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Theory, theoristslocked

  • Claude V. Palisca
  •  and Ian D. Bent


Theory is now understood as principally the study of the structure of music. This can be divided into melody, rhythm, counterpoint, harmony and form, but these elements are difficult to distinguish from each other and to separate from their contexts. At a more fundamental level theory includes considerations of tonal systems, scales, tuning, intervals, consonance, dissonance, durational proportions and the acoustics of pitch systems. A body of theory exists also about other aspects of music, such as composition, performance, orchestration, ornamentation, improvisation and electronic sound production. (There are separate articles on most of these subjects, but for more detailed treatment of the most fundamental of them ...

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