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The Directory Of Classical Themes by Denys Parsons

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Have you ever had a classical tune buzzing round your head and not been able to identify it? In The Directory of Classical Themes, with no greater musical knowledge than the ability to hum the tune, you will be able to find it. Denys Parsons discovered that the only necessary feature to distinguish any number of different themes was the up-and-down pattern of the melody. This enabled him to compile a reference work that is incredibly easy to use. Practically every well-known classical theme from the 16th century onwards is found in these pages. It can be used to find the composer, identify the theme and movement of a sonata, symphony or concerto and to check the opus number or key of a work you already know.

Reviews (3)
This is a remarkable work. I had expected that the search would use musical notation. But the author has discovered that any melody can be identified by a unique pattern of up- and down- and same-, without reference to thirds, fourths, thirteenths, etc. The first note is represented by an asterisk, and most melodies require only a few ups and downs for their identification. This is probably the only way a person who does not read music could find the title of the work, and in fact musical notation would be impossible to diagram and organize unless everything were reduced to the key of C, which would not make much sense for things composed in another key. The only shortcoming is that it seems to identify only the first theme of a piece; if the tune running through your imagination happens to be a secondary theme in the third movement, this book can't help. But to do that would require several volumes.
I was rather annoyed that the first theme I tried to find here, Beethoven's 7th Symphony, second movement, was omitted here. It's better than nothing, but far from ideal.
I am currently using this book to identify numerous pieces of music stored in my computer which have previously been extracted from personally-owned CDs. Unfortunately, many classical CDs have incorrect details recorded against various tracks, hence the current confusion. Mozart, being most represented in my musical collection, presents the greatest challenge in this project and, in this respect, I find the book mostly unhelpful. Many themes start with a clear progression of notes and despite carefully noting these as they go up, down or repeat, I have to conclude that many of Mozart's themes are missing from this book, or else incorrectly listed. Therefore, I am somewhat disappointed with this book.

ISBN: 0749951788

Rating: 4.1/5

Votes: 894

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ISBN13: 978-0749951788

Publisher: Piatkus (December 4, 2008)

Language: English

Subcategory: Music

Pages: 208

The Directory Of Classical Themes
Arts & Photography
Author: Denys Parsons
Title: The Directory Of Classical Themes