Universal Music Theory
It can be confusing to try to determine what sounds are music and which are merely noise. Historically, music theory has seemed limited (at least in study) to fairly strict definitions of what constitutes “music,” but this grows increasingly problematic as one recognizes how highly subjective music interpretation can be. A broader definition is needed, one that can explain all music in all its forms. German Margon and his colleagues, calling themselves the ‘Third Viennese School,’ have presented such a definition, almost a manifesto, in Universal Music Theory.
It is an interesting and important book; short but worthy of repeated reading and study, and invaluable to musicians of every type. Margon lays out the building blocks of music, presenting answers to such questions as, for example, What is music? What is its utility? Are there any universal principles that apply to all music?
Carefully, layer by layer, Margon builds his case for a new understanding of music, which asserts, among other things, the co-equality of all types of music, and presents universal principles that underlay all music. This is especially brilliant; it precludes cultural biases that judge and discriminate based on preconceptions and historic traditions or preferences.
The first several Articles are bold assertions about the general nature of music; these flow smoothly into further articles explaining how (and why) all music hinges on the assonance that connects consonant and dissonant sounds, and the relationships between a composer, an interpreter (the artist playing the piece), and the listener. Part Two goes into more depth with music fundamentals and laws of sound, perception, harmony, etc. This is the most technical section of the book, and is rather dense reading on the first attempt. However, Part Three ties all these together, and suddenly, if you have persisted, you receive an epiphanic vision of this new Universal Music Theory, which you will want to go back and reexamine with awakened appreciation. None of it is difficult to understand (Margon carefully explains and defines new or unfamiliar terms or usage), but repeated study will yield additional layers of insight, and the short, one- or two-sentence Articles (instead of long explanatory paragraphs) allow readers to quickly find and review relevant topics. Although at first surprising, the book’s organization is truly masterful, gently but fearlessly establishing the principles that underlie all music. This is a well-reasoned, insightful, powerful treatise that moves beyond outdated and limited musicology to a new theory that is indeed universal.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Page Count||86 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Music & Movies|