This brilliant inquiry into tonal, textural, and rhythmic structures in music, filled with original formulations and provocative ideas, has become one of the most widely read and studied works in music theory, frequently adopted in college and university curricula, and often cited in scholarly studies in the field.
Starting from an all-encompassing viewpoint — a belief in the importance and necessity of logical analysis of the musical experience, and the study of objective data derived therefrom — it moves toward a deeper understanding of musical structure and experience through a systematic exploration of tonality, melody, harmony, and rhythm, and their important interrelations. These are illuminated in penetrating analyses of musical works and extracts ranging from early model styles to modern compositions.
The procedures by which structural elements in nearly all music function expressively are analyzed in depth. Tonality is examined in a Gregorian chant, a Bach motet, a Beethoven symphony, a Bartók string quartet, and other works by Wolf, Ravel, Webern, and Berg. Texture is explored in a Gesualdo madrigal, a Telemann fantasy for violin, and works by Bach, Brahms, and Dallapiccola. Works by Beethoven, Chopin, and Webern are subjects for revealing studies of rhythm and meter.
A model of original thought, this book has now become one of the most influential works in musical analysis, an invaluable resource for musical scholars and students of musical theory, a lively stimulus to individual theoretical exploration.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Don't get me wrong, this book has a lot of great information, but the 26-page introduction is incredibly dense and uses hundreds of unnecessarily large and uncommon words. Berry also 'invents' many of his own theoretical terms (which never helps). After the introduction the language gets a little bit more down to earth but you'd better already have a firm grasp of music if you want to gain anything from this treatise. The most valuable things in this book are contained in the last two chapters (about 225 pages). These chapters go where no other theory texts have gone before. They explore the theory and analysis of texture and rhythm & meter. All in all, this book is worth reading if you are dead serious about becoming a great composer or theorist...otherwise, stay away!