Monday, December 24, 2018

A Dictionary of Musical Themes

I found this amazing 1948 musical reference book (published in New York by Crown) in a used bookstore in Champaign, Illinois several months ago. The songwriter Harold Barlow and the composer Sam Morgenstern sought to make a musical parallel to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. This volume contains 10,000 themes from orchestral and chamber music. Barlow and Morgenstern made a volume of vocal themes in 1950, and in 1962 they made a volume of opera and song themes.

You can buy copies all over the place on line. Mine is a first edition without a dust cover, and I paid $10 for it.

You can read the introductory material for the book here.

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