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The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory
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Book description

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. Recognizing the variety and complexity of music theory as an historical subject, the volume has been organized within a flexible framework. Some chapters are defined chronologically within a restricted historical domain, whilst others are defined conceptually and span longer historical periods. Together the thirty-one chapters present a synthetic overview of the fascinating and complex subject that is historical music theory. Richly enhanced with illustrations, graphics, examples and cross-citations as well as being thoroughly indexed and supplemented by comprehensive bibliographies of the most important primary and secondary literature, this book will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars alike.


"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

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