Music Fundamentals for Musical Theatre

Music Fundamentals for Musical Theatre $34.99

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Christine Riley

Published by Methuen Drama

Musical theatre students and performers are frequently asked to learn musical material in a short space of time, sight-read pieces in auditions, collaborate with accompanists and communicate musically with peers, directors, music directors and choreographers

Many of these students and performers will have had no formal musical training

This book offers a series of lessons in music fundamentals, including theory, sight-singing and aural tests, giving readers the necessary skills to navigate music and all that is demanded of them, without having had a formal music training

It focuses on the skills required of the musical theatre performer and draws on musical theatre repertoire in order to connect theory with practice

Throughout the book, each musical concept is laid out clearly and simply with helpful hints and reminders

The author takes the reader back to basics to ensure full understanding of each area

As the concepts begin to build on one another, the format and process is kept the same so that readers can see how different aspects interrelate

Through introducing theoretical ideas and putting each systematically into practice with sight-singing and ear-training, the students gain a much deeper and more integrated understanding of the material, and are able to retain it, using it in voice lessons, performance classes and their professional lives

The book is published alongside a companion website, which offers supporting material for the aural skills component and gives readers the opportunity to drill listening exercises individually and at their own pace

Music Fundamentals for Musical Theatre allows aspirational performers - and even those who aren't enrolled on a course - to access the key components of music training that will be essential to their careers

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – The staff, treble clef, pitches on the staff, solfege and sight-singing
Chapter 2 – Rhythm – whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes
Chapter 3 – The piano keyboard, accidentals, whole and half steps, major scales
Chapter 4 – The Circle of 5ths and major key signatures

Review of chapters 1-4 and Performance Tips (Tempo)

Chapter 5 – Intervals – seconds and thirds and phrase shapes
Chapter 6 – Intervals – fourths, fifths, and octaves; Rhythm – sixteenth notes
Chapter 7 – Intervals – sixths and sevenths; Rhythm – rests
Chapter 8 – diminished and augmented intervals; Rhythm – syncopation

Review of chapters 5-8 and Performance Tips (Musical Markings)

Chapter 9 – Rhythm – ties, dotted notes, 2/4 and 3/4 time; Song Analysis
Chapter 10 – Major triads; introduction to Bass Clef and the Grand Staff
Chapter 11 – I, IV, V progression; chord tones and non-chord tones; Song Analysis
Chapter 12 – Transpositions; Rhythm - triplets

Review of chapters 9-12 and Performance Tips (Repeats, Endings and Codas)

Chapter 13 – Minor, Diminished and Augmented triads; Cut-time; chromatic solfege
Chapter 14 – I, vi, ii, V, I progression; harmonizing a melody
Chapter 15 – Inversions of triads
Chapter 16 – Progressions with inversions; choral analysis

Review of chapters 13 -16 and Performance Tips (The Music Department)

Chapter 17 – Dominant 7th chords; V of V chords; Suspended chords; Song Analysis
Chapter 18 – Minor Key signatures and natural minor scales
Chapter 19 – Harmonic minor scales and melodic minor scales: Song Analysis
Chapter 20 – Minor Chord progressions; Song Analysis

Review of chapters 17-20 and Performance Tips (Song Form)

Chapter 21 – Major, Minor, Half-Diminished, and Diminished Seventh chords
Chapter 22 – Compound time
Chapter 23 – More compound time; Song Analysis
Chapter 24 – Song Analysis; Orchestration


"There are not many books about music theory written specifically for musical theatre students. Most of those available focus strictly on the theory aspect, and not the aural skills aspect. This book incorporates not only theory, but also aural skills and composition, for a more robust musical experience that will hopefully foster more musicality in students of musical theatre" ~ Peter Purin, Oklahoma Baptist University

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