by Nola Nolen Holland
Human Kinetics, 2013
e-book $22, paperback $39
Several textbooks have been written for beginner music theory students, but very few are tailored specifically to dancers. In Music Fundamentals for Dance (123 pages), author Nola Holland, assistant professor of dance and music theory at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, relates musical concepts back to movement, showing, for instance, how Merce Cunningham visualized polyphonic simultaneity through choreography.
Holland consulted faculty at various music conservatories for the book, and she uses her own knowledge as a former dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre to pique dancers’ interests. Most appropriate for a high school or college course, the book includes interesting visuals, like photos demonstrating what harmony and counterpoint might look like through choreography, or comparisons of the musical score of The Sleeping Beauty to its Labanotation mapping. Each chapter offers written or dance-related exercises to put into practice, and an online resource extends information with useful links and downloadable music.