by Michael Ford last modified 18 Nov, 2010 02:09 AM

There are many composers in our diocese.

They may be churning out settings of responsorial psalms for their church every week or may have written a new hymn tune to new words. Wouldn’t it be great if we could share all this material and find out what worked well and what might be useful?

For those who may want to start composing, there are some very useful books that give you information about theory and harmony:

First Steps in Music Theory by Eric Taylor, Grades 1-5 (1999), is published by the Associated Board and is described as: ‘This introduction to the essential elements of music is ideal for students preparing for examinations, as well as an excellent resource for everyone learning to read music. In this book you will find:

  • a step-by-step presentation of the basic facts of music theory
  • a grade-by-grade format
  • numerous music examples
  • clear, easily-understood explanations
  • vital information suitable for music students of all ages and abilities

Harmony in Practice by Anna Butterworth - Grades 6-8 (1999), is published by the Associated Board and is described as: ‘A thorough exploration of the main elements of tonal harmony, in workbook format that enables students to acquire a secure knowledge of the basics of harmonic practice. Contains over 280 music examples, and over 180 exercises for working. Excellent preparation material for Associated Board Grade 6 to Grade 8 theory exams, A Level Music and Diploma exams, and university and college entrance papers.’ There is a separate answer book to the given exercises.

Arranging: Reharmonization Techniques by Randy Felts, Berklee Press.
‘Whether you write film scores, direct a band or choir, or play solo piano or guitar, you will find simple and innovative techniques to update your songs and develop exciting new arrangements.’

Harmony, Counterpoint and Improvisation Books 1 and 2 by Benjamin Dale, Gordon Jacob and Hugo Anson, Novello. ‘This textbook offers harmony, counterpoint and improvisation as one organic course of study.’


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