"Techniques of the Contemporary Composer" represents at once an updating, an elaboration, and a pedagogically-oriented codification of material presented by David Cope in previous books such as New Directions in Music. It is a useful resource if only for the novelty of the large amount and variety of techniques and issues addressed in the space of a single text. Though a worthy addition to a contemporary music library, "Techniques of the Contemporary Composer" contains a number of serious flaws which prevent it from being a truly authoritative source. The most grievous is the fact that Cope composes his own musical examples rather than reprinting excerpts from other composers' works. Though potentially useful in the study of composition and relevant disciplines such as notational/performance practice, it should not be adhered to as an authoritative classroom text. In addition, it should be supplemented generously with the original scores of the works whose techniques Cope addresses.
Weisser, Benedict (1998) Review of David Cope, Techniques of the Contemporary Composer (New York: Schirmer Books, 1997). In: Music Theory Online, Vol. 4, pp. np. Available at https://openmusiclibrary.org/article/85371/.