The Directory of Classical Themes, Paperback Book

The Directory of Classical Themes Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Have you ever had a classical tune buzzing round your head and not been able to identify it?

In The Directory of Classical Themes, with no greater musical knowledge than the ability to hum the tune, you will be able to find it.

Denys Parsons discovered that the only necessary feature to distinguish any number of different themes was the up-and-down pattern of the melody.

This enabled him to compile a reference work that is incredibly easy to use. Practically every well-known classical theme from the 16th century onwards is found in these pages. It can be used to find the composer, identify the theme and movement of a sonata, symphony or concerto and to check the opus number or key of a work you already know.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Theory of music & musicology
  • ISBN: 9780749951788



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.

Review by

Ever had a tune running around your head that you can't identify? This extraordinary book will solve your problem. All you have to do is to hum the tune noting the relationship of each note with its predecessor - Up, Down or Repeat - and write down the first fifteen or so notes. The intervals are unimportant, only the direction of the tune, up or down. You then look up the line of code (the very first note is denoted by an asterisk * ). So, *UDURD URDUU DD gives you 'Libiamo, libiamo' the drinking song, Brindisi, from the first act of La Traviata. The collection of themes is very comprehensive, although based on <i>The Gramophone</i> catalogue of recorded music in the mid-1970s. The book, which carries an introduction by the splendid Bernard Levin, was first published in 1975 but has been out of print for years until this reprint. It must have a place on the shelves of any classical music enthusiast.