Fundamentals of Music Theory open textbook

piano keys on sheet music

Fundamentals of Music Theory open textbook has been created from content for the popular Coursera MOOC Fundamentals of Music Theory and adapted for an on campus course, into a convenient and reusable open textbook suitable for use by staff and students both within and beyond the University.

The open textbook in multiple e-book formats, presents open licensed educational materials that deal with the building blocks of musical stave (sometimes known as staff) notation, a language designed to communicate about musical ideas which is in use around the world.

Resources in this e-book include video lectures and their transcripts, as well as supporting text explanations, examples and illustrations.

The materials introduce topics such as the organisation of discrete pitches into scales and intervals, and temporal organisation of musical sounds as duration, in rhythm and metre. These rudiments are presented through an introduction to the elements of five-line stave notation, and through critical discussion of the advantages and limitations served by notational systems in the representation and analysis of musical sounds. This serves as the basis of further explanations, to illustrate musical concepts including key, time signature, harmonisation, cadence and modulation.

We anticipate that subsequent versions of this e-book will update and develop the contents and presentation of the materials, following the success of this student-led collaboration.

This open textbook is the result of a project funded by a University of Edinburgh Student Experience GrantOpen e-Textbooks for Access to Music EducationLed by Dr Nikki Moran and Lorna M. Campbell, the project was a collaboration between the University’s OER Service, and staff and student interns, Kari Ding, Ifeanyichukwu Ezinmadu and Ana Reina Garcia, from the Reid School of Music.


Click here for the Fundamentals of Music Theory open textbook




Header image: adapted from a free to use image by Geralt on Pixabay.