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The New Harmony Book - A Musical Workbook for Classical, Rock, Pop and Jazz Music

While the author is a jazz guitarist, the book is not aimed only at guitarists or even instrumentalists, but at all musicians. It is intended to be an aid to music instructors as well as students, especially in the area of improvisation. In addition, the author intends that The New Harmony Book "shouldwithout a teacher, serve the layperson as a textbook." The book was first published in 1988 and is Volume I of a two volume setbut there is no reference to Volume II that I could find. Here is the basic organization of the book:

Part I: The Tonal System

Introduction to notation
The harmonic series as the basis of harmony

Part II: The Rudiments of Harmony

Four-note chords and extensions
Ionian system
Circle of 5ths
Harmonic minor scale
Melodic minor scale
Other scales
Harmonic major scale

In about 10 pages, chapter one does a great job of covering a huge number of basics: the bass and treble clefs, the notes and where they are on the clefs, tones and 1/2 tones, the C major scale, sharps and flats, the time values of notes, time signatures and several common notation devices such as triplets, dots and ties. This is a wonderfully concise introduction for those with little or no musical background, or as a review for folks who have been away from music for a few decades. In addition, each chapter includes a few exercises. While they are few in number, individual exercises can involve a good deal of work.

Without going into too much detail, Haunschild connects harmony to both 'natural' harmonics and the harmonic series of overtones we find in things that vibrate, and to the compromise of well-tempered tuning. He seems skilled in providing concise insight into complex topics in a way that left me curious, but not frustrated.
Part II of this little book does more than simply describe intervals, but also provides at least some exposure to the ideas of consonance and dissonance and how those ideas have changed over the centuries. It isn't a comprehensive history lesson, and doesn't try to bebut, it provides enough information to see both the physical science basis and the subjective, psychological basis for intervals and their quality classification. The author gets down to business in a hurry, and includes extensive material on chord symbols, including a table of general rules for naming chords. In addition to describing the nature and structure of all kinds of common (and not so common) scales, the book also includes complete tables that concisely show the intervallic structure for all the scales discussed.

I want to emphasize again just how much information this author can get into a small space. The harmonic and melodic minor scales are treated in 7 and 11 pages, respectively. If that doesn't seem like a lot of material, the material is meaty and dense. This is the filet mignon of music theory books. Perhaps in part because the author 'says it, and says it once', and in part because of the translation from German, there are two or three paragraphs scattered through the text that aren't too clear, and one I still don't understand at all. I don't think everyone will have this problem, and it takes nothing away from the value the book, in my opinion.

If you're just starting out in music or have no music training and are looking to 'find out what this music theory stuff is all about', this is a good place to start. Used with Gunharth's Chord Scales series, you just could have a great educational foundation for all the music you'll ever create.

Reviewed by: Bongo Boy

iBreatheMusic Rating:

Suitability: All musicians

Available at:
amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.de     sheetmusicplus.com

Reviewed by:
Bongo Boy

iBreatheMusic Rating:

All musicians

Available at: