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Best music theory book for learning?

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  • Best music theory book for learning?

    I looked up Tonal Harmony, and I don't get it. What is that book about? I have this college book called Music Fundamentals or something, and it's like about 200 pages teaching all the basics of music theory, and I'm just wondering what kind of music theory book like Tonal Harmony has over 700 pages of stuff in it. Like what is there to go over? I didn't imagine there was much more to teach about music theory. It seems there's two types of that book on amazon.com. One's the newest book with the close-up of a violin on it, and then there's a workbook. A few descriptions were about how it's a teaching guide for teachers, yet people recommend it as a good theory book to learn from.

    So like, is it a good book to learn from, or what? If not, what book should I get in terms of the best music theory book to learn from?

    Also, if it helps, I'm a guitar player. So yea if there are any good big ass books that specifically teach me music theory in a way that relates more to guitar playing... like scale shapes, mode shapes, chords, voicings, altered tunings, picking techniques, how to know what fingers to put on the frets when playing (this would especially help for shredding and hard fingerpicking), uh.... stuff like that.

    So yea, music theory and guitar method books, what are the best ones, and what is Tonal Harmony about and what are its CDs about?

  • #2
    Come on I know most of you guys have at least one theory book in your house that you learn or have learned from. Don't leave me hanging here!


    • #3
      i've used the tonal harmony book (kostka-payne) in college and i think its a great book for theory.

      If your a total beginner it goes over early material decently but id suggest other resources if you cant spell chords or scales.

      this book is focused on classical harmony. Don't be disuaded by that. You can learn a lot from this material since it is such a good basis in harmony.

      If you are looking for something closer to jazz/pop harmony then maybe look into the Berklee texts for harmony 1-4 or the jazz theory book. However the Berklee books are dense and a very difficult read. You will have to memorize every sentence to keep moving on through all of the books. they are cheap though. and if you can find the older editions online somewhere, use them instead.

      i wouldn't advise getting a book correlating the guitar with harmony. most of them do not cover enough material. If youre loooking for scale fingerings, you can find that in other books. When you figure out how to spell scales and find all of the notes on the fretboard, you can start to solve a lot of your own problems and begin teaching yourself


      • #4
        I have not read Tonal Harmony however there is a two volume book series called Shaping of the Musical Elements which is along the same lines. The whole set is about 1000 pages and covers just about every classical musical theory you could think of. Its a college text book set... Very cool books but expensive $120 each new. (I got mine used for $29 each). I already had a good understanding of basic theory when I started into these books but they really expanded my understanding of theory and the relationship between Harmony and Melody. If you really want to know your stuff read this book series... (Tonal Harmony seems to be right along the same lines.)

        What might even be more helpful is if you can get your hands on the Berklee Harmony 1-3 Workbooks... They're great. You can only get them from the Berklee book store (this may not be true anymore you might be able to get them online now but I'm not sure). This series is only a couple of hundred pages (not even) but very informative. The topics in this series is more Jazz Theory while the other series is all classical theory.
        <div class="signaturecontainer">For all you need to know about guitar.... <a href="http://www.GuitarKnowledgeNet.com" target="_blank">www.GuitarKnowledgeNet.com</a><br />
        <br />
        Just a couple of things you might be interested in:<br />
        <font size="2"><a href="http://www.guitarknowledgenet.com/progression_builder.php" target="_blank">Chord Progression Genereator</a><br />
        <a href="http://www.guitarknowledgenet.com/sit_scale_select.php" target="_blank">Guitar Scales</a> (Major, Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, and Blues In Tab for every key)<br />
        <a href="http://www.guitarknowledgenet.com/member_profile.php?profile_id=2" target="_blank">My GKN User Profile</a> (Set up your own <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/thumb.gif" border="0" alt="" title="thumbs up" class="inlineimg" /> )<br />


        • #5
          Couple things that are requisite.
          Familiarity with the genre. General theory simply describes music. Classical music is still the best example of musical organization. Etc...

          Thinking cap. Brilliant minds have been at composition for hundreds of years. Wrapping your head around this stuff will be a stretch.
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