Regarding "The Sounds of Music: Perception and Notation"


"...an exciting new approach to teaching and learning music. One experiences a musical concept which is then supported by listening examples, and lastly by uncharacteristically logical explanations. Eskelin's approach has the capacity to revolutionize the way music fundamentals are taught. It is a book that has been long needed."
Jerry D. Luedders-Music Chair, California State University, Northridge


"Enlightening, provocative, analytical and thorough, yet practical and honest. A unique and necessary book for the "sound" learning of music fundamentals. Dr. Eskelin provides a scholarly basis for perceptual understanding through exquisite aural examples, visual aids, and descriptive text; followed by a natural approach to notation learning. A must for music educators."
Dr. Patrice D. Madura-Assistant, Professor of Music Education, University of Southern California


A Reader's "Review"

Dear Gerald,

A little about me: I have a BM in Composition and Theory from Jacksonville University and a MACM from Friends University. I also did a few years of post grad study in music at USF and Berklee School of Music. I spent most of my life (49 yrs) studying music, piano, and lots of jazz, but I really love all kinds of music. Currently, I am in a large church in Wichita as the Fine Arts Pastor (which means I get to write for and direct lots of musicians and singers on a weekly basis who are passionate about the Lord and love to sing and play instruments) and I get paid for it! I have a wife and 3 children. I am blessed.

Always on the look out for new theory books, a little while back I was in Barnes and Noble and stumbled on your book "Lies ..." and really resonated with your perspective. I should have bought it then but when I went back to get it a few days later it was sold. The bad part was I couldn't remember the exact title or the author (sorry). I knew it had something to do with "false information that was intentionally disseminated by incompetent educators". After using google searches and the internet and using every conceivable word order and synonym, I finally found you!

I ordered "Lies..." and "The Sounds..." and just got "The Sounds..." in the mail. I put on the CD and skimmed and listened through the whole book in one sitting, reading as fast as I could and only pausing the CD briefly to catch up inbetween. Wow! What a joy to find a book that so thoroughly explains music theory from a fresh viewpoint and in such an organized fashion. I can't wait to reread it now (slowly) and take it all in. I'll definitely put it on the top of my reading recommendations for my friends.

I especially appreciate doing away with the myth that Equal temperament is OK and addressing the attitude that pure ratios don't matter because the differences are imperceptible. Balderdash! The nerve of the Harvard Dictionary of Music! The true sound of the
third and flat seventh is so beautiful not to mention all of the other intervals. I also appreciated the use and clarification of such new (to me) terminology as "digitals" and "pitch recognition". Not to sound too weird about it but, I just love this book!!

I would have liked to have seen a bibliography at the back or "recommended for further reading." I'm still working through the concept that all pitches should be executed as perfect, simple ratios, especially when it comes to linear writing and scalewise
symmetry. I can switch my brain between vertical and horizontal thinking when writing or improvising and have always thought there was room for both worlds. I admit there is nothing like simple, pure ratios in harmonic based compositions but is 2 to the 1/12
power really that bad when playing a chromatic or other symmetrical shape? (Do I sound like a temperamental, with a temper, mental, equaltempered pianist?!?!) Like I said, I plan to reread and study this and am looking forward to expanding my thinking in this area.

I'm looking forward to "Components of Vocal Blend" and I'll probably order other products eventually. I wanted to thank you and congratulate you an a job well done and I can't wait to finally get "Lies..." in my hands. It should be here soon. Way to go!

Peter Abood
Worship and Fine Arts Pastor

Central Christian Church
Wichita, Kansas


A Published Review of "Lies" and "Sounds"

The cover of Gerald Eskelin's book "Lies My Music Teacher Told Me" asks, "Have you ever noticed a disparity between what you were told about music and your practical experience with it?" Eskelin firmly sets forth to debunk accepted beliefs that often cause confusion, and his informal, conversational style works well. He is clearly driven by respectful curiosity and a need to understand. The lies could be called misconceptions, but that wouldn't reflect the book's spirit of edgy adventure.

One such misconception concerns minor scales, specifically melodic minor scales, and why you're instructed in formal theory to play them differently ascending and descending. Eskelin's Lie #9 is, "There are three minor scales—natural, melodic, and harmonic." His corresponding truth is, "Chromatic adjustments can be made in the minor mode, according to harmonic context, to accommodate the step and a half between scale steps b6 and 7." In real life, melodies don't adjust themselves according to whether they are ascending or descending. They fit the chord context of the moment. The informative book is a lot of fun to read, and it makes you rethink your understanding of music basics.

The enthusiastic reception given to Eskelin's first book convinced him of the need for "The Sounds of Music: Perception and Notation," in which he offers sweeping instruction on the nature of music, covering an incredible number of topics in 339 oversize pages. Eskelin firmly believes in the majorminor system as an exciting and natural musical construct, but he places it in the context of other systems. The book opens with a survey of dominant world styles, and the accompanying CD is jammed with examples keyed to the text so you can hear what he's talking about as you go.

Careful repeated study of these books will leave you with a firm and detailed understanding of the framework and structure of music. The time you invest, especially in conjunction with a good teacher, will add depth to your musicianship and satisfaction to your guitar playing.

GaryJoyner, Acoustic Guitar Magazine