students, as stated on the back cover. They are clearly geared to pre-college through collegiate. Besides being a very good resource for those students, I felt the books could be an outstanding resource tool for music teachers of many levels. The books contain information that refreshes one's memory of theory that one may not have thought of in many years. These books would be beneficial to teachers who have students in more advanced levels of district student day or any competition or examination where the student is required to display an advanced level of theory knowledge.

Harmony, Basic, begins with basic harmonic fundamentals. It contains in-depth studies concentrating on chord quality, chord symbols, writing four-part harmony and covers chord names. Some of the 29 lessons include: tonic, dominant, pre-dominant, supertonic sevenths, dominant sevenths, prolonging chords, melodic figurations, sequences, inversions, modulation, applied dominants, melody writing, form and analysis. Lesson 27 on the Bach chorales provides the student a unique opportunity to apply what has been learned.

Harmony, Intermediate, expands on the elements begun in the Basic book as it continues to expound on more in depth musical elements, such as secondary dominants, dominate 9th, 11th and 13th chords along with form and analysis and melody writing. This lesson on Bach chorales addresses intermediate harmony issues and includes an example of how there may be more than one way to analyze a musical excerpt and that explanation would be enlightening for students.

Harmony, Advanced, delves into modal mixtures, German 6ths, chromatically altered chords as well as chords related by a chromatic 3rd, numerous other chord types. A chapter is devoted to two-part counterpoint.

Each lesson provides ample exercises followed by a summary of the chapter. Students who are preparing for a college entrance examination would benefit greatly from the information in these books. From what I read and saw in these Harmony books, it makes me want to check out his other publications: Elementary Music Theory and Elementary Music Rudiments.--Reviewed by Jo Plunkett, NCTM, Orange Park, Florida

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Author:Plunkett, Jo
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2011
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