This Side of Sanity

Musical Theory and Technique

    The goal of this section of this website is to provide a free downloadable text that can be used in college and high school music classes.

    The first version will be appropriate for a college or university introduction to music class intended to meet the fine arts requirements for non-music majors.

    The second version will expand to cover material approproate for undergraduate courses in music theory and composition for music majors.

free music theory text book project

If you like the idea of this project,
then please donate some money.

send donations to:
PO Box 1361
Tustin, California 92781

table of contents

  1. Introduction to Music [chapter currently empty]
  2. Basics of Sound [chapter currently empty]
  1. History of Music [chapter currently empty]
  2. Musical Instruments [chapter currently being built]
  1. Rhythm [chapter currently empty]
  1. Notation of Time [chapter currently empty]
  2. Simple Time [chapter currently empty]
  3. Compound Time [chapter currently empty]
  4. Complex Time [chapter currently empty]
  5. Staff and Clef Signs [chapter currently empty]
  6. Piano Keyboard [chapter currently empty]
  7. Guitar and Bass Fretboard [chapter currently empty]
  8. Notation of Pitch [chapter currently empty]
  9. Major Scales and Scale Degree [chapter currently empty]
  10. Major Key Signatures [chapter currently empty]
  11. Minor Scales [chapter currently empty]
  12. Minor Key Signatures [chapter currently empty]
  13. Modes and Other Scales [chapter currently empty]
  14. Perfect Intervals [chapter currently empty]
  15. Major Intervals [chapter currently empty]
  16. Minor Intervals [chapter currently empty]
  17. Diminished and Augmented Intervals [chapter currently empty]
  18. Triads [chapter currently empty]
  19. Seventh Chords [chapter currently empty]
  20. Diatonic Chords in major and Minor Keys [chapter currently empty]
  21. Dynamics and Expression [chapter currently empty]
  22. Melody [chapter currently empty]
  23. Harmony [chapter currently empty]
  24. Form [chapter currently empty]
  25. Popular Music Styles [chapter currently empty]
  26. Voice Leading [chapter currently empty]
  27. Harmonic Progression [chapter currently empty]
  28. Triads in First Inversion [chapter currently empty]
  29. Triads in Second Inversion [chapter currently empty]
  30. Cadences, Phrases, and Periods [chapter currently empty]
  31. Non-Chord Tones [chapter currently empty]
  32. Pre-Dominant Chords: IV, II, II6 [chapter currently empty]
  33. Prolongation of I [chapter currently empty]
  34. 5 over 3 and 6 over 3 [chapter currently empty]
  35. 6 over 4 Chords [chapter currently empty]
  36. Use of 7th Chords [chapter currently empty]
  37. The V7 Chord [chapter currently empty]
  38. The II7 and VII7 Chord [chapter currently empty]
  39. Other Diatonic Seventh Chords [chapter currently empty]
  40. Harmonic Analysis and Harmonic Embellishment [chapter currently empty]
  41. Chromaticism [chapter currently empty]
  42. Diatonic Modulation [chapter currently empty]
  43. Other Modulations [chapter currently empty]
  44. Binary and Ternary Forms [chapter currently empty]
  45. Mode Mixture [chapter currently empty]
  46. Enharmonic Spellings and Enharmonic Modulations [chapter currently empty]
  47. Harmonic Vocabulary [chapter currently empty]
  48. Phrase and Melody [chapter currently empty]
  49. Development of Phrase [chapter currently empty]
  50. Period Form [chapter currently empty]
  51. Extensions of Period-Form [chapter currently empty]
  52. Group Formations [chapter currently empty]
  53. Double Period [chapter currently empty]
  54. Sixteenth Century: Late Renaissance Polyphony [chapter currently empty]
  55. Sixteenth-Century: Two-Voiced Motet [chapter currently empty]
  56. Eighteenth-Century: Two-Part Counterpoint [chapter currently empty]
  57. Fugue [chapter currently empty]
  58. Romanticism [chapter currently empty]
  59. Borrowed Chords [chapter currently empty]
  60. 9th, 11th, and 13th Chords [chapter currently empty]
  61. Neapolitan Chord [chapter currently empty]
  62. Augmented Sixth Chords [chapter currently empty]
  63. Altered Dominants [chapter currently empty]
  64. Chromatic Mediants [chapter currently empty]
  65. Sonata Allegro Form [chapter currently empty]
  66. Rondo Form [chapter currently empty]
  67. Two-Part Song-Form [chapter currently empty]
  68. Fully Developed Two-Part Song-Form [chapter currently empty]
  69. Three-Part Song-Form [chapter currently empty]
  70. Ordinary Complete Three-Part Song-Form [chapter currently empty]
  71. Incomplete Three-Part Song-Form [chapter currently empty]
  72. Fully Developed Three-Part Song-Form [chapter currently empty]
  73. Five-Part Song-Form [chapter currently empty]
  74. Irregular Part-Forms [chapter currently empty]
  75. Compound Song-Forms [chapter currently empty]
  76. Conventional Styles of Composition [chapter currently empty]
  77. Lyric Class [chapter currently empty]
  78. Étude Class [chapter currently empty]
  79. Dance Class [chapter currently empty]
  80. Tonal Harmony in Late Nineteenth Century [chapter currently empty]
  81. Twentieth-Century Practices [chapter currently empty]
  82. Viennese Atonalists [chapter currently empty]
  83. Modern Twelve-Tone Set Techniques [chapter currently empty]
  84. Electronic and Avant Garde Music [chapter currently empty]

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explanation and rights

    According to the Los Angeles Times college text books average $120 each (late 2006) and the major book publishers are still jacking up the prices. According to the LA Times, many poor students are barred from higher education (even though they have financial aid or a scholarship) because they simply can’t afford the price of text books, which can be more than a thousand dollars a semester/quarter.

    The major book publishers put out new (more expensive) editions of text books every three years. It just happens to be that three years is the amount of time for a text book to saturate the used text book market and cut into sales of new books. The book publishers claim that this is mere coincidence with the timing of their new editions and that they only publish new editions when they need to make improvements on the existing text. it is mere coincidence that these necessary improvements happen to exactly match the sales cycle for every text book they publish!

    It will take me time to get a music theory text book written, but I am a skilled writer, as proven by my highly popular website, a website on computer operating systems that is used by more than 300 universities and colleges around the world and that has been cited by the U.S. navy in the paperwork justifying switching to Linux for all mission critical computers and by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany in paperwork justifying their switch to Linux.

    I do actively encourage students, teachers, and professional musicians to provide useful feedback and criticism to help make this project useful as a free downloadable college text book.

    Donations of money to help support the writing and hosting of this project are greatly appreciated. For a donation of just $100 you can commission a particular topic. See the list of donors after the table of contents.

    As chapters are created, each chapter will be available as a downloadable PDF file. In addition, the material is available as standard HTML web pages.


    This free downloadable music theory text book is Copyright © Milo except where specifically noted otherwise.

    Students have permission to download this free music theory textbook (in whole or in part) and print out copies for personal use.

    Government schools and the instructors/professors/teachers at government schools have permission to download and print copies of this free music theory textbook (in whole or in part) for personal use and for distribution to students in their classes. Schools/instructors/professors/teachers may charge a reasonable fee to cover the cost of printing, binding, and other related costs.

    Others wishing to print this free text book should contact the author with their request.

    Those who can afford to pay for this music theory text book, should send cash donations to Milo, PO Box 1361, Tustin, California, USA, 92781.

list of donors

    Alex Giles kindly paid for the creation of the web page on proper breathing for vocals.

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previous page next page

free music theory text book project

Building a free downloadable text book on music theory for university, college, community college, and high school classes in music theory and introduction to music.

If you like the idea of this project,
then please donate some money.

send donations to:
PO Box 1361
Tustin, California 92781


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