Forty-three years ago patron Dianne Phelps earned her Music Education degree at Eastern New Mexico University. She faced difficult challenges with her partial vision at the time and struggled with some of the faculty, reluctant to award her a degree. Thankfully, she prevailed. Afterwards, she had a keyboard and was frustrated as she was not able to understand how to make chord changes and play harmonic sequences. Ms. Phelps wrote to her regional talking book library in Sacramento (and I believe many people will relate to this statement) “You know, all I ever really wanted to do was to hear something I liked and be able to sit down and play it or be able to play songs at a party where people would sing and I could have accompanied.” Doesn’t part of the joy of music come from sharing the music making process itself? She continues, “At 67 years of age, it is probably too late to accomplish all of that, but perhaps, using your new offerings will allow me to re-acquire some of the enjoyment music once gave me. I am so thankful for our NLS BARD services where we can find things and download them. This program has come a long way since the bulky boxes of records many of us grew up with, and I so appreciate the development and increase in topics offered.”
Here are some suggestions in music theory and ear training available from the NLS Music collection: Music Theory Course by Barbara Kolb, DBM 01307 was designed specifically for patrons of the NLS Music Section. It covers the basic elements of melody and rhythm, and concentrates on form, harmony, and style and concludes with an analysis of a major musical work. Modern Harmony Course by Bill Irwin, DBM 00701 was also developed for the NLS Music Section. It talks about scales and chord formation, progressions, modulations, chord notation, and rhythmic accompaniments. And if you’re seeking rudimentary information about music and its structure, try Understanding the Language of Music: a Beginner’s Guide to Music, History, Theory, and Structure by Daniel Abrams at DBM 01304.
When we received Ms. Phelps e-mail, that was a very good day for us here at the NLS Music Section. If you love music and want it, don’t give up! We’ll do our utmost to help you get there.