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book love: modus novus // 11


Welcome to the 11th instalment of Book Love: a series in which I tell you all about the resources, guides, and inspirational books that I love. Today’s book is Modus Novus: Studies in reading atonal melodies by Lars Edlund.

Modus Novus is an atonal sight-singing textbook with instructions in Swedish, German, and English. It was first recommended to me by guitarist René Gely, my friend and collaborator from the Ottawa area. The first time I attempted to work from Modus Novus it was so unfamiliar and scary that I closed the book and put it back on the shelf for another year.


In May of 2012 I attended the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music at the Banff Centre in Alberta. At the time the program was led by Dave Douglas. In the mornings the group would get together and sight sing from Bach Chorales and Modus Novus. He told us that sight singing and Modus Novus were an invaluable part of of his musical training and something that every musician should work towards mastering.

From then on I got over my fear of Modus Novus and continue to work through it over a year and half later. I use this book and Lars Edlund’s tonal sight singing book, Modus Vetus, with nearly all of my students.


That’s it for Book Love // 11. Let me know what you’re reading in the comments. You can check out the last post in the series, The Jazz Piano Book, or see all of my book recommendations on the Book Love index page.

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Renée is a queer, non-binary, disabled, and chronically ill creator based in Montreal. They are a singer, songwriter, pianist, YouTuber, and Periscoper. They are currently a student of jazz studies at Mcgill University and a freelance vocal coach for young and emerging singers.

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