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Choral Sight Reading

A Kodály Perspective for Middle School to College-Level Choirs, Volume 2

Micheál Houlahan and Philip Tacka

Publication Date - February 2023

ISBN: 9780197550540

376 pages
8 1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock


Choral Sight Reading provides a practical and organic approach to teaching choral singing and sight-reading. The text is grounded in current research from the fields of choral pedagogy, music theory, music perception and cognition. Topics include framing a choral curriculum based on the Kodály concept; launching the academic year for beginning, intermediate, and advanced choirs; building partwork skills; sight-reading; progressive music theory sequences for middle to college level choirs; teaching strategies; choral rehearsal plans as well as samples of how to teach specific repertoire from medieval to contemporary choral composers.

This volume includes basic and advanced music theory concepts to develop fluent sight-reading skills for reading standard choral repertoire, providing examples for the process outlined in Chapters 6-8 of Volume 1 (Choral Artistry). This guide provides choral directors with a choral curriculum and choral rehearsal models that place performance, audiation, partwork, music theory, and sight-signing skills at the heart of the choral experience, through a 'sound thinking' approach to teaching that results in greater efficiency in creating independent choral singers with a well-rounded repertoire.


  • Provides an understanding of the connectivity between performance, repertoire, music theory, sight-reading, improvisation, and musicological knowledge
  • Uses a Performance to Notation model for teaching music theory in the context of the choral rehearsal
  • Provides the practical applications of theories outlined in Volume 1 (Choral Artistry).

About the Author(s)

Micheál Houlahan is Professor of Music Theory and Aural Skills and Chair of the Tell School of Music at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. He is also a visiting professor of music at the China Conservatory of Music, Beiijing.

Philip Tacka is Professor of Music at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. He is also currently a grant evaluator on the American Fellowship Panel for the American Association of University Women.


"By covering a broad range of topics, from the logistics of running a school choral program to a thoughtfully-sequenced music literacy pedagogy, Choral Artistry and Sightreading are a significant contribution to the literature, and a compelling argument for the broad application of Kodály-inspired philosophy at any level." -- Joshua Habermann, Artistic Director, Santa Fe Desert Chorale

"These volumes cover a wide expanse of pedagogical practices for secondary and collegiate-level ensembles progressing from the step-by-step nuts and bolts to complex theoretical concepts. Furthermore, they provide a deeper understanding of processes for developing a solid singing foundation that are accessible for all levels of abilities - from beginners to more advanced ensembles." -- Lynn M. Brinckmeyer, Professor of Music, Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, and Director of Choral Music Education, Texas State University

"Too many times I meet people who do not understand what is special in being a choral conductor, why does one need to study it. Their opinion is, that any musician can do it. This wonderful book answers this question. This book teaches you the real craft, what is 'behind the scenes', behind the well-trained and well-practiced gestures. It will take you through the steps in the process with great detail on every level. What we see on the stage, what we hear when a choir sings beautifully is just the icing on the cake. This book will show you the way to achieve it in a holistic, unhurried and honest way." -- Esther Hargittai, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Liszt Academy/Kodály Institute

Table of Contents

    Unit 1 Phrase and Form
    Unit 2 Beat, Meter, Rhythm
    Unit 3 Simple Melodic Patterns
    Unit 4 Simple Rhythm Patterns: First Division of the Beat
    Unit 5 Orientation to the Pentatonic Scale: Trichord 1
    Unit 6 Orientation to the Pentatonic Scale: Trichord 2
    Unit 7 Simple Meter: Second Division of the Beat and Basic Patterns
    Unit 8 Major Pentatonic Melodies
    Unit 9 Simple Meter: Second Division of the Beat and More Complicated Patterns
    Unit 10 The Extended Pentatonic Scale
    Unit 11 Upbeats
    Unit 12 Syncopation
    Unit 13 Minor Pentatonic Melodies
    Unit 14 Dotted Notes
    Unit 15 Orientation to the Major Scale Pentachord and Hexachord Melodies
    Unit 16 Simple Meter: Second Division of the Beat and Dotted Note Combinations
    Unit 17 Major Scale
    Unit 18 Triple Meter and Changing Meter
    Unit 19 Orientation to Minor Scales
    Unit 20 Compound Meter: First Division of the Beat
    Unit 21 Natural Minor Scale
    Unit 22 Compound Meter: Second Division of the Beat
    Unit 23 Harmonic Minor Scale
    Unit 24 Compound Meter: Second Division of the Beat and Dotted Notes
    Unit 25 Melodic Minor Scale
    Unit 26 Renaissance Style Compositions
    Unit 27 Baroque Style Compositions
    Unit 28 Classical Style Compositions
    Unit 29 Romantic and Twentieth Century Style Compositions