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The Songwriter's Workshop--Harmony.

The Songwriter's Workshop--Harmony, by Jimmy Kachulis. Berklee Press (1140 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02215), 2005. 205 pp. $29.95. Intermediate to advanced.

The Songwriter's Workshop--Harmony offers a new approach to creating fundamental harmony techniques.

Each of the fifty-three lessons ends with exercises and ideas one can immediately apply to his or her own songs. The included play-along CD provides a perfect accompaniment to help one practice.

Although the author claims the book is designed for songwriters of all levels--even for those who can't read a note of music--the book is quite advanced and would quickly overwhelm a beginner.

However, for educated musicians who have had either a few theory courses or possess a solid knowledge of chords and syncopated rhythms, this book offers many inspiring ideas in an easy-to-use format.

The book has two main goals: to enable one to create chord progressions and grooves in any of the five most common key colors and to enable one to use harmony to bring out the meaning of lyrics.

Each unit addresses a different type of harmonic tool; each lesson presents a tool, gives examples of hit songs that use the tool, shows how the tool can be used and then offers a series of exercises. It would have been helpful if a "fake" book and blank staff paper were provided as an aid, as one progresses through the book.

The book is as suitable to guitarists as pianists and offers inspiring and colorful ideas throughout. Even if one grabs only one or two new ideas to add to their existing palette of improvisational skills, one's song writing ability will rise to new levels.

There's a lot to digest in this book, and it would be ideal as a textbook. It's not for the meek, but for musicians who really are motivated to challenge their minds and become masterful songwriters, this book has a lot to offer! Reviewed by Amy Rose Immerman, Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Author:Rose, Amy
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 2005
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