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The Sight Reader's Compendium is a collection of musical themes from the standard orchestral repertoire, arranged key by key to provide a book of sight reading material, material which is real music rather than contrived exercises.
A few of the themes might be known, others might appear familiar, but the majority will be quite new to most students. Yet whether reading familiar or new themes it is important that the student makes the music come alive by attention to tempo, phrasing and dynamics - as indicated, rather than as imagined or as heard in the memory.
The chapters are arranged in semitone order starting from C major, moving from major to minor in each pitch name. The excerpts are given numbers only, so that they player must read the part rather than play what he expects to see from a given title. However, the contents index at the back of the book lists the sources in numerical order so that items can be identified after reading.
Most of the melodies are within the range of an an octave and a sixth from middle C.
The extracts are also useful as transposition tests and as harmonization exercises for keyboard players.