Don Traut


The last twenty years have seen a rapid metamorphosis in undergraduate music theory textbooks. One trend, undoubtedly inspired by the seminal work of Edward Aldwell and Carl Schachter, has been to incorporate Schenkerian philosophy and analytical techniques. As Schenkerian methods have become more pervasive, some pedagogues have devoted their attention to barriers that have historically separated the various facets of music theory pedagogy. The textbooks under review represent the most recent efforts to level these barriers by the integration of written work, listening, and ear training. (The continuing influence of the Contemporary Music Project of the 1960's and its emphasis upon "comprehensive musicianship" is remarkable.) Texts comprising the focus of this review are The Complete Musician: An Integrated Approach to Tonal Theory, Analysis, and Listening by Steven G. Laitz, Harmony in Context by Miguel Roig-Francolí, and The Musician's Guide to Theory and Analysis by Jane Piper Clendinning and Elizabeth West Marvin. This review follows (roughly) the layout of each publication, with assessment of their various approaches to fundamentals, diatonic harmony, form, chromaticism, and extended harmonic techniques.