kos at panix.com kos at panix.com
Thu Apr 26 11:35:33 PDT 2012

On Wed, 25 Apr 2012, Stephen Jablonsky <jablonsky at optimum.net>

> A great deal of the weight and expense in the average book is caused by the 
> inclusion of hundreds of examples that are merely fragments from larger works. 
> Looking at a 4, 8, or 12-measure snippet taken from the middle of some famous 
> piece may not be the best way to get students to really understand anything 
> significant about the construction of music.

Most of the theory/music teachers I've had/met lament the lack of plentiful 
examples, even among current text books.  One often needs multiple examples, 
in part to show different contexts and especially because not all examples 
communicate the desired understand among all students.

Since one is (presumably) teaching specific concepts and not analyzing an 
entire piece (you did mention *harmony* textbooks), you don't want an entire 
work just to illustrate a single concept because that can easily distract and 
confuse students.  (If you have concision in the text, it should 
also be applied to the examples.)

As others have said, today's textbooks have to do a lot more than textbooks 
from just 50 years ago (including extra-musical issues), so I don't think 
a comparison is apt.  Should students want to go back or explore other concepts 
for which there is no time in the curriculum, they have that option.

Some textbooks have a summary of a chapter's main bullet points which I think 
can provide the succintness Stephen seeks.

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:  http://www.nypl.org/blog/author/44   Twitter: @kos2
   Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-TALK ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
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