[Smt-talk] Jonathan Kramer's "The Time of Music"

Charles J. Smith cjsmith at buffalo.edu
Tue Jul 26 10:41:43 PDT 2011

Great idea. Wayne Petty's publishing company, Musicalia, has been  
doing a fine job reprinting some relatively recent out of print theory  
books (and there's a growing number of publishers who are churning out  
photo-offset reprints of 18th and 19th century texts—of highly  
variable quality, some excellent, some barely legible), but clearly  
there are many others that are in need of this kind of rebirth.  
Oxford's picking up Lewin was laudable, but perhaps just a one-time  
deal? This is also a problem with some books that are officially still  
listed as in print but are almost impossible to obtain from the  
publisher—for example, Maurice Lieberman's Ear Training and Sight  
Singing from Norton (still some copies obtainable on Amazon and  
elsewhere, but for how much longer?).

One obvious and relatively inexpensive solution would be the Google  
Books or Digital Dissertations approach, which would store scans of  
out of print books as PDFs online somewhere, for free downloading (or  
perhaps with just a nominal charge). Some libraries have already made  
a good start in making some of their holdings available, but to my  
knowledge there's no central repository for music or music theory,   
listing what's available where yet. The only recourse is still to try  
a search on Google, and then deal with its many warts and frustrations.

The problem with rebirthing any book is always going to be determining  
who owns the rights, and then getting permission. Kramer's book was  
originally published by Macmillan (specifically Schirmer Books) in  
1988. Some newer copies bear the imprint of Thomson Wadsworth, also  
with a publication/copyright date of 1988; I'm guessing that they  
acquired the rights from Macmillan, but don't know when. At any rate,  
sites like Barnes&Noble list new copies of the book with the publisher  
identified as Wadsworth, not Macmillan. (As per the standard annoying  
online business model, they list a new price for the book, $58.75, to  
get you to go to their site, where they then qualify it as "Currently  
Not Available"!) So I would imagine that it would be Wadsworth that  
would have to give permission; whether they ever will or not is  
anyone's guess, but certainly there will be someone out there with  
contacts at that publisher who might be able to make inquiries?

Charles Smith

On Jul 26, 2011, at 9:53 AM, Laurel Parsons wrote:

> Dear Colleagues,
> Years ago, theorists banded together and successfully lobbied for  
> the re-issue of Lewin's GMIT, and I'm sure many of us are grateful  
> for those of you who made it possible for us to have our own copies.
> For a long time now, I have been trying to acquire a copy of  
> Jonathan Kramer's "The Time of Music," but it is out of print, and  
> the prices I found last night online through Amazon Marketplace and  
> other used booksellers ranged from $249-444 in the US to nearly 400  
> pounds through Amazon.co.uk.
> If anyone knows where I could acquire a more reasonably-priced copy,  
> please respond privately, but I'd also like to know whether there  
> are others who would be interested in convincing the publishers of  
> the need for a reprint, or at least an e-book version.
> Sincerely,
> Laurel Parsons


Charles J. Smith
Slee Chair of Music Theory & Chair of the Department
Department of Music, 220 Baird Hall
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14260
716-645-0639 [direct line]
716-645-3824 [fax]
cjsmith at buffalo.edu

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