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Principles of Music

Second Edition

Philip Lambert

Publication Date - September 2017

ISBN: 9780190638146

416 pages
Spiral Bound
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

A step-by-step introduction to basic musical skills


Ideal for students with no prior experience with musical notation and music theory, Principles of Music, Second Edition, presents a sequence of carefully-designed lessons that proceed step by step through music fundamentals. In addition to lessons in pitch notation and tonal materials, this all-in-one text and workbook also covers the basics of rhythm and meter through separate lessons and performance exercises that reinforce rhythm reading. While rooted in a repertory of Western art music, the text also encourages students to explore other works--and other musical traditions--with lists of suggested further listening at the end of each lesson.

New to this Edition

  • Dashboard for Principles of Music combines an interactive eBook, video lectures, audio examples, exclusive additional lessons, auto-graded assessment material, and more in a simple, informative, and mobile-friendly format. A Dashboard access card is included with all new copies of the spiral-bound and loose leaf text.
  • Integrated Music Theory Skill Builder modules provide hundreds of exercises in an interactive environment where students can practice and master core concepts that they need for success in Music Fundamentals
  • An improved two-color design makes navigating the text easier and allows more space for students to complete their work
  • A new four-part organization now structures content into four multi-lesson units to better reflect the typical one-semester syllabus
  • Improved assignments give more practice for basic concepts, including twelve additional sets of written exercises
  • Expanded exercises in "Explore" sections build aural and performance skills, including ear-training, sight-singing, improvisation, and composition
  • A wider variety of musical styles features music from the art-music tradition along with more examples of folk music from various cultures and Western popular music
  • A new final lesson guides students through the songwriting process, allowing them to create their own compositions
  • Three advanced lessons, available only on Dashboard, exploring further aspects of rhythm and meter


  • A lesson-based organization breaks down the learning process into a series of digestible and progressive lessons, each of which shares a similar structure.
  • A straight-forward, back-to-basics style helps students build a thorough understanding of key concepts like musical notation of rhythm and pitch, major and minor scales, key signatures, intervals, triads, and seventh chords--providing the necessary background for more advanced study in music theory
  • Built-in worksheets provide students with a variety of written exercises that can be completed for practice or assigned as homework, eliminating the need for separate handouts or workbooks
  • "Help" boxes provide information that is essential to understanding and completing the written exercises that appear at the end of each lesson
  • "Explore" sections present suggestions for exploring central concepts in imaginative ways, including improvisation, aural skills, and composition
  • Marginal icons direct students to video lectures and streaming audio recordings on Dashboard to help them build their understanding of musical concepts

About the Author(s)

Philip Lambert is Professor of Music at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.


"The easy-to-follow format was the deciding factor in our selecting Lambert's text." --Jo Garrett, North Carolina University

"Well-paced and beautifully organized, Principles of Music, Second Edition, is an excellent text." --Karen Fournier, University of Michigan

"Lambert has clearly thought a lot about the sequence in which this material should be learned." --Ryan Dudenbostel, Western Washington University

Table of Contents


    Part 1: Core Principles
    Lesson 1: Hearing and Feeling Music
    When Music Happens / The Piano Keyboard / Names of the White Keys / The Chromatic Scale
    Lesson 2: Accidentals
    Names of the Black Keys / Summary of Names for White and Black Keys
    Lesson 3: Half and Whole Steps
    Steps in Music / Spelling Conventions for Half and Whole Steps / The Whole-Tone Scale
    Lesson 4: Rhythm and Meter
    Notation of Rhythm / Patterns and Groupings / Notation of Meter / Learning and Performing Rhythms / Tempo
    Lesson 5: More Rhythm and Meter
    Stress Patterns and Meter / Dotted Notes / The Anacrusis / Rests / Compound Meter / Fluctuating Beat Divisions
    Lesson 6: Staffs and Clefs
    Treble Clef / Bass Clef / The Grand Staff / Octave Designations / C Clefs
    Lesson 7: The Notational System
    Pitch Resources / Steps on the Staff

    Part 2: Scales and Keys
    Lesson 8: The Major Scale
    Key and Tonic / The Diatonic Modes / Structure of the Major Scale / Scale Construction / The Major Scales / Scale Degree Names / Transposition
    Lesson 9: Key Signatures for Major Keys
    The Key Signature / Formatting Key Signatures / The Circle of Keys
    Lesson 10: The Minor Scale
    Structure of the Minor Scale / Scale Families / The Minor Scales / Minor Scale Construction / The Sound of Minor
    Lesson 11: Key Signatures for Minor Keys
    Relative Key Signatures / All Minor Key Signatures / Circle of Keys for Major and Minor
    Lesson 12: The Forms of Minor
    Parallel Major and Minor / Harmonic Minor / Melodic Minor / Summary of the Forms of Minor

    Part 3: Intervals
    Lesson 13: Interval Basics
    Note Connections / Interval Distance / Quality / Size in Half Steps
    Lesson 14: Intervals in Any Key
    Minor Intervals / Methodology I / Interval Inversion / Methodology II
    Lesson 15: The Full Interval Spectrum
    Intervals Outside of the Key / Augmented and Diminished 1, 4, 5, and 8 / Augmented and Diminished 2, 3, 6, and 7 / Summaries of Interval Types / Methodology / Augmented and Diminished Intervals Under Inversion
    Lesson 16: Interval Contexts
    Intervals in Musical Practice / Compound Intervals / Summary

    Part 4: Chords
    Lesson 17: Triads
    Three-Note Groupings / Triad Characteristics / Major and Minor Triads / Augmented and Diminished Triads / The Circle of Triads / Methodology
    Lesson 18: Expressing Triads
    Triads in Musical Practice / Some Examples / Methodology
    Lesson 19: Triads in Major Keys
    Scale Degree Combinations / Roman Numeral Notation / Chord Functions
    Lesson 20: Triads in Minor Keys
    Triad Formations Using Minor Scales / Additional Considerations for Minor
    Lesson 21: Triad Inversion
    The Principle of Chord Inversion / Forming and Recognizing Triad Inversions / Symbolizing Triad Inversions / Methodology / Choral Texture
    Lesson 22: Seventh Chords
    Enriching Triads / Principles of Construction / Inversion of Seventh Chords / Five Types of Seventh Chords
    Lesson 23: Chords in Action
    How Does a Song Happen? / Rhythm, Meter, Tempo / Harmonic Foundations / Writing a Melody / Form and Style

    Appendix A: Glossary

    Appendix B: A Brief Guide to Common Musical Symbols and Markings

    Appendix C: Mini-Dictionary of Score Indications


    Web Bonus Material

    Workbook 1 Rhythm Supplements
    Unbalanced Meter/Irregularities of Rhythm and Meter/The Art of Rhythm

    Workbook 2 Advanced Material
    Transposition of the Diatonic Modes/Structure of the Tonal System

    Suggestions for Listening

    Fifteen Character Pieces

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