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Open Educational Resources: Music

Top Picks

Sound Reasoning: A New Way to Listen

"The fundamental premise of this course is that, if you listen attentively and think constructively about what you are hearing, your awareness will prosper and your direct connection to the music will thrive. The course assumes little or no prior musical background. The ability to read music is not required. A minimum of musical terminology will be invoked." (brandt)

Harmony Explained: Progress Towards a Scientific Theory of Music

This text, written by Daniel Wilkerson, explores "scientific" music theory - analyzing both the physical and computational aspects of sound and harmony for a person listening. The text analyzes the major scale, the standard chord dictionary, and the difference between major and minor triads.

Music: It's Language, History, and Culture

This text aims to introduce a variety of music traditions, teach students how to write and speak about what they are listening to, to explore contexts of music created, and to examine various influences on modern music.

The Physical Basis of Music

"The main purpose of this book is to explain certain physical considerations useful not only to a beginner learning how to play a musical instrument, but also to an accomplished musician trying to gain full technical mastery of an instrument. Some conscious understanding of the facts of physics and physiology, while obviously not necessary, can speed up the learning process for a beginner" (E.T Jaynes)

Music Theory for Guitar

This text is a "learning by doing" text for basic instructions on how to learn to play the guitar.

Textbook Databases

These links will take you directly to the portions of textbook databases that contain materials relevant to your subject. This is not an exhaustive list; we encourage you to investigate the Open Textbooks tab for additional content. 

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenburg is a database containing books that are either free in the United States because their copyrights have expired, or are copyrighted works that the authors have given permission for them to be distributed freely, in non-commercial means. It also contains a variety of written and recorded music. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at" It has a wide variety of materials that could be of use as supplemental materials to an equally wide variety of courses.

General Purpose Databases

Journal and Article Databases

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