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Books About Music

Musical Forms

This list provides an overview of musical forms, including musical genres or styles; harmonic language; motifs; figures; phrasing; and sectional, developmental or variational structures. Also see the "Theory & Analysis" section for more recommendations.

We welcome feedback, suggestions, additions, and corrections to this information.

The Study of the Fugue
The Study of the Fugue. Alfred Mann. Greenwood (hardcover) & Dover (paperback). 1984;1987. ISBN 0313226237 (hardcover), 0486254399 (paperback).
Classic study comprises two parts. The first is a comprehensive historical survey of writings on the fugue from the beginning of fugal teaching (c. 1350) to the present. Part Two explores in depth four 18th century studies which are its classical presentations: Steps to Parnassus by Fux, A Treatise on Fugue, by Marpurg Fundamental and Practical Essay on Fugal Counterpoint by Padre Martini, A manual of the Fundamental Principles of Composition by Albrechtsberger. Translations of texts, introductions and critical commentary, and many musical examples. Index. Bibliography. 352 pgs.

Musical Structure and Design. Cedric T. Davie. ISBN 0486216292 (paperback).
How Western composers from 16th to 20th century met changing structural requirements mandated by different musical styles. Nature and function of concerto, sonata, etc., clarified with nonmusical analogies; illustrated in detailed analysis of specific piece of music – over 40 in all. Clear, elementary explanation of basic forms – Renaissance to 1900 – with many works analyzed. 181 pps.

Structural Functions in Music
Structural Functions in Music. Wallace T. Berry. Prentice Hall (hardcover); Dover Publications (paperback). 1987. ISBN 0138539030 (hardcover), 0486253848 (paperback).
Exploration of tonality, melody, harmony, texture and rhythm, and their interrelations. Analyses of musical works ranging from early madrigals and Gregorian chants through Bach, Beethoven and Brahms to Ravel, Bartók and Berg. Index, Prefaces. 480 pgs.

From Vivaldi to Viotti – A History of the Early Classical Violin Concerto . Chappell White. Gordon & Breach. 1992. ISBN 2881244955 (hardcover).
surveys the genre of the solo violin concerto in the transitional years from the Baroque to the Classical style. The violin concerto is the only major instrumental form of the Baroque period that had continuous development through these years without a change of medium. This book gives a new perspective on the development of the Classical style as well as sheds light on an important class of music previously unexplored.