Harmony Notes: Book 1, offers a fresh engaging approach to the study of four-part vocal harmony. The presentation of material is clear, uncomplicated, and follows a carefully graded sequence.
Each topic is supported by worked examples incorporating detailed explanations of good practice. Each stage is underpinned by recordings of the material, fostering a musical understanding and encouraging a holistic approach – emphasising the necessary link between sound and symbol. To this end, tonic solfa is used extensively throughout the text as an effective tool to navigate the sound.
Exercises are built into each chapter at strategic points to assist with the learning, absorption and application of the topic at hand. The exercises move from easy to more challenging as the chapters progress.
‘Lightbulb’ moments flag essential grammatical points, while ‘checklist boxes’ summarise important features providing a useful revision tool.
Although Harmony Notes deals primarily with vocal writing, the scope of the book expands at three points to embrace simple analysis looking at the application of the harmony in the context of piano music and string quartet.
The musical examples in the main body of the book are recorded by students of the Royal Irish Academy of Music. These recordings are available online and are intended to be listened to while studying the various topics. The three pillars of analysis are also available to be listened to online while studying the scores.
Furthermore, the student exercises are also made available as downloads. Supplementary exercises are contained in the appendices. These relate to chapters 5, 7, 8, 14, 16 and 17, where some possible solutions are offered.
Jean Archibald MusDip UCD, LRAM, ARCM studied music at University College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She has been a longstanding member of the Musicianship Faculty at the Royal Irish Academy of Music; teaching junior musicianship and lecturing in harmony and counterpoint, keyboard harmony, and aural training on third-level degree programmes.
Marie Moran BA Mod, LRIAM, LGSM, LTCL studied Music at Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Her musical journey has been shaped by her teaching in both institutions. She has been a key member of the RIAM Musicianship Faculty since 1986, lecturing in music theory, orchestration, harmony and counterpoint, analysis, keyboard harmony and aural training. As Head of the RIAM Musicianship Faculty over many years, she played a vital role in the initiation and development of various third-level degree programmes. She is currently Head of Academic Studies.