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Principles of Music

Third Edition

Philip Lambert

Publication Date - 06 February 2023

ISBN: 9780197605844

424 pages
8 1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

A step-by-step introduction to basic musical skills that emphasizes the keyboard.


Principles of Music, Third Edition, introduces students to music fundamentals by moving step-by-step through carefully sequenced exercises. Throughout the text students learn to use the keyboard as a tool to visualize theoretical concepts. In addition to pitch, the text explores the basics of rhythm and meter, emphasizing exercises that link to performance throughout. New online exercises help students develop skills in music fundamentals before putting pencil to paper.

New to this Edition

  • Lambert's focus on the keyboard as a tool helps students ground their study of music fundamentals in musical practice.
  • "HELP!" boxes within exercises guide students as they complete exercises.
  • A range of creative projects keep students engaged.


  • 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 such as 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
  • A keyboard-oriented approach provides foundational coverage of the relationship between the piano keyboard and music notation, making it flexible for use in schools that coordinate the teaching of fundamentals and basic keyboard skills.

About the Author(s)

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

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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