Musical Form by Robert E. Tyndall

This may be a bit unfair, as I’m reviewing an old edition from 1964.  I picked it up in a bargain bin because it would fill a gap in my knowledge, and it did.

I now have a fairly clear idea of the sonata, concerto, and fugue forms that I lacked.  However, I can’t help thinking that somewhere along the line a better textbook has been written as Tyndall often seems to get in over his head.

Musical forms aren’t absolutes with clear formulas.  That’s true.  If you get deep enough into analyzing any piece, no matter how Platonic an example of a form, it will refuse to be perfectly reduced.  However, each chapter seemed to end with the same trailing off into a helpless statement of the protean nature of music and an attempt to bail out by listing examples for study.

The examples themselves are excellent, and he uses short sections reproduced inside the text very effectively.  That is the success of the book.  It was worth the read, but I remain convinced that some other book would be more worth it.

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