Recommended Readings – Conducting

Score Reading

  • J.S. Bach, Chorales 1-91, selected and edited by Charles N. Boyd and Albert Riemenschneider. New York: Schirmer Books, 2013.
    organized from easy to difficult, open C clef reading
  • Robert A. Melcher and Willard F. Warch, Music for Score Reading. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1971.
    out of print but you might find a copy at your local library; very well-written and organized from easy to difficult; use real orchestral excerpts as exercise
  • R. O. Morris and Howard Ferguson, Preparatory Exercises in Score Reading. London, Oxford University Press, 1931.
    also widely used with exercises organized from easy to difficult; use arrangements as exercises

Orchestration / Instrumentation

  • Adler, Samuel. The Study of Orchestration. 3rd Edition. W.W. Norton, 2002.
    very comprehensive, a great resource book.
  • Blatter, Alfred, Instrumentation and Orchestration. 2nd Edition. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997.
    contains more modern techniques (especially extended techniques) explanation, and detailed charts on string harmonics
  • Del Mar, Norma, Anatomy of the Orchestra. Berkeley : University of California Press, 1987.
    an older book with really useful info and insights into how composers used instruments in a particular way
  • Excellent Instrumentation Demonstration:
  • String Webinars offered by violist and conductor Jebat Kee
  • Elizabeth A.H. Green Orchestral Bowings. Alfred Music, 2010.

Historical Treatise on Instrumentation

  • Berlioz, Hector, Richard Strauss, and Theodore Front. Treatise on Instrumentation. New York: Edwin F. Kalmus, 1948.
    Full Text on imslp
    Extracts on the Berlioz Website
  • Berlioz. Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary. Edited by Hugh Macdonald. Cambridge Musical Texts and Monographs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolay. Principles of Orchestration. Dover Publications, 2013.
    Full Text on imslp

Conducting Textbook:

  • Rudolf, Max. The Grammar of Conducting. 3rd Edition. NY: Schirmer, 1994.
  • Prausnitz, Frederick. Score and Podium: a Complete Guide to Conducting. NY: W.W. Norton, 1983.
  • Green, Elizabeth. The Modern Conductor. 6th Edition. NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1997.
  • Farberman, Harold. The Art of Conducting Technique. Miami, Warner Bros. Publications, 1997.
  • Meier, Gustav. The Score, the Orchestra, and the Conductor. New York, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Books about Conducting/Conductor (but not textbook):

  • Wagner, Richard, and Edward Dannreuther. On Conducting = (Ueber Das Dirigiren): a Treatise on Style in the Execution of Classical Music. London: W. Reeves, 1887.
  • Galkin, Elliott W. A History of Orchestral Conducting in Theory and Practice. Stuyvesant, New York, Pendragon Press, 1988.
  • Schuller, Gunter. The Compleat Conductor. New York, Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Wittry, Diane. Beyond the Baton. New York, Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Bowen, Antonio. The Cambridge Companion to Conducting. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • Brown, Emily Freeman. A Dictionary for the Modern Conductor. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015.
  • Gibson, Mark. The Beat Stops Here: Lessons on and Off the Podium for Today’s Conductor. 2017.

Symphonic Literature:

  • Carse, Adam. The History of Orchestration. Minneapolis, MN: Dover, 2012.
    a nice book about the history or orchestra and orchestrational methods, very interesting read
  • Stedman, Preston. The Symphony, 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Printice-Hall Publications, 1992.
    a very nice read, details the development of the symphonic genre with analysis of major symphonies
  • Steinberg, Michael. The Symphony: A Listener’s Guide. Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Steinberg, Michael. The Concerto: A Listener’s Guide. Oxford University Press, 2000.
    these two books by Michael Steinberg read more like concert program notes, but they provide nice info on the background of the composition and bibliographical materials on the composers
  • Weiss, Piero, and Richard Taruskin. Music in the Western World: A History in Documents. Australia: Schirmer Cengage Learning, 2008.
    not really about symphonic literature only, but Taruskin and Piero collected and edited original texts from the composers’ time. It’s rare to read so many source readings with commentary.
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