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Old 04-28-2011, 03:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Major Composers Who Wrote Books?

I am looking to compile a list of instructional books (or other writings) on composing, written by major composers of the classical and romantic periods.

Rimsky-Korsakov's Principles of Orchestration would be one example.

Can anyone suggest some others?

If such a list already exists elsewhere in these fora, please kindly point me to it. Thanks!
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Looking on google if you are chillowack I think people have answered you elsewhere now.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Looking at the shelf in front of me, notable texts that stand out, in addition to the Rimsky-Korsakov:

Hindemith's "Traditional Harmony" Books
Kent Kennan' "Counterpoint"
Samuel Adler's "The Study of Orchestration"
J.S. Fux's "Gradus ad Parnassum - Study of counterpoint"
Schoenberg's "Structural FUnctions of Harmony."

AND, the book I think EVERYONE should begin there Musical Studies with, part unique take on traditional theory, part philosophy of music, Schoenberg's "Harmonielehre, or Theory of Harmony."
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I just belatedly noticed the "of the classical and romantic periods" bit, which, I note, disqualifies everyone on the list. That said, they are all still excellent texts, written by great composers. Schoenberg's "Harmonielehre" is a must read for ANY serious Classical, or even jazz musician, and J.J. Fux's "Study of Counterpoint" is pretty much THE text that the great classical composers studied.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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To me one of the most important books on music composition came at the very dawn of the classical period, Rameau's Treatise on Harmony of 1722. There were several followup books through the 1750s, and I cannot say which is the best. (Nouveau système de musique théorique; Génération harmonique, ou Traité de musique théorique et pratique; Démonstration du principe de l'harmonie).

Rameau was at the time dealing with a limited repertoire -- most of the classical music had not been yet written, and Rameau himself is considered a late-Baroque rather than Classical composer. Yet the fundamental principles expressed in these books are an enormous and still-relevant achievement. The explanatory power of Rameau's theories cover a wide range of later music in addition to that of his own time, and music theory textbooks of today are arguably, in a large sense, plagiarisms of Rameau's writings.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Joseph Schillinger's two thick books entitled 'The Schillinger System Of Musical Composition' are important reading, if they're still in print, providing the reader can disregard the naïve, 'brave new world' positivism that was characteristic of the period. There's much to be gained from Schillinger's very different approach as he explores the essence of musical resources that affect musical expression, irrespective of style or genre. In my opinion, Schillinger was more sinned against than sinned -he had an impressive list of students, including George Gershwin. He lost support because of his attempts, in his other works, to quantify so-called creativity by rendering it to be mathematically determinable. Of course, in principle, we might (might) be able to do this if we were able to quantify not only melody, rhythm and harmony but also the subtle nuances of expression. In fact, one of the most interesting aspects of these volumes is the section dealing with the serial development of rhythm.
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Morton View Post
Joseph Schillinger's two thick books entitled 'The Schillinger System Of Musical Composition' are important reading, if they're still in print, providing the reader can disregard the naïve, 'brave new world' positivism that was characteristic of the period. There's much to be gained from Schillinger's very different approach as he explores the essence of musical resources that affect musical expression, irrespective of style or genre. In my opinion, Schillinger was more sinned against than sinned -he had an impressive list of students, including George Gershwin. He lost support because of his attempts, in his other works, to quantify so-called creativity by rendering it to be mathematically determinable.
Lots of composers and theorists have lost support for that same reason. It's unfortunate because you can't write a good book on composition without offering some sort of a system. And any system will be based on math to some extent. Opposing that is akin to opposing an art instruction book because it teaches rules of perspective. Rameau lost support for much the same reason.
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Leonard Bernstein wrote some books.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You can find a book full of mozarts' letters to and from various people. As well as letters from his father.
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