Originally published in 1943, Models for Beginners in Composition
represents one of Arnold Schoenberg's earliest attempts at reaching a broad American audience through his pedagogical ideas. The novelty of this book was its streamlined approach, basing all aspects of composition including motivic design, harmony, and the construction of themes on the two-measure phrase. This newly revised edition by Gordon Root incorporates many of Schoenberg's corrections to the original manuscript. It also includes a significant commentary elucidating the evolution of Schoenberg's pedagogical approach.
In its function as a practical manual for the American classroom, Models for Beginners in Composition is unique among Schoenberg's texts. The current Commentary explores Schoenberg's experience as a teacher at UCLA while tracing the development of the two-measure phrase as the main component of his pedagogical method. It demonstrates the way in which Schoenberg simultaneously preserved and adapted European ideas about tonal theory and pedagogy when he came to America, a give and take that allowed for increased theoretical originality and scope.
Models for Beginners in Composition established the two-measure phrase as one of the most significant of Schoenberg's contributions to American music education. This new edition, with Schoenberg's corrections and newly added commentary, allows readers to utilize and explore the text in greater depth. Students of composition, Schoenberg scholars, music theorists, and historians of music theory alike will no doubt welcome this new edition.