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Peer Review

Music Theory and History Online

by Brian Blood


Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 3.3 stars
Ease of Use: 3.7 stars
Reviewed: Jun 28, 2006 by Music
Overview: Music Theory and History Online is a highly detailed reference source for
information in music history and theory. Music theory sections cover most basic topics including clef identification, staff identification, pitch notation,
chromatic harmony, and musical instrument fingering charts. The music history
section contains two sections on 16th century and one on 19th, and 20th century. 17th and 18th century are currently under construction. The composition and orchestration section links to sites by Alan Belkin which have already been featured on MERLOT.
Type of Material: Reference material.
Recommended Uses: Support and reinforcement material for undergraduate music theory and history students.
Technical Requirements: Requires a browser and a "Scorch" plug-in. Computer requires multimedia
Identify Major Learning Goals: Reference site for undergraduate music theory and history majors.
Supplimental information for music theory and history courses.
Target Student Population: Advanced high school and undergraduate music theory and history students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Freshmen level music theory and history suggested although the site contains
many links within topics which could help with terminology.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Very large site with a comphrehensive fact based approach to music history and
theory. Reviewers randomly checked information for accuracy and found it to be
Concerns: The quality of the information presented appears to be strong and factual.
Includes references to outside sources.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.3 stars
Strengths: The information is well organized and cross referenced. The site is so extensive that teachers would need to set parameters for the students by designating certain areas or topics. The inclusion of both visual and aural representation adds to the effectiveness of the site.
Concerns: Content is strong but presentation and writing style does not offer continuous
historical perspective. Within a topic information is not easily retainable due
to the factual, highly-expository writing style. Extensive use of text might be simplied with bullets or explanation links.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3.7 stars
Strengths: The large site contains concise organized pods of information which allow for
relatively quick reference of information. Information is linked to other support materials.
Concerns: Some technical difficulties downloading required plug-in and organization is
overwhelming at first, however, once those obstacles are overcome the site is
easy to navigate.

Other Issues and Comments: The site is an enormous undertaking on the part of the author and the scope of
the project is impressive. If the intention is to use it as a reference tool in conjunction with a project or educational experience which provides historical
perspective, the site provides outstanding opportunities for educational
enrichment. As with any reference tool, the fact based writing style and text
based descriptions would likely be detrimental to the educational success of
most students if used as a stand alone resource.

Creative Commons:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States