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The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory


  • 35 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 1024 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 1.34 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521686983 | ISBN-10: 0521686989)

  • There was also a Hardback of this title but it is no longer available | Adobe eBook
  • Published May 2006

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$67.99 (R)

The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory is the first comprehensive history of Western music theory to be published in the English language. A collaborative project by leading music theorists and historians, the volume traces the rich panorama of music-theoretical thought from the Ancient Greeks to the present day. Richly enhanced with illustrations, graphics, examples and cross-citations, as well as being thoroughly indexed and supplemented by comprehensive bibliographies, this book will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars alike.

Cambridge Histories Online


Introduction Thomas Christensen; Part I. Disciplining Music Theory: 1. Mapping the terrain Leslie Blasius; 2. Musica practica: music theory as pedagogy Robert W. Wason; 3. Epistemologies of music theory Nicholas Cook; Part II. Speculative Traditions: 4. Greek music theory Thomas J. Mathiesen; 5. The transmission of ancient music theory into the Middle Ages Calvin Bower; 6. Medieval canonics Jan Herlinger; 7. Tuning and temperament Rudolf Rasch; 8. The role of harmonics in the scientific revolution Penelope Gouk; 9. From acoustics to tonpsychologie Burdette Green and David Butler; 10. Music theory and mathematics Catherine Nolan; Part III. Regulative Traditions: 11. Notes, scales, and modes in Carolingian thought David Cohen; 12. Renaissance modal theory: theoretical, compositional and editorial perspectives Cristle Collins Judd; 13. Tonal organization in seventeenth-century music theory Gregory Barnett; 14. Dualist tonal space and transformation in the nineteenth century Henry Klumpenhouwer; 15. Organum, diaphonia, discantus, contrapunctus in the Middle Ages Sarah Fuller; 16. Counterpoint pedagogy in the Renaissance Peter Schubert; 17. Performance theory Albert Cohen; 18. Steps to Parnassus: contrapuntal theory in 1725: precursors and successors Ian Bent; 19. Twelve-tone theory John Covach; 20. The evolution of rhythmic notation Anna Maria Busse Berger; 21. Theories of musical rhythm in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries William Caplin; 22. Rhythm in twentieth-century theory Justin London; 23. Tonality Brian Hyer; 24. Rameau and eighteenth-century harmonic theory Joel Lester; 25. Nineteenth-century harmonic theory: the Austro-German legacy David W. Bernstein; 26. Heinrich Schenker William Drabkin; Part IV. Descriptive Traditions: 27. Music and rhetoric Patrick McCreless; 28. Form Scott Burnham; 29. Thematic and motivic analysis Jonathan Dunsby; 30. Energetics Lee Rothfarb; 31. The psychology of music Robert Gjerdingen.


"This first single-volume history of music theory in English is a significant addition to literature about music. [...] It should be part of all academic music collections" Choice

"[This] work is an extremely valuable contribution to the history of music theory...the essays are of high quality, and the scholarship is impeccable...Nearly every reader will find something of value herein. The book can serve both as a reference work and as a snapshot of current theoretical opinion. It belongs on the shelf of every scholar who has a serious interest in music theory and its development." Isis

This remarkable book not only offers the reader a detailed account of the entire history of theoretical writing about Western music from the ancient Greeks to modern times, but also provides an incisive critique of the original objectives and ultimate significance of such writing. The various contributors are all specialists well able to encapsulate as well as clarify the essence of complex materials. In addition, the excellent selection of plates, tables and examples, coupled with comprehensive bibliographies, provides rich and vivid contexts for subject-matter that is never merely abstract, but satisfyingly linked to the particulars of musical works. All teachers, researchers and students who take music seriously will find The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory enormously stimulating.--Arnold Whittall, Professor Emeritus of Music Theory & Analysis, King's College London


Thomas Christensen, Leslie Blasius, Robert W. Wason, Nicholas Cook, Thomas J. Mathiesen, Calvin Bower, Jan Herlinger, Rudolf Rasch, Penelope Gouk, Burdette Green, David Butler, Catherine Nolan, David Cohen, Cristle Collins Judd, Gregory Barnett, Henry Klumpenhouwer, Sarah Fuller, Peter Schubert, Albert Cohen, Ian Bent, John Covach, Anna Maria Busse Berger, William Caplin, Justin London, Brian Hyer, Joel Lester, David W. Bernstein, William Drabkin, Patrick McCreless, Scott Barnham, Jonathan Dunsby, Lee Rothfarb, Robert Gjerdingen

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