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"An Introduction to Harmony" by William Shield

 Collection — Volume: 1
Call Number: MS G54


Manuscript fair copy of William Shield's c. 1822 copy of "An Introduction to Harmony". This edition seems to derive from the text of 1800, but the reason or occasion for this copy is unknown. Consists of detailed descriptions and numerous examples for understanding, composing, and interpreting various types and degrees of harmony as used by Shield and other famous composers of the time. However, no explicit citations of other composer's works are made in reference to the musical examples used throughout the text.


  • Creation: approximately 1822


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.


1 volume (1 item)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This volume is divided into three parts. The first, page 1-32, is concerned with the diatonic scale, intervals, and harmonies as well as the differences between major and minor modes and functionality. The second, page 33-82, is concerned with the chromatic scale, intervals, and harmonies. Also discussed in the second part are the function and application of harmonic derivations [inversions] of triads, including seventh and ninth chords. The third, page 83-125, pertains to vocal harmonization and instrumental accompaniment as well as techniques for modulating from one key to another (page 111 contains a thorough chart of examples for modulating to every other key from C major). There is an index on the final pages, explicitly outlining each parts' main topics, points, and examples. A thorough introduction to harmony intended for beginning music students of performance or composition, this text offers a historical perspective into 19th-century musical-theoretical thought. Examples, whose authors are exluded, [see 'Preliminary Advertisment to the Second Part', page 33] yet are alluded to, to prevent prejudices based on name recognition, range from solo instrumental works to multi-voice with instrumental accompaniment scores. Thorough [figured] bass is discussed and used throughout the text.

Physical Location

MS G54

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from John Price Antiquarian Books

Guide to the William Shield manuscript
"An Introduction to Harmony", by William Shield
Finding aid prepared by pb, 2010. Finding aid encoded by pb, 2010.
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Preferred citation
William Shield, "An Introduction to Harmony", c. 1822, Department of Special Collections, MS G54, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States