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Best Theroy book

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by beelzelboss, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. I've been playing for a few years, and want to konw what is the best Theory book, not so much playing styles, but just how to learn theory (sheet music) and scales, arpeggios, and all of that kind of stuff.. I am willing to a get a few!


  2. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    "Edly's Music Theory for Practical People" http://www.edly.com/

    I like it because he doesn't assume you know how to read notation, nor that you know the keyboard. He also uses examples from pop, rock, jazz, folk, and world musics instead of just classical. Best, his diagrams are exactly like what I used to write out by hand decades ago when I was teaching regularly.

  3. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine is excellent. There is enough material in the book to keep you busy the rest of your life.
  4. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    +1 Great book, but if a theory noob might want to start with a simpler book.
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
  6. Has anyone here got the Bass Grimoire? I've got the guitar version and it's very comprehensive. Any comments on the bass version?
  7. TheShreddingE


    May 4, 2008
    Well I'm not sure how relevant it is, but Slap it is buy far, the best i have tried. It is fun easy, and you can make some great music
  8. I have the Bass Grimoire.... It has every scale in ever mode and all that stuff, but it doesn't go into too much detail about actual music theory.
  9. Rudreax


    Jun 14, 2008
    New York, NY
    Yeah, it's more like a giant chord chart compressed into a book, and with chords replaced with scales. It's pretty useful if you want to learn a new scale, though.
  10. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Reading any book in the "Grimoire" series and expecting to become an expert in music theory is like reading the dictionary and expecting to become an expert in literature.
  11. Cool, thanks for your help guys.
  12. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's an interesting reference, but I wouldn't call it a instructional book. I mainly use it as source of new ideas. Scan thru it for a scale to experiment with.
  13. I got the Guitar Grimoire as a birthday pressie a few months ago and it's very much as you describe so I thought the bass version would be similar, but confirmation is good to have. Sounds interesting, might look into getting it after Christmas and NYE when I don't have cash tied up...
  14. I remain a fan of Elementary Harmony by Robert W. Ottman. It does help to be able to read notation at an elementary level to use the book; but, for those who don't, the book covers basic notation in the first chapter. For players who don't read music notation and want to learn theory, plan on learning some basic notation if you are going to use a book. I believe Ottman will still be valuable to you, but you will spend more time--though you will learn a lot--in the first chapter.

    Like most long-standing books on music theory, Elementary Harmony is geared toward classical music; but it's done using the simplest possible examples, so the elements are understandable even if you don't plan to analyze many Bach chorales.

    The real strength of this book, IMO, is it's completeness. It was a music theory textbook for me in both high school and college and now, decades later, it is my go-to reference work on music theory when I have a new question (heaven knows I've never forgotten anything over the years :rolleyes:).

    I haven't used the newer editions which have accompanying workbooks and CDs available; but both those items should make the text significantly more accessible by itself (i.e., outside the classroom). New copies can be expensive, but if you search the 'net, there are discount outlets and high-quality used copies available at significant savings.

    Bluesy Soul :cool:
  15. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    The theory book I devoured in college was a dowbnloadable text file I found in an FTP search...now posted in web freindly HTML:

    Marc Sabatella's Jazz Improvisation Primer

    no notation or keyboard diagrams... just plain English explanations of Modes, scales, chord progressions, as well as Jazz specific stuff like history and suggested listening of various styles (swing/bop/cool/fusion etc)

    between that and my Pops being Jazz gui****, I never looked elsewhere for theory info.

    I had the Bass grimoire at one point, it is not a useful theory reference.
  16. My former teacher ( world renown) recommended Theory and Harmony by Wyatt and Schroeder. He's the guy from Peanuts, yes? ;)
  17. thanks. so i think i'm going to get the one by ottman. that looks like it will cover... everything. Now i have one more question, what do you think is the best book for like technique, strengthening, and and like all of that stuff. any ideas?

  18. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I wish Carl Schroeder wrote more books. His composition class was great and he's a great improv teacher.
  19. bass_dna


    Jun 11, 2011
    i have always though that maby geting just a musical theory book like perhaps the idiots guide to music theory pretty much takes u through every part of theory and compliment tht with a bass cords ,arpeggios and scales book that u can use as a refferance as u play in a band at rehearsals the book i use is mel bay,s deluxe bass chords, arpeggios and scales this helps me to come up with ideas as im no theory guiness:) but definatly try the first book i suggested to learn the langauge and the second to revise :) hope this helps

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