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Friday, May 19, 2006

Dictionary of Musical Themes

Barlow and Morgenstein's classic 1948 work is available online. Frustrated at the time, or probably bored during the war, Barlow and Morgenstein wanted a resource that indexed the works of the most important classical composers. What they came up with was sheer genius, in that it not only was a textual catalogue, but also a musical one - all the works listed quoted the main theme from each movement.

On the internet this is even more useful. You can punch in the first five notes of any theme, and the interface returns a list of works with that theme. Click on the piece, and it plays the first few bars for you!

Sheer wizardry, 10 000 themes to browse forever, here.