Whether you are an experienced musician or perhaps a hobbyist looking to take the music of yours to a higher level, having an understanding of the fundamental principles of music theory can be an amazing help in perfecting the technique of yours. This does not have to mean spending hundreds of dollars on lessons or perhaps professional classes; there are many excellent and comprehensive music theory guides sold today which can teach you from basic scales, intervals, and rhythms to higher concepts as transposition and modes.
Which music theory text is appropriate for you are going to depend a great deal on the place you’re in your musical studies and what music type you love to play. Whether you are an entire newcomer to the idea of theory, a self taught performer hoping to get a much deeper understanding of the craft, or perhaps an experienced musician looking to fill gaps in the knowledge of yours, one of the tomes on the list below will be a great match for you. They are the four best music theory books on the market.
Music Theory for Dummies
Music Theory for Dummies is a resource for novice and intermediate students. There is plenty of challenging information to work through, though it might not be suggested by the name, and it’s presented in a succinct, well-paced manner.
- Aids in reading musical scores
- Contains a chord chart
Jazz Theory Book
Mark Levine Jazz Theory Book is the definitive text for singers and instrumentalists . It urges for ear training as a means to develop the aural skills, which opens the door to improvisation of the student.
- Studied in universities globally
- Improves sight-reading skills
- Great resource for self-teaching
The Elements of Music: Concepts and Application
In the first volume of The Elements of Music: Concepts and Application, there is a focus on understanding the relationships between harmony and melody. The author’s prose has a distinctive, vibrant lilt to it a result of his past experience in fiction writing.
- Good resource for teachers as well
- Over 500 pages without being boring
- Teaches song structure analysis
Basic Music Theory
Basic Music Theory is characterized by an encouraging and humorous writing style that makes a subject approachable. While making them appear easy, Jonathan Harnum manages to cover challenging topics.
- Writer has phd in music education
- Less expensive than many options
- Acceptable for students of any age
Hal Leonard Pocket-Sized
The Hal Leonard Pocket-Sized is a condensed reference guide that covers everything from scales and basic periods to modulation and reharmonization. It’s a great choice if you’re a beginner.
- Well-organized indicator
- Very Inexpensive
- Lacks depth for serious students
The Complete Musician
At a whopping 960 pages, The Complete Musician is a comprehensive tome. However, it breaks with traditionally nomenclature, inventing terms that may confuse pupils already versed on the subject.
- Great value for the cost
- Bloated writing obfuscates significance
- Confusing and disorganized diagrams
Theory of Harmony
Written over a century ago by one of the world’s most composers, Arnold Schoenberg’s Theory of Harmony remains a text to this day. It delivers an integrated framework for not only understanding the”how” of this musical craft, but the”why,” as well.
- Considered a scholastic masterpiece
- Shows its age sometimes
- Regular philosophizing may irritate
Theory is seldom discussed by the Tonal Harmony of stefan Kostka and once it does, it uses obscure chords that tend to perplex, rather than enhance, one’s understanding. Nonetheless, it.
- Focuses on 4-part harmony
- Helpful practice exercises
- Assumes some prior knowledge
The Jazz Theory Book
While the basics of harmony and rhythm are similar whatever genre you play in, when it involves the specific scales and chords, jazz theory can be quite different from classical theory. In case you are a rock or perhaps jazz musician who wishes to get deeper into the principle behind good improvisation, Mark Levine’s The Jazz Theory Book is the go to resource to help you up to speed.
Ideal for both advanced and intermediate players, it gives you thorough explanations of important harmonic and rhythm concepts in language that is simple to understand. Do not count on to go through this one too quickly; there is enough material here to fill up a college course, and you will wish to spend time exploring the concepts with the instrument of yours in your hand to truly get the best out of the lessons.
Alfred’s Adult All-in-One Course
Alfred’s Basic Adult All-in-One Course is designed for use with an instructor for the beginning student looking for a truly complete piano course. It is a greatly expanded version of Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course that will include lesson, theory, and technique in a convenient, “all-in-one” formula.
The word ear training refers to a musician’s ability to identify and notate aspects of music you hear. This’s not the same as perfect pitch, and that is the power to determine a certain note just by hearing it; that ability is often in born, but ear training can be taught, and is a crucial part of almost all music college curriculums.
Ear training is an invaluable skill for musicians of all genres and stripes. It helps you tune better – both with yourself and the remainder of the band – and also tends to make it easier to self assess issues with the technique of yours. It’s a particularly important skill for jazz, rock, and various other improvising musicians. Having the ability to properly hear the chords being played may be a terrific help in case you actually get lost in the changes. Good ear training also tends to make it much easier to enjoy the melodic solo lines you are hearing in the mind of yours and also allows you to establish much more complex lines that span across chord changes. With sufficient practice, you will have the ability to determine the lines your bandmates play, which makes you a more collaborative musician.
If you have never studied ear training, the most effective music theory book should therefore include a CD, like Alfred’s Essentials book (see full specs). It can easily be intimidating to begin trying to train your ear using pre recorded solos and even on the fly during rehearsals and jam sessions. An excellent ear training course is going to start you off with something simpler, like identifying intervals, slowly working you up to hearing stacked harmonies and chords. As with many things in music, attentive and frequent practice will be the key.
Many musicians who’re self taught learned by ear and have developed strong ear training skills; for them, the challenge is in figuring out the written notation and understanding the why behind what sounds good and what does not. A more affordable and much more small book like the Hal Leonard (see full specs) above will be a far more effective way to obtain the info you need. Good luck!