Schottenbauer Publishing

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Music Theory Puzzles

Learning music theory symbols can be enhanced with puzzles from the book What's Missing? Volume 2. In these puzzles, students are asked to compare two pages covered with musical symbols and circle what is missing. Puzzles include various lengths of notes and rests, plus dynamic markings, slurs, and sharps and flats. The puzzles are printed in extra large font, to provide appeal and ease of use for young beginners.

Sample pages are shown below. The main puzzle consists of 1A and 1B, shown on opposite pages in the book for easy comparison. The answer key is contained in the back of the book.

Additional Information

Friday, March 11, 2016

Science of Music Memorabilia

Celebrate science of music with memorabilia from Zazzle! Colorful graphs from Schottenbauer Publishing are featured on these mugs, magnets, keychains, & postcards. Graphs demonstrate sound waves, decibels, force, and/or physical motions, and include conducting, voice, piano, violin, recorder, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, drums, cymbal, and Tibetan bowl. A direct link is included below:

Music Science

A variety of other STEM education collections are also available from Schottenbauer Publishing on Zazzle, which features regular sales on most items.  

Additional Information

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sharp (#) or Flat (b)? Tools for Being in Tune!

One of the most challenging tasks of any music student is to play in tune. Whether alone or with other musicians, playing in tune is necessary to create beautiful music. One note out of tune can ruin the listener's experience, and make an otherwise good performance sound chintzy. 

Sometimes it is impossible to play in tune! The most common example is when the piano is out of tune, and the rehearsal or concert is ready to begin. Pianos require several hours of professional work to reset the tuning, so it is impossible to correct this problem. The second most common example is when a temperature difference causes a serious problem with the musical instruments. This problem is particularly relevant when it is cold outdoors and warm on stage under the hot lights, and instruments adjust unevenly to the new temperature. In these conditions, it is impossible to predict or prevent the warping of sound due to the temperature changes. Changes in air pressure due to the weather can also distort sound unintentionally. The third most common reason it is impossible to play in tune pertains to the construction of particular musical instruments, which may have been built at different standards. For instance, some recorders are manufactured with A at 440Hz, while others are at 442 Hz or 444 Hz. This problem is notable between several manufacturers of recorders in Europe.

Barring these circumstances, usually tuning and intonation problems are the fault of the performers, and something can be done to improve tuning. The following suggestions describe tools which students can use to improve their tuning and intonation.

1) Use a Tuner

Using an electronic tuner to check intonation is essential. The simplest electronic tuner consists of the A 440 tone found on most metronomes. It is usually better to purchase a tuner which receives tones and checks them electronically with an algorhythm. These electronic tuners may be as inexpensive as $10 from an online discount store. Some of these models also provide tone generation, with 1 to 12 tones or more which can be used to check accuracy of intonation against at starting note. The most expensive strobe tuners, which pre-date the electronic type, are still available for thousands of dollars. Strobe tuners analyze the components of each pitch, including the main harmonic overtones, with precision. Fortunately, this level of complex analysis is not necessary for most students, who can rely on the simple, inexpensive tuners available from their local music store or online.

2) Learn to Identify Tuning & Intonation

The first and most important task is learning to identify correct intonation and tuning. This can be difficult to achieve without the correct instruction and training. A set of ear training materials from Schottenbauer Publishing can assist students with these tasks. This multimedia Ear Training series consists of the following components, each focused on a particular aspect of ear training skills. Although the first focuses on tuning and intonation, the topic is relevant to all parts of the series.

  • Tuning & Intonation
  • Tone Quality
  • Intervals
  • Harmonic Overtone Series
  • Identifying Musical Mistakes
Each component focuses on building ear training skills through multimedia exercises, which are available in convenient zip files from MusicaNeo for $1 to $10 each.

3) Practice Chromatic Variations of Popular Tunes

Practicing alone on an instrument or with voice is essential for learning correct tuning and intonation. The following exercises from Schottenbauer Publishing can assist students with these tasks. 
  • Elementary Exercises: These exercises provide opportunities for beginners to practice tuning and intonation several ways. Long tones and repeated notes in Book 1 can be practiced in contrast to a computer-generated tone, honing the skill to play with correct intonation while in unison, without distortions of the pitch. Exercises in Books 2 through 6 facilitate playing intervals in tune. These can be performed with a computer-generated or tuner-generated long tone droning in the background for reference. The following exercises are available:
    • Introduction to the Series: Instructions for Practice (Sold Separately) 
    • Book 1: Long Tones & Repeated Notes (plus Natural Slurs for Flute and Brass Instruments) 
    • Book 2: Two-Note Slurs 
    • Book 3: Scales and Arpeggios 
    • Book 4: Patterns and Interval Studies 
    • Book 5: Two-Note Slurs, Eighth Note Ending 
    • Book 6: Two-Note, Long Slurs
  • Big Print Tunes: These exercises provide opportunities to practice well-known tunes in all 12 chromatic variations. Students learn basic combinations of intervals (e.g., seconds, thirds, fifths) in the context of these popular tunes, beginning on each chromatic pitch.
  • Interval Exercises: These simple exercises teach intervals in order, beginning on a common starting note. Intended both for theory exercises and either instrumental or vocal practice, they are available in treble, alto, and bass clef. Scores are accompanied by audio and MIDI files for easy reference. 
  • Interval Intonation Training: Learning to hear and play intervals correctly can be strengthened by performing discrimination tasks. In these exercises, the student plays the initial interval, plus chromatic notes immediately above and below the target note. These exercises, commonly used by band directors in the USA with no known origin, are written out here with a wide range of starting notes in various clefs.
  • Systematic Chromatic Exercises: These exercises teach correct intonation by systematically providing note patterns beginning on all chromatic pitches, from low to high notes.

4) Practice Tuning with Duets

Focusing on tuning with one other instrument or voice builds essential skills to hear intervals performed simultaneously, in tune. The following exercises from Schottenbauer Publishing can assist students with these tasks. 

  • Big Print Duets: These duets consists of exercises which focus on good tuning and intonation of basic intervals, as well as dynamics and rhythm. Audio and MIDI files of the exercises are included in the package, so students can hear the exercises with correct tuning and intonation, or practice alone with the computer performing the other part. The exercises are also accompanied by several audio files specifically for teaching tuning and for learning to hear the "beats" which are characteristic of out-of-tune unison notes. 

5) Practice Tuning with Chamber Ensembles

Practicing in small chamber ensembles, whether with similar instruments or mixed, builds essential tuning and intonation skills. In particular, students benefit from focusing on the tuning of triads, particularly with placing the third within the triad. The following exercises from Schottenbauer Publishing can assist students with these tasks. 

  • Big Print Ensemble (Exercises): Essential ensemble skills honed in these exercises include tuning, intonation, tone-passing between instruments, tone-matching exercises, dynamics, tonal balance, and rhythm skills. Audio and MIDI files of the exercises are included in the package, so students can hear the exercises with correct tuning and intonation, or practice alone with the computer performing the other parts.
  • Learning Chamber Music (Part I: Tuning Exercises): These exercises systematically provide students with opportunities to learn correct tuning and intonation. Instruments rotate through the essential notes of each chord, practicing tuning, intonation, and dynamic balance through a spectrum of note placements.

Purchase Information

The series described above are available for purchase at low prices, from $1 to $20 per unit, from Schottenbauer Publishing on the MusicaNeo platform.

Additional Information

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Interval Exercises for Flexible Instrumentation

Interval Exercises are a set of pedagogy materials which are easily adapted to multiple solo and ensemble formats, including both instrumental and vocal. Written with flexible instrumentation in treble, alto, and bass clef, these exercises show all intervals from m2 to P8, beginning below each staff and moving to notes above the staff. A sample page is located below:

Teaching both music theory and ear training skills at the same time is now easy and affordable, with these exercises at $2 each from MusicaNeo

Interval Exercises can be integrated into music education curricula from late elementary school through high school and college/university. Additional information is available on the Schottenbauer Publishing website, and from the links below. 

Additional Information

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ear Training & The Science of Music

How does knowledge of science enhance ear training? Several book series on the science of music from Schottenbauer Publishing provide an insight into the science behind music theory.

Consider the following diagrams, excerpted from Where Does Sound Come From? Volume 1 (Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved). The harmonic overtone series is described in both musical and scientific terms in the diagrams below. 

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is the science of the harmonic overtone series important for understanding theory?
  2. How can students benefit from the mathematical knowledge of the harmonic overtone series?
  3. Is the harmonic overtone series intuitive to understand? Why or why not?

The resources below provide additional sources of information for learning about harmonics and the overtone series:

Auditory Demonstration of Harmonics

Math of Harmonics & Tuning Systems

Additional Science of Music Publications

Several book series from Schottenbauer Publishing focus on the science of music. These include the following books, which contain samples from typical Western strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, and keyboard instruments, plus voice and conducting:

These educational tools can be integrated into music education curricula from late elementary school through high school and college/university. Additional information is available on the Schottenbauer Publishing website, and from the links below. A free pamphlet from the publisher is also available on the website.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Music Theory and Ear Training Resources

New theory and music education resources are available from Schottenbauer Publishing. These are the first installments in a comprehensive set of exercises which are designed to train students in essential skills through attention to details. Materials include a unique set of programmatic multimedia ear training materials, selections from The Big Print Music Method, and an eclectic set of theory exercises. A summary of each is listed below.

Multimedia Ear Training

A new and expanding multimedia series of ear training materials from Schottenbauer Publishing provides a unique perspective on auditory skills education, with a focus on five skill clusters:

  • Identifying Musical Mistakes
  • Tone Quality
  • Harmonic Overtone Series
  • Tuning & Intonation
  • Intervals

These multimedia sets expand upon traditional ear training, which usually focuses on interval identification. 

As of August 2014, introductory levels have been published within each area, with expansion materials expected in 2015. The following materials can be purchased from MusicaNeo.

Ear Training: Identifying Musical Mistakes

This series of exercises is intended to provide basic training and support for individual and group music lessons, by focusing on the skill of comparing a written score to an audio file. Students are asked to circle the mistakes, which may include pitch, intonation, rhythm, articulation, or style. 

The series titles use the following coding:  NUMBER = Number of musical instruments, LETTER = Difficulty. The series, available from MusicaNeo, will be expanded over the next 2 years to include popular works for orchestra and band.

Ear Training: Tone Quality 

Listening to tone quality is a "meta-awareness" which must be built over time. The ability of a trained music educator to identify tone quality problems, such as "droopy" note endings and "wavy" tone, may seem almost mystical to elementary students. This training program takes the mystery out of tone quality assessment, by training students upfront to discern the difference between good and bad tone quality. Students are provided with a written training program, accompanied by short audio samples of ideal and problematic tone for a variety of common band and orchestral instruments. The first installment of the series is available from MusicaNeo, and expansion levels with new sound samples are expected to be published by 2015.

Ear Training: Harmonic Overtone Series

Harmonics are a difficult concept for some students to understand, due to the math and science concepts involved.  This multimedia set contains a combination of scientific instruction, written music, and audio recordings which teach the basic concepts associated with the harmonic overtone series.

Ear Training: Tuning & Intonation

Most elementary bands and youth symphonies produce out-of-tune cacophony for months, if not years of study. Is there a simpler, quicker way of encouraging in-tune performance?  This multimedia training set aims to provide a better understanding of the concept of tuning, intonation, and auditory "beats," with a series of computer-generated audio files, plus scores with written exercises and written instruction on the topic.

Ear Training: Intervals

Focusing on the topic which is traditionally taught as "ear training," this multimedia set focuses on interval recognition.  Materials include audio files and scores with written intervals. Level 1 contains intervals from Unison to P8, and Level 2 contains intervals from P8 to P15.

Big Print Theory

The Big Print Theory Method is one component of The Big Print Music Method, a new series of elementary music education written to be accessible to all ages. Books feature oversized print, colorful diagrams, and generously-sized keyboards to illustrate concepts. The series is currently under development, with completion expected in 2015. Books are available as e-files from MusicaNeo, and in print edition from Amazon Discount Retail and CreateSpace Wholesale.

Theory: Scales, Chords, & Arpeggios

In this textbook and workbook, students can practice theory skills pictorially, with large-print keyboards and arrows. Intervals, scales, chords, and arpeggios are taught using Schoenberg's numbering system. Features include all major and minor (natural, harmonic, and melodic) scales, plus the chromatic scale, whole tone scale, pentatonic scale, the 7 modes, 12-tone row construction, serial row construction. The book includes all major and minor triads, plus an introduction to diminished, augmented, and seventh chords. (Additional books in the series are planned to teach more advanced chords and inversions.)

The textbook is accompanies by a workbook, which includes blank keyboards with ample space for testing new skills.

Regular-Print Theory

Theory: Interval Exercises

Combining theory training with systematic exercises for instruments and/or voice, this multimedia set includes scores in treble, alto, and bass clef, plus audio and MIDI files. A reasonably large range within each clef is filled with interval exercises, grouped by starting note. 

What's Missing?  Art Puzzles Volume 2: Musical Symbols

These puzzles exercise music notation reading skills with a set of 23 puzzles which challenge readers to find missing musical symbols within a random design or picture. Books are available from Amazon and CreateSpace Wholesale.


Currently, the theory and ear training materials from Schottenbauer Publishing are available at low-cost via direct download and printing from MusicaNeo. Selections are available in full-color print on high-quality paper from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, CreateSpace, and CreateSpace Wholesale, as well as other online retailers.

Additional information on the series are available from the Schottenbauer Publishing website and MusicaNeo. Preview videos are available from YouTube.