0

I have learned a lot of music theory history piecemeal and I’m looking for a book that covers the topic in a chronological, narrative way. Ideally, the book should cover the historical progress of tuning systems (from Pythagoras to modern equal temperament, in mathematical detail, no glossing or hand-waving) and how they affected which intervals people perceived as consonant and dissonant (for example, I have read that supposedly the reason Europeans transitioned from using mostly using fifths to using thirds and sixths is because they switched away from a Pythagorean tuning system in which thirds and sixths actually sounded bad), the theory of modes (plagal versus authentic modes, why Ionian and Aeolian weren’t in use before Glareanus, etc.; I’d especially like to know how people in the 1400s actually thought about modes and why they didn’t realize that by using Bb all the time in Lydian they were just writing in transposed Ionian), the shift from thinking about music in terms of counterpoint and voice leading to thinking in terms of chords, as exemplified by Rameau, the theories of Riemann, and so on through the classical and modern ages.

I have not been able to find such an overview. Does a book like this even exist? If not, what books cover at least part of what I’m looking for? Thanks in advance.

1
  • 1
    By having a look at the help centre here, you'll understand taht recommendations such as this aren't part of the site's offerings. Thus the question will probably be closed. – Tim Sep 5 '20 at 13:19
1

One good overview is The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.