G Major Music Theory


 This site consolidates my work in Music Theory. Each set of pages grew out of a need in my own teaching. When I first started at the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), I could not find a textbook appropriate for my high school students. My idea, which developed into the workbooks available here, was to teach fundamentals with a transition, in small step by step increments, to first year Schenkerian-influenced college theory.

Then, when I started teaching my AP course, I had a hard time with two areas: I had never taught and could not find materials to teach harmonic dictation or contextual listening. Although there were a few computer programs to help with harmonic dictation, I could not find anything which reflected my idea of systematically expanding phrases from 3 to 10 chords. Hence my harmonic dictation pages. Worse, I could not find anything at all on contextual listening, which is a significant portion of the AP test. This aural analysis of "real music," as I called it, inspired me to find and organize short excerpts of live music which isolate various theoretical concepts.

A copyright attorney has advised me that these excerpts are legal to post. First, they are so short that they are hardly a satisfying musical experience in themselves, and since my students often ask what the piece was that they had just heard and since they then go to the trouble of writing down the name, I have come to the conclusion that these excerpts actually encourage the purchase of commercial recordings. Second, these excerpts are clearly for educational purposes only. And finally I have decided to restrict my excerpts to well known compositions in the public domain. Teachers should feel free to download this music.

Sheet music pages were added later, almost as an afterthought. I had always enjoyed writing short arrangements of familiar songs for my piano students, and I thought that as long as I had already gone through the trouble of writing them out, and as long as I already had a web site, why not share my music with other teachers and their students. To my great surprise, the sheet music pages became very popular and I was encouraged to add to them frequently. For over a year now, I have been adding one or two original arrangements every month.


photo of Gilbert DeBenedetti I taught Music Theory at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and at the Pittsburgh High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). As a result of my (Advanced Placement) Music Theory course at CAPA, I was chosen to be a Reader and a member of the Development Committee for the AP exam. I am indebted to Janet Waanders and Brent Sandene at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for nominating me for this committee, and to my committee chairs, Jane Clendinning and Pat McCreless for their advice and encouragement. Their faith in my abilities has inspired much of my work in Music Theory Pedagogy.

My workshops in AP Music Theory granted continuing education credit to teachers. Most recently I led week-long workshops at Manhattan College's Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI) and expect be doing so for the foreseeable future. Sign up with the College Board.

I also taught piano privately and a class piano course at Pitt Greensburg. I have published numerous compositions for beginning pianists and have presented several papers on teaching piano. My Free Piano Music! pages contain downloads of original arrangements for piano, and attracts thousands of visitors daily.

Sometimes these visitors ask why I am so generous to offer these arrangements for free. I usually answer that arranging pieces for beginning pianists is a hobby of mine which I enjoy doing anyway. But the reason for the free pages on this site is a little different. I consider these pages to be like a professional publication. Scholars do not publish articles, or even books usually, for the money. After all, scholarly publications hardly pay anything at all. Instead, they publish because they enjoy doing the research, they are in a publish-or-perish obsessed institution, and because they like to see their name out there in front of their colleagues--they like the fame. Well, fortunately I have been spared the publish or perish culture of universities, but I do very much enjoy doing the research, and, I confess, the fame is good for my ego as well.

Anyhow, to wrap up I should mention that I earned a Master of Arts Degree in Composition and Music Theory at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to this I earned two Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees at Carnegie-Mellon University, one in Composition and one in Music Education, and a Master's degree in Psychology.

Contact: Email me at gildebened "at" gmail "dot" com (the quotes are to fool spammers). Please do not use my Pitt address.