Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Theory Essentials, 2nd Edition

  • Connie E. Mayfield
  • ISBN-10: 113330818X
  • ISBN-13: 9781133308188
  • 608 Pages | Spiralbound
  • Previous Editions: 2003
  • COPYRIGHT: 2013 Published
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About the Product

THEORY ESSENTIALS, 2/e offers a unique, total solution to teaching music theory. Integrating all the components of the two-year music theory sequence, the text and its accompanying workbook synthesize the major topics in music theory with aural skills, keyboard applications, and examples from the literature. Offering terrific value, THEORY ESSENTIALS replaces the need for the four separate texts traditionally required for the music theory sequence (theory, ear training/sight singing, keyboard harmony, and an anthology). The result is a remarkable, carefully-paced synthesis of these components that moves from a solid grounding in Fundamentals, Diatonic Harmony, Secondary Function chords, and Twentieth-Century Techniques.


  • Answering instructors’ complaints - and student anxiety - about the lack of a solid grounding in the basics, THEORY ESSENTIALS, 2/e spends the first chapters on a thorough exposure to and execution of fundamentals.

  • Replacing the need for a separate ear training text, the text integrates a full discussion of theory concepts and principles correlated with ear training - and each chapter contains an entire section devoted to building Aural Skills.

  • The feature "Music for Analysis" provides examples from music history that illustrate the isolated principles of music theory and put them in context.

  • The text’s music examples, all which are found on the accompanying CourseMate site, include a variety of composers, from classical to jazz to pop.

  • Practice boxes throughout the text give students an opportunity to test their comprehension immediately and check their responses against the Answer Section at the back of the book.

  • End-of-chapter Keyboard Skills sections allow students to apply the concepts they have learned in a keyboard setting.

About the Author

Connie E. Mayfield

Dr. Connie Mayfield is Dean of Fine Arts at Cerritos College in California. Prior to that she was Professor of Music at Kansas City Kansas Community College, where she taught music theory and music technology and served as Coordinator of the Music Department. Mayfield was a Fulbright scholar to London, England, and completed her Ph.D. in music theory at the University of Kansas. Her presentations on music technology include the League for Innovation Conference on Information Technology, the MENC national convention, and the first annual Technology in Education Conference presented by the California Community Colleges Foundation. She is a leader in teaching theory and developing music technology curricula.

Table of Contents

1. The Basics of Reading Music.
2. Major Scales and Key Signatures.
3. Intervals.
4. Minor Scales and Key Signatures.
5. Triads and Figured Bass.
6. The Basics of Diatonic Harmony.
7. Part Writing with Root-Position Chords.
8. Root Movement by Fifth.
9. Root Movement by Second.
10. Root Movement by Third and Other Progressions.
11. Second-Inversion Chords.
12. First-Inversion Chords.
13. The Leading-Tone Triad and Other First-Inversion Practices.
14. Introduction to Simple Nonharmonic Tones.
15. Appoggiaturas, Escape Tones, and Pedal Tones.
16. Suspensions, Retardations, and Anticipations.
17. Introduction to Seventh Chords.
18. Dominant and Leading-Tone Seventh Chords.
19. Additional Seventh Chords.
20. Diatonic Modulation.
21. Introduction to Secondary Dominants.
22. Secondary Dominants of the Dominant.
23. Secondary Dominants of the Supertonic and Subdominant.
24. Secondary Dominants of the Mediant and Submediant.
25. Chromatic Modulation.
26. Borrowed Chords.
27. Neapolitan Triads and Other Altered Chords.
28. Additional Modulation Techniques.
29. Introduction to Augmented Sixth Chords.
30. Augmented Sixth Chords in Context.
31. Enharmonic Modulation with German Sixths.
32. Enharmonic Modulation with Fully Diminished Seventh Chords.
33. Introduction to Modes.
34. Impressionist Techniques.
35. Jazz Theory.
36. Techniques of Nontonal Music.
37. Nontertian Harmonic Techniques.
38. Pitch Class Set Theory.
39. Serialism.
40. Avant-Garde and Electronic Music.
Composer Index.

New to this edition

  • THEORY ESSENTIALS, 2/e combines into one text what used to be in two volumes.
  • Music CourseMate, an interactive online supplement, includes all of the musical examples in the text, diagnostic quizzes, and numerous exercises that allow students to develop a more thorough understanding of the material presented in the text.
  • The text’s full integration of analytical skills replaces the need for separate texts. Over a thousand music examples address theory, harmony, and ear training throughout the text.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Student Workbook for Mayfield's Theory Essentials  (ISBN-10: 1133308201 | ISBN-13: 9781133308201)

This workbook provides additional exercises suitable for homework assignments.

Student Supplements

Student Workbook for Mayfield's Theory Essentials  (ISBN-10: 1133308201 | ISBN-13: 9781133308201)

This workbook provides 150 pages of additional exercises.