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Book V. Suggestions for making it interesting

So far I have found my EIS study to be interesting and rewarding. The other week I received books 5&6, and I am rather disappointed looking over the content of book 5. The whole thing seems like a step back, or even a few steps back in its sophistication. Book 6 looks interesting. Essentially I just want to skip book 5 and go right to 6.

I am wondering, does anyone have any words of inspiration ? Did you get anything out of book 5 ? I played through a number of the student examples and they all seem so pedestrian. The composing from patterns seems vaguely interesting, but all the others seem like it is covered out of obligation and not very inspired ? I would love to be wrong about this. I am trying to muster up the motivation do these exercises, but wonder why when there are so many glorious diatonic passages from traditional theory books. So far there seems no way to compare these with the examples of Beethoven, Brahms and the other "Usual Suspects"

Anyhow, just looking to vent.


Senior Member
Hi, Doug!

I share your vent, brotha!! I finished Book 5 last year, and I remember "complaining" to Craig the following:

I felt that during the first couple of chapters, my composing took a "step back", because I was trying to now compose in that traditional roman numeral style that I learnt in college (and hated!), and that this was a slower, less organic way of composing than what I had learnt in EIS, books 2-4.

Craig had a great set of comments about this book. First, he said, that the first couple of chapters were to show the student, if he needed to, how to use EIS to compose in "common practice" style, and that EIS included all of traditional diatonic harmony.

Second, he said that that also showed that EIS composing is much faster and more intuitive than using diatonic rules.

So, I took book 5 (FIRST HALF) as "okay, if I need to compose a Haydn or Bach or Mozart'y piece, I can do it fast, and make it sound right." Once I put that mindset in place, the first 6-8 lessons became fun for me, as I was basically writing little baroque dance tunes.

And, as a video game composer, that's a good skill to have.

HOWEVER, Doug, once you get halfway through book V (to Section VA), it gets AWESOME.

Basically, once Spud gets you through the diatonic stuff, he then brings back Books 2-4 of EIS into the "diatonic world", and then you start working on composing from EIS patterns in the diatonic world, and (my single favorite lesson), the "Sequences" lesson in Book 5.

So, about halfway through the book, you suddenly start plugging in EIS into diatonicism, and you start flying through your compositions, and it's awesome.

So, in summation:

1. I agree with you, and feel your pain. The first half of book 5 feels like a step back.
2. It's definitely useful, and helps me when I want to do baroque'y/classical stuff fast.
3. The second half of book 5 is awesome, and for me, it made me really feel like a composer in EIS.
4. I think book 5 shows that composing with EIS terminology is much faster and more fun than using diatonic theory, and it also shows that you can use EIS to navigate diatonic composition faster and more sure-footedly than traditional composition structures.

Stay the course, Doug, the second part of book 5 is eye-opening and a ton of fun!


Leandro Gardini

Senior Member
EIS touch on many subjects about composition, so you won't be satisfied all the time if you are looking for something more specific. Actually book V is not one step back if you explore it with the previous material learned in the course.

Craig Sharmat

Book V is probably most students least favorite book as most students already had this stuff in college. That said if one was not well versed in traditional harmony then V could be quite useful. As Spud said this is a crash course in traditional harmony and he quickly starts doing interesting stuff after the first few lessons. The course is quite thorough and w/o Book V that would not be the case.


Active Member
I found Book V just the opposite. I found traditional harmony in school not only boring but counterproductive with what I was already exploring musically. Despite really good teachers my undergrad (in music composition) theory was a slog that lasted 3+ years. In Book V I found Spud creating a way to create a diatonic sound that made since without arbitrary rules. In VA it really started to fly. In Book VI, well, VI has to be experienced to be believed...

And for the record, I am on the final lesson of Book VI right now.



Senior Member
Hi, Richard!

I definitely agree with book VA and beyond being eye-opening and awesome! And, I liked book V, because it is a much better way of composing diatonic music. For me, it seemed to point more towards traditional classical composing (roman numeral, etc).

And, Book VI is awesome!

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