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General theory

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by CrazyArcher, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. CrazyArcher


    Aug 5, 2004
    I guess it's the right place to post this...

    The matter is that I just NEED to study more theory, and I'm asking for advise: can anyone recommend a book dedicated to it? :help: I'm not looking for book teaching me how to play, just theory.
  2. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Tonal Harmony by Stephen Koska and Dorothy Payne. Its a standard text in many colleges for Music Theory classes covering every aspect of common practice tonal harmony as used from roughly 1600-1900.
  3. I'm think there is a publication entitled "the rudiments and theory of music" which covers notation and music theory like tetrachords etc quite well...
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    You may want to consider that many theory books are not written in bass clef. Also some I have bought are heavily into classical music theory. Some others are heavily into jazz. I'm not sure what your objectives are or how technical you may want to be. You can earn a degree in music theory, but I have an idea that isn't what you are looking for at this point.

    One book you might like is "Edly's Music Theory for Practical People" by Ed Rossman. It is written for all instruments, not just piano or guitar. It is an introduction to theory book, a good first step.

    If you already have a basic understanding and would like to attempt a more advanced book, "The Jazz Theory Book' by Mark Levine is the gold standard. However, I really don't feel this book is a good theory starter book because it could be quite daunting.

    I have another quite readable and clear book on theory, but I seem to have misplaced it. Please don't be put off by the name. It is "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory" by Micheal Miller. The name does not do it justice. He also has written "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Composition" which I do not own. Miller's theory book is reader friendly but does not "talk down" to the reader.
  5. CrazyArcher


    Aug 5, 2004
    Thanks, I'll check them out soon. :) My objectives are to understand what I'm doing and to get a better edge in composing. Lately I realize that being self-taught I haven't payed attention to theory and focused on purely technical side if music. Now this blank space should be filled.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    When I took piano lessons, my teacher had me work out of a series of workbooks called Theory And Musicianship. It's based around piano, but quite frankly, I firmly believe that a little piano knowledge is essential to learning theory because of the way the keyboard is laid out right in front of you to see the notes and relationships. Most people call it "arranger's piano." You don't have to be good at it...you just have to know how it works. But the books are easy to grasp and they've got exercises that test your knowledge at every step of the way. If some of these other books seem daunting to you, check it out.
  7. Monomer


    Jul 22, 2005
    I just bought a book today

    Mel Bay's "Deluxe Jazz & Rock Bass Method" for $20 it's a steal.

    VERY well layed out, gives and increadable lesson on the circle of 5ths.
  8. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Ah, nevermind, I had missed your post as to why.

    Well, the thing about theory is that, imo, it should not be approached as a means to an end. It's supplemental to what you hear, feel, understand and know about music otherwise. I've learned a crapton of theory in the past 6 years, but ultimately, my knowledge of 'theory'(both classical and jazz) hasn't directly changed anything in my playing or the music I create. It has changed the way I listen to things, which indirectly may have had an effect on my playing/creation.

    I personally find so many people have the wrong approach to theory, and it hinders their study of it. I see it all the time when good players sit down and say "okay, time to learn THEORY", they compartmentalize it and separate it from their music, thinking like "okay, this is my MUSIC time, which is different from my THEORY time", while there is something to be said about that approach, I have seen countless players get frustrated with both aspects simply because they are going about them in a confused manner.

    Of course, it also depends on what you're actually DOING with music. If you're just playing in a couple rock bands on the weekend or something, knowing theory will most likely only be for your personal edification. If you're hanging with cats that improvise music on the fly and/or rely heavily on written music to jam to, then you'd be well off really paying attention to practical theory.

    Meh, I could probably go on with this rant for a long time. Ultimately, my point is that, you want to make sure you're approaching a desire to learn theory from the right angle, or else it is likely that you will end up flustered and/or confused and/or defeated...etc.