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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $74.00
  • January 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92874-7
  • 480 pages
  • Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

The Musician's Guide to Fundamentals

The Musician's Guide Series


Jane Piper Clendinning (Author, Florida State University College of Music), Elizabeth West Marvin (Author, Eastman School of Music), Joel Phillips (Author, Westminster Choir College of Rider University)


An active, hands-on approach to fundamentals grounded in real music and music-making.

Taking a hands-on approach, The Musician’s Guide to Fundamentals teaches the basics of music—and creative music-making—with repertoire from Bach to Broadway, Mozart to the Black Eyed Peas. Its unique listen-write-perform framework teaches students to read, write, and create music with the sounds of real music in their heads first.


Real music actively engages students

The Musician’s Guide to Fundamentals invites students to learn how music works first and foremost by engaging with real musical compositions. Every chapter starts with music. A core repertoire of 25 complete anthology pieces—in classical, popular, and folk styles—returns throughout the text to acquaint students with important musical ideas. Hundreds of brief musical examples from Bach to the Black Eyed Peas and beyond illustrate every musical concept. And The Musician’s Guide to Fundamentals features more popular music than any other text, making it appealing and accessible to today’s students.

Outstanding recordings enable students to hear everything instantly

The Musical Example Recordings, packaged free with the text and available streaming from StudySpace, feature exceptional performances by ensembles ranging from jazz combo to string quartet. Performed mostly by faculty at the Eastman School of Music, these recordings feature the core repertoire in the anthology, as well as hundreds of short examples, performed on a variety of instruments, all in top quality sound. Students instantly hear every example they encounter in the text, engaging their ears as well as their eyes.

Strong written and aural exercises develop essential skills

Strong written exercises reinforce every concept. Try its in every chapter give students the opportunity to practice key skills and test their understanding; answers are included at the end of the text. Workbook assignments at the end of every chapter hone skills with abundant drill and practice. Aural Skills exercises and class activities in each chapter help students develop their ears. Composition exercises interspersed throughout the text lead students step-by-step to writing and performing their own songs.  

Student-friendly pedagogy teaches students what they need to know to write and make music

Throughout every chapter, Key Concept and Summary boxes highlight and summarize essential information. Another Way boxes offer alternative explanations for important ideas, recognizing that students learn in a variety of ways. Key terms (in boldface) are explained in the text, defined in the glossary, and reinforced with flashcards on the website for review. Did You Know boxes explain the historical background of featured composers and pieces. Reading Reviews enable students to test their understanding of important terms and concepts.

Engaging repertoire combines a range of styles, both familiar and new

The Musician’s Guide to Fundamentals offers an eclectic mix of classical music, musical theater, pop and rock, film and TV themes, and folk songs. You will find classical works by Bach, Bartók, Beethoven, and Mozart; songs by Stephen Foster, George Gershwin, and Richard Rogers; and recent popular music. The recordings feature a variety of instruments and ensembles—solos for trumpet and guitar, jazz combos and string quartets, piano rags and popular songs. Familiar works make musical concepts easy to see and hear; popular idioms reach students where they are.

Online drills and creative activities help students master the basics of music—and have fun doing it

The free student website, StudySpace, provides robust opportunities for review and musical exploration. StudySpace offers students easy access to recordings, drill-and-practice quizzes, flashcards, and interactive virtual instruments. Most examples referenced in the text and on the recordings disc are available as streaming audio; additional popular music recordings—including songs by the Eagles, Jonathan Larson (from Rent), Smokey Robinson, the Beatles, and Taylor Swift—are available for download. Over 1,000 drill and practice exercises, organized by chapter, help students assess their level of understanding. A virtual keyboard and guitar help students sound out notes and chords, and the MusicMixer invites students to experiment with combinations of melodies, harmonies, and rhythms.

    Chapter 1   -   Pitch Notation and the Grand Staff

    • Musical Contour
    • Introduction to Pitch Notation: Letter Names
    • The Piano Keyboard: Naming White Keys
    • Staff Notation
    • Treble and Bass Clefs
    • Naming Pitches with Octave Numbers
    • Ledger Lines
    • The Grand Staff
    • Writing Music in a Score

    Chapter 2   -   Accidentals and Half and Whole Steps

    • Sharps, Flats, and Naturals
    • Double Sharps and Flats
    • Writing Pitches with Accidentals
    • Half Steps and Whole Steps
    • Hearing Half and Whole Steps

    Chapter 3   -   Simple Meters

    • Duple, Triple, and Quadruple Meters
    • Tempo Markings and Conducting Patterns
    • Rhythmic Notation
    • Meter Signatures
    • Conducting Rhythms in Simple Meters
    • Rests

    Chapter 4   -   Beat Subdivisions and Syncopation

    • Beat Subdivisions
    • Ties and Slurs
    • Syncopation
    • Triplets
    • Rhythmic Variations in Performance

    Chapter 5   -   Compound and Other Meters

    • Compound Meters
    • Meter Signatures
    • Subdivisions
    • Other Compound Meters
    • Syncopation and Duplets
    • Asymmetrical Meters and Changing Meter

    Chapter 6   -   Major Scales and Keys

    • Scales
    • Scale Types: Chromatic, Whole-Tone, and Major
    • Scale Degrees
    • Writing Major Scales
    • Major Key Signatures
    • The Circle of Fifths

    Chapter 7   -   Minor Scales and Keys

    • Parallel Keys
    • Natural Minor
    • Harmonic Minor
    • Melodic Minor
    • Comparing Scale Types
    • Relative Keys
    • Minor Key Signatures and the Circle of Fifths
    • Identifying the Key from a Score

    Chapter 8   -   Intervals

    • Intervals
    • Interval Quality
    • Inverting Intervals
    • Spelling Intervals
    • Augmented and Diminished Intervals
    • Compound Intervals
    • Consonance and Dissonance

    Chapter 9   -   Triads and the Dominant Seventh Chord

    • Triads
    • Triad Inversion
    • Triad Qualities in Major Keys
    • Triad Qualities in Minor Keys
    • Spelling Triads
    • The Dominant Seventh Chord
    • Seventh Chord Inversion
    • Spelling the Dominant Seventh Chord

    Chapter 10   -   Melody Harmonization and Cadences

    • Triads on ^1, ^4, and ^5 and the seventh chord on ^5 
    • Harmonizing Major-Key Melodies with the Basic Phrase Model
    • Cadence Types
    • The Subdominant in the Basic Phrase
    • Melodic Embellishments
    • Harmonizing Minor-Key Melodies

    Chapter 11   -   Form in Folk and Popular Songs

    • Melody and Paired Phrases
    • Quaternary Song Form
    • 32-Bar Song Form
    • Writing Melodies
    • Writing Keyboard Accompaniments
    • Form in Later Popular Music

    Chapter 12   -   Blues and Other Popular Styles

    • Pentatonic Scales
    • The Blues Scale and the 12-Bar Blues
    • Seventh Chords
    • Chord Extensions and Sus Chords


    • Johann Sebastian Bach, Invention in D Minor
    • Béla Bartók, “Bulgarian Rhythm,” from Mikrokosmos
    • Count Basie, “Splanky”
    • Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata in C Minor, Op. 13 (Pathétique), second movement, excerpt
    • John Barnes Chance, Variations on a Korean Folk Song, excerpt
    • Jeremiah Clarke, Trumpet Voluntary (Prince of Denmark’s March), excerpt
    • Stephen Foster, “Oh, Susanna!”
    • George and Ira Gershwin, “ ’S Wonderful,” from Funny Face
    • Patrick S. Gilmore, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”
    • “Greensleeves”
    • Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Randy Meisner, “Take It to the Limit”
    • “Home on the Range”
    • James Horner, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil, “Somewhere Out There,” from An American Tail
    • Scott Joplin, “Solace”
    • Jonathan Larson, “Seasons of Love,” from Rent, excerpt
    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, String Quartet in D Minor, K. 421, third movement
    • Mozart, Variations on “Ah, vous dirai-je Maman,” excerpts
    • “My Country, ’Tis of Thee”
    • John Newton, “Amazing Grace”
    • Joel Phillips, “Blues for Norton”
    • William “Smokey” Robinson, Jr., “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”
    • Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, “My Funny Valentine,” from Babes in Arms
    • Franz Schubert, Waltz in B Minor, Op. 18, No. 6
    • “Simple Gifts”
    • Meredith Willson, “Till There Was You,” from The Music Man

    Appendix 1   -   Try it Answers

    Appendix 2   -   Reading Review Answers

    Appendix 3   -   Glossary

    Appendix 4   -   The Overtone Series

    Appendix 5   -   The Diatonic Modes

    Appendix 6   -   The C-Clefs

    Appendix 7   -   Basic Guitar Chords

    Appendix 8   -   Piano Fingerings for Selected Scales

    Appendix 9   -   Voice-Leading Guidelines