I was considering the power of CK12.org this morning after reading about Little Falls (Minnesota) adopting the iPad next year. CK12 offers standards-based textbooks in science and math in multiple formats (including ePub and Kindle) for free. My next thought was, “What’s out there in terms of free textbooks for music theory?”
I have a pretty clear idea of what is available in terms of what isn’t free. In college, I used Tonal Harmony. In my first years of teaching music theory, I used Music in Theory and Practice. Lately in my teaching, I’ve used the Techniques and Materials of Music. All three textbooks cover the subject of music theory in different ways. Techniques and Materials is a skinny book (less overwhelming to high school students) that teaches music theory through composition–a different approach than other books I’ve seen. Music in Theory and Practice gets far too caught up in counterpoint far too early (in my opinion), and I also don’t like how the book introduces intervals through scales (I prefer to teach scales through intervals), although either way, you end up learning both.
So here’s the question: does anyone know good music theory textbooks, for high school classes like AP Music Theory, or for undergrad music theory classes, that are free (and legally so)? I do know of some resources such as:
- Basic Music Theory by Jonathan Harnum
- musictheory.net by Ricci Adams (Works on iPad, but not with all Flash version capability)
- teoría (needs Flash, does not work on iPad)
- Various e-books (all prior to 1920) at Google Books
- musopen is trying to put together a free music theory textbook
- And of course, AP music theory resources online (not a textbook)
Any other suggestions? In reality, I’ve taught theory with and without textbooks, and never with a teacher’s manual. Ultimately, my biggest need is to have a reference where students can go when I’m not available, and exercises for students to complete. What is out there–like CK12.org–for music theory?