Life[ edit ] Fux was born to a peasant family in Hirtenfeld , Styria , Austria. Relatively little is known about his early life, but likely he went to nearby Graz for music lessons. In he was accepted at the Jesuit university there, where his musical talent became apparent. From until he served as organist at St. Moritz in Ingolstadt. Sometime during this period he must have made a trip to Italy, as evidenced by the strong influence of Corelli and Bolognese composers on his work of the time.

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It is an essential read for every composer, containing the manual that nearly all great classical composers learned from. Contemporary composers still use it today both as a way to learn and a tool for teaching their students. So, what is it? Gradus Ad Parnassum is a study of how lines of notes relate to one another, i. The book is not a typical textbook, but rather attempts to read like a dialogue. There is a conversation that runs throughout the text between Josephus, the student and Aloysius, the master.

Josephus is any student who wishes to learn the art of composition, and Aloysius is the master teaching Josephus. It is worth noting here that Aloysius is a stand-in for Palestrina, the great Renaissance composer whose work this treatise distills. But, the overall purpose of the book is not to tell a story, but to provide the reader you with a solid backbone in relating consonance and dissonance to each other as you write melodic lines. By studying the relationship between consonance and dissonance in both horizontal and vertical directions, you will grow as a composer in your understanding of the basic units of western music.

But, what if you have already worked as a composer and things are going well? Buy it anyways. Buy it because you can always get better, and doing these exercises challenges you to really examine your fundamentals. Think of this book as a way to ensure your fundamentals are as good as they can be, that your foundation is solid, that your skills are so deep that they are second nature and you can focus on writing the best music you can. Buy the book , and do the exercises too. Sing them out.

Play them on a piano. Spend hours doing these things, and you will come out a much better, more well-informed, and more instinctively-tuned musician.

There is also some commentary by the translator and editor, Alfred Mann. This helps to contextualize the book.

This book was a staple for common practice period composers such as J. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and others. In short, both pedagogically and musically, it all starts here in this book. This book is relevant because it is the backbone, and the starting point for the study of western musical composition. The body of music written up to today is at your fingertips as you read and study it. My copy is pictured up top.


Gradus Ad Parnassum



Johann Joseph Fux





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