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The Complete Musician

An Integrated Approach to Theory, Analysis, and Listening

Fourth Edition

Steven G. Laitz

Publication Date - November 2015

ISBN: 9780199347094

960 pages
8 x 10 inches

In Stock

The most engaging, integrated, and musical theory text available for music majors


Beginning with music fundamentals, The Complete Musician covers all the topics necessary for a thorough understanding of undergraduate music theory by focusing on music in context. Rather than rote learning of concepts and memorizing terms, The Complete Musician emphasizes how theory informs the work of performers. Composers respond not only to their instincts, experiences, and training in every work they write; they also follow certain ideals and models when appropriate, and modify them to fit their own personal vision. Theory is not a "theoretical" activity; it is a living one that responds to how music is composed and performed. Understanding how theory intersects with composition and performance is key to seeing its relevance to students' wider musical lives. The Complete Musician makes this connection.

New to this Edition

  • Coverage of twentieth-century and contemporary music theory to meet the needs of professors who want to integrate post-tonal music into their courses
  • A consolidated introduction to fundamentals at the beginning of the book
  • Enhanced pegagogy and design, including: a new two-color design; New Chapter Openings featuring Chapter Overviews; Additional subheads; and End-of-chapter Review Questions
  • 300 new exercises and examples accompanied by recordings provide additional emphasis to help students and teachers focus on key concepts
  • An expanded Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/laitz now includes streaming audio for nearly all examples and exercises plus supplementary drill exercises
  • The accompanying Anthology contains eighty-four complete scores, many of which are newly recorded and available on the Companion Website


  • Focuses on music in context, describing composers' works and disussing how theory concepts developed through music
  • Presents an outstanding quality, quantity, and diversity of exercises geared toward real music and real music situations
  • Includes almost 4,500 musical examples from the common-practice repertoire and nearly 20 hours of streaming music, performed by the students and faculty of the Eastman School of Music

About the Author(s)

Steven G. Laitz is chair of the Music Theory and Analysis department at The Juilliard School and Professor of Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music. He serves as Director of the Gail Boyd de Stwolinski Center for Music Theory Pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma and Executive Editor of Music Theory Pedagogy Online.

Previous Publication Date(s)

April 2011
June 2007
March 2003


"The best book on the market. It has a superior balance of basic and complex concepts, terms, exercises, and examples." - Peter Susser, Columbia University

"I love teaching out of The Complete Musician." - Don Traut, University of Arizona

"The Complete Musician provides a more holistic approach to theory than other texts. This text will absolutely help students' performing abilities and how they approach and understand music." - Alex Nohai-Seaman, Suffolk County Community College

"This text is comprehensive, extremely thorough, and sophisticated." - Jeffrey Loeffert, Oklahoma State University

Table of Contents


    Part 1: The Foundations of Tonal Music
    Chapter 1A: Musical Space
    Chapter 1B: Musical Time: Pulse, Rhythm, and Meter
    Chapter 2: Harnessing Space and Time: Introduction to Melody and Two-Voice Counterpoint
    Chapter 3: Musical Density: Triads, Seventh Chords, and Texture

    Part 2: Merging Melody and Harmony
    Chapter 4: When Harmony, Melody, and Rhythm Converge
    Chapter 5: Tonic and Dominant as Tonal Pillars and Introduction to Voice Leading
    Chapter 6: The Impact of Melody, Rhythm, and Meter on Harmony; Introduction to V7; and Harmonizing Florid Melodies
    Chapter 7: Contrapuntal Expansions of Tonic and Dominant: Six-Three Chords
    Chapter 8: More Contrpuntal Expansions: Inversions of V7, Introduction to Leading-Tone Seventh Chords, and Reduction and Elavoration

    Part 3: A New Harmonic Function, The Phrase Model, and Additional Melodic and Harmonic Embellishments
    Chapter 9: The Pre-Dominant Function and the Phrase Model
    Chapter 10: Accented and Chromatic Embellishing Tones
    Chapter 11: Six-Four Chords, Revisiting the Subdominant, and Summary of Contrapuntal Expansions
    Chapter 12: The Pre-Dominant Refines the Phrase Model

    Part 4: New Chords and New Forms
    Chapter 13: The Submediant: A New Diatonic Harmony, and Further Extensions of the Phrase Model
    Chapter 14: The Mediant, the Back-Relating Dominant, and a Synthesis of Diatonic Harmonic Relationships
    Chapter 15: The Period
    Chapter 16: Other Small Musical Structures: Sentences, Double Periods, and Modified Periods
    Chapter 17: Harmonic Sequences

    Part 5: Functional Chromaticism
    Chapter 18: Applied Chords
    Chapter 19: Tonicization and Modulation
    Chapter 20: Binary Form and Variations

    Part 6: Expressive Chromaticism
    Chapter 21: Modal Mixture
    Chapter 22: Expansion of Modal Mixture Harmonies: Chromatic Modulation and the German Lied
    Chapter 23: The Neapolitan Chord (bII)
    Chapter 24: The Augmented Sixth Chord

    Part 7: Large Forms: Ternary, Rondo, Sonata
    Chapter 25: Ternary Form
    Chapter 26: Rondo
    Chapter 27: Sonata Form

    Part 8: Introduction to Nineteenth-Century Harmony: The Shirt from Asymmetry to Symmetry
    Chapter 28: New Harmonic Tendencies
    Chapter 29: Melodic and Harmonic Symmetry Combine: Chromatic Sequences

    Part 9: Twentieth and Twenty-First-Century Music
    Chapter 30: Vestiges of Common Practice and the Rise of a New Sound World
    Chapter 31: Noncentric Music: Atonal Concepts and Analytical Methodology
    Chapter 32: New Rhythmic and Metric Possibilities, Ordered PC Relations, and Twelve-Tone Techniques

    Appndix 1: Invertible Counterpoint, Compound Melody, and Implied Harmonies
    Appendix 2: The Motive
    Appendix 3: Additional Harmonic-Sequence Topics
    Appendix 4: Abbreviations and Acronyms
    Appendix 5: Selected Answers to Textbook Exercises



Teaching Resources

For Instructors:

·         Ancillary Resource Center with Online Instructor's Manual – provides solutions to all of the exercises in the text and workbooks—including dictation, writing (e.g., figured bass and melody harmonization), analytical, and aural skills exercises—as well as supplementary examples, exercises, and teaching guidelines that detail effective strategies for each chapter. Visit www.oup.com/us/laitz.

For Students:

·         Companion Website (www.oup.com/us/laitz) – offers supplementary drill exercises; streaming audio for nearly all examples; and a series of appendices to the text offering additional content for study.  

·         Two workbooks: Workbook 1 is dedicated to written and analytical activities, including figured bass, melody harmonization, model composition, and analysis; Workbook 2 covers musicianship skills. Exercises within each chapter of Workbook 2 are organized by activity type: singing arpeggiations of the chord being studied, then within a tune from the literature; two-part singing; dictation; keyboard; then instrumental application. Between the two workbooks, there are nearly 2,000 recorded analytical and dictation examples and over 20 hours of recorded music, all of which is provided in streaming audio format.

o   Writing & Analysis Workbook to Accompany The Complete Musician,  4e (9780199347100, 656 pp., $69.95)

o   Skills & Musicianship Workbook to Accompany The Complete Musician, 4e (9780199347117, 512 pp., $69.95)


Both workbooks have been reorganized to reflect the new text organization. Additionally, over 200 new exercises have been written to cover twentieth-century music (Chapters 30 through 32 in the main text). Additional space has been added to many exercises to allow for students to easily complete their work in each volume. All musical examples are available in streaming format on the Companion Website for The Complete Musician. Visit www.oup.com.us/laitz.

·         NEW Anthology of Scores (9780199395514,336 pp.,  $45.00) – Covering works from the common practice and contemporary periods, this collection includes 84 complete scores for key works that are discussed in the text along with many additional works to facilitate further discussion and analysis. Brief introductory notes and study questions set the scores in context and direct student learning. 

·         Music Theory Skill Builder (www.oup.com/us/mtsb)   provides thousands of exercises in an interactive environment where students can practice and master core concepts that they need for success in Music Fundamentals and Music Theory.  Music Theory Skill Builder can be packaged with The Complete Musician at no extra cost (see package ISBNs below) or purchased separately for $34.95.  To have your bookstore stock individual access cards for separate purchase, order Music Theory Skill Builder Access Card (9780199899098).

Featured Packages with FREE Music Theory Skill Builder Access Card:

·         The Complete Musician 4e with Writing & Analysis Workbook, Skills & Musicianship Workbook, Anthology of Scores, and Music Theory Skill Builder Access Card (Package ISBN: 978-0-19-046934-4)

·         The Complete Musician 4e with Writing & Analysis Workbook and Skills & Musicianship Workbook, and Music Theory Skill Builder Access Card (Package ISBN: 978-0-19-046933-7)

·         The Complete Musician 4e with Writing & Analysis Workbook and Music Theory Skill Builder Access Card (Package ISBN: 978-0-19-063840-5)

·         The Complete Musician 4e with Anthology of Scores and Music Theory Skill Builder Access Card (Package ISBN: 978-0-19-046928-3)

·         The Complete Musician 4e with Music Theory Skill Builder Access Card (Package ISBN: 978-0-19-060075-4)

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