Fine Arts

69 Music

Music Appreciation: This document maps OER (curated by librarians and vetted for content and alignment by subject matter experts) to specific outcomes/competencies or items for this course (MUS 120, Colorado).
Last update: Apr 16/24


Bach’s Open Goldberg Variations (CC0)

The Open Goldberg Variations (Johann Sebastian Bach, BWV 988), played by Kimiko Ishizaka on a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial piano, are free to download and share.


Art and Music Since 1945 (CC BY)

This open website is used for a course on Art and Music since 1945 offered at The Ohio State University. The website contains a collection of biographies of artists and musicians, a sample syllabus, and assignments. Its companion textbook is meant to be A Quick and Dirty Guide to Art, Music, and Culture, which is posted below.


Brass Techniques and Pedagogy (CC BY-NC-SA)

Textbook for undergraduate brass methods course focusing on brass instrument techniques and pedagogy.

Comprehensive Musicianship, A Practical Resource (CC BY-NC-SA)

(Also see  Aural Training and Sight Singing Supplement for Comprehensive Musicianship, A Practical Resource)

This book presents an integrated suite of learning resources developed for the core music theory and musicianship curriculum at the University of Northern Iowa School of Music. It provides a more comprehensive symbiosis of musicianship and music theory learning than can be found in existing textbooks, including engaging and progressive video demonstrations and interactive listening and vocal exercises that integrate musical knowledge with foundational musical skills.

Fundamentals, Function, and Form (CC BY-NC)

This text provides readers with a comprehensive study of the theory and analysis of tonal Western art music. Author Andre Mount begins by building a strong foundation in the understanding of rhythm, meter, and pitch as well as the notational conventions associated with each. From there, he guides the reader through an exploration of polyphony—the simultaneous sounding of multiple independent melodies—and an increasingly rich array of different sonorites that grow out of this practice. The book culminates with a discussion of musical form, engaging with artistic works in their entirety by considering the interaction of harmonic and thematic elements, but also such other musical dimensions as rhythm, meter, texture, and expression.

Multimodal Musicianship (CC BY-NC-SA)

This book teaches learning music theory and ear training. The content engages concepts related to tonal harmony, suitable for a two- or three-semester music theory and ear training curriculum in a liberal arts college or other higher education setting. This collection of materials offers multiple modes of engaging content—with text, musical examples, audio examples, video content, application activities, and links to supplemental content—designed for users to learn and reinforce their knowledge according to their learning styles and needs.

Music Appreciation (CC BY-NC-ND)

For the course that this text accompanies the goals for each student are: To gain basic exposure to the elements of music and their treatment in music, to learn historical and cultural signifiers in a diverse body of music, to approach listening to music actively/analytically and to reflect on the experience, to understand the factors that contribute to musical style in their own music and music presented in the course, to gain knowledge about differing musical aesthetics and trends, and to become more knowledgeable and sensitive to varied human expression through music.

Music Appreciation: History, Culture, and Context (CC BY)

Music makes us human. Every culture on earth has music. In fact, every human society extending back into prehistoric times has had music. Most of us are surrounded by music. We use it to enhance our mood and to regulate our metabolism, to keep us awake and help us go to sleep, as background to accompany the work, study, exercise, and relaxation that fills our days. This textbook is about the musical imagination. It’s how to think about music, but it’s also about music as a mode of thinking.

Music Theory for the 21st-Century Classroom (GNU Free Documentation License)

This is an openly–licensed online four–semester college music theory textbook. It differs from other music theory textbooks by focusing less on four–part (SATB) voiceleading and more on relating harmony to the phrase. Also, in traditional music theory textbooks, there is little emphasis on motivic analysis and analysis of melodic units smaller than the phrase.

Open Music Theory: Version 2 (CC BY-SA)

This is an open-source, interactive, online “text”book for college-level music theory courses.

A Quick and Dirty Guide to Art, Music, and Culture (CC BY)

An open textbook by The Ohio State University that discusses art and music in the context of popular culture. It is meant to work with the open course Art and Music Since 1945, which is posted above.

Resonances: Engaging Music in Its Cultural Context (CC BY-SA)

Although this book is intended primarily for use in the college music appreciation classroom, it was designed with consideration for independent learners, advanced high school students, and experienced musicians. That is to say, it includes enough detail that expert guidance is not required and is written using broadly-accessible language. At the same time, it addresses advanced topics and positions music as a serious object of study.

Sight-Reading for Guitar: The Keep-Going Method Book and Video Series (CC BY)

This book teaches guitar players from all musical backgrounds to understand, read, and play modern staff notation in real time. The Keep-Going Method is designed to impart the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for sight-reading with efficiency, fun and encouragement.

Soul Music Odyssey USA 1968 – 2nd ed (CC BY-NC-SA)

This is from the author’s research trip 1968 (plus a little from 1978). The first version was basically a translation of articles written in Swedish and originally published in the Swedish magazine Jefferson (world’s oldest blues magazine) plus a summary. It was published online by York University Libraries in 2017.  This edition includes illustrations and corrections.

Understanding Music: Past and Present (CC BY-SA)

Understanding Music: Past and Present is an open Music Appreciation textbook co-authored by music faculty across Georgia. The text covers the fundamentals of music and the physics of sound, an exploration of music from the Middle Ages to the present day, and a final chapter on popular music in the United States.

Unlocking the Digital Age: The Musician’s Guide to Research, Copyright, and Publishing CC BY)

Based on coursework developed at the Peabody Conservatory, this book serves as a crucial resource for early career musicians navigating the complexities of the digital era. This guide bridges the gap between creative practice and scholarly research, empowering musicians to confidently share and protect their work as they expand their performing lives beyond the concert stage as citizen artists. It offers a plain language resource that helps early career musicians see where creative practice and creative research intersect and how to traverse information systems to share their work. As professional musicians and researchers, the authors’ experiences on stage and in academia makes this guide an indispensable tool for musicians aiming to thrive in the digital landscape.


Acoustics (CC BY)

A set of four videos on acoustics.

Piano video playlists by Dr. Janci Bronson (CC BY)


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OER by Discipline Directory Copyright © 2018 by BCcampus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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