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Best method/books for learning music theory?


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This is something that to me is not up for discussion. THE BEST heory book in existence for all genres of music is:


The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine (Sher Publishing)


BEST THEORY BOOK WHICH ADDRESSES EVERYTHING THERE IS TO ADDRESS!!

 

This statement couldn't be more correct! _ I only recently found this book and it is exactly to me as meganutt says here. It is my hands down pick for "if there was only ever one theory book in existence"

 

get it

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Bookmarked! I watched this one and then went to the site. Frankly, this is what I've been looking for (not so much the videos (which are good nonetheless), but the approach toward understanding the instrument). I spent 2 years slogging through the first 3 Mel Bay Method books with a masters degreed teacher, which wasn't as productive as I'd hoped it would be. I studied Fretboard Logic on my own and found it to be an interesting look at the fretboard, but not especially useful toward playing the instrument. I have and have studied the Tom Kolb

theory book, which was ok. I have a few more books also.

 

For the last couple of years I've spent my time memorizing the fretboard, getting a grip on chord structure and how intervals map out, ingraining the pentatonic patterns, and just playing whatever,,, thinking I would improve my ear. I've been making progress (somewhat slowly), but these videos put together a lot of what I've been formulating in my mind.

 

Bravo!

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Hey, kyp, this is really fascinating. Can you elaborate, share some pointers to the pages that really worked for you on this site?

 

I watched this video (or at least, part 1 of it) and absolutely hated it. I thought it was the worst teaching video I've seen, pretty much. I looked around the site, and found excellent 2-camera-view covers of material, which are great for figuring out songs, but not much more. I feel like there must _be_ more to it, but I just didn't find it or don't get it.

 

It's a popular site, from what I can see. I'm genuinely curious to learn about what makes it work for you...

 

GaJ

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Heh. Well, I rate myself as quite awful as a guitar player and student...

 

I've only watched 3 videos, but I think this fellow's explanations are a good match for where I am and how I want to understand what I want to do on guitar,,, currently.

 

In the second "20 min" video he shows the basic chordal structure of Little Wing, and how each embellishment to a chord is within the recipe of matching the correct pentatonic scale with the chord. I suppose this is a simplification of the overall task of learning how to match scales (and modes) to chords, but like I said, I think this approach is a good fit for my current understanding, which in a nutshell is that I have a pretty good grasp on the layout of the fretboard, and a pretty good beginner-level understanding of theory.

 

[YOUTUBE]7w5-Tm5LRHA[/YOUTUBE]

 

I don't yet spend much time on guitar learning songs. Mostly I work pentatonic patterns all over the fretboard and interweave chords, and vice versa. Frankly, I'm not working that hard on mastering the instrument, I just have fun messing around, and I do want to understand music/guitar better.

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wow.....that vid was part 2 of a 20 minute lesson on how to play guitar???

 

 

If I'd seen that 5 years I'd of quit!

 

Don't get me wrong...... I understood everything he said. But it doesn't seem to me that THAT is how most people learn it.

 

Sometimes I gotta wonder if Hendrix himself would have analyzed things that way as he was playing/composing or he just had simply trained his ear and fretboard knowledge to the point where he KNEW where things SOUNDED good.

 

I'm not the player I would like to be and at this point I need to go back and take lessons...finding an instructor that matches up well with a student can be hit or miss though.

 

I have a fair knowledge of getting around the fretboard .... and generally can find the key of a song and then I usually try the pentatonic scale at that fret ...if it doesn't seem right I'll drop back 3 frets and see if that sounds right. I understand the CAGED system and generally am comfortable in several positions of the pentatonic scale once I find the Ist position. I am starting to understand modes based off the Major scale......but don't have the patterns under my fingers yet at all ....and that would have to precede me actually using them and seeing where they sound good. Most of my playing is done along to classic rock and blues on Slacker radio....I ain't much for learning things note for note and I want to get better at picking out a melody instead of just playing along to stuff.....I don't know it seems like a lot of folks around here don't like to learn by patterns and boxes but getting around in the various pentatonic positions is what's helped me along this far and that's just from learning the 5 positions of the pentatonic and playing along to songs with them.

 

How else can one learn?

 

ps.....I started playing at 14 or so and took lessons for maybe 1.5 years or so....2 different instructors ....the first was a Mel Bay method man......the 2nd was a "bring me in a song and we'll work on it" type.....didn't have a great ear like some folks who seem born to it......played off and on but never seriously for the next 15 years(more off than on I think!) ....then there was a 10 year break before I got back into it about 6 years ago....Now I play all the time...but I wonder if I'll ever progress much farther than I already have.

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I don't know about the best, but I like Leavitt's Modern Method for Guitar. I don't guess it's very Modern anymore, but there is a lot of useful info there. I've been trying to work through them on my own for years, and have only made it about halfway through book #2. I still go back to book one all the time, though for chord forms that I didn't quite understand at the time and have a better feel for now.

 

Mark Wein's site has a lot of good stuff as well.

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Leavitt's books are great no question. But I think of that more as a learning to read book as opposed to pure theory. Good recommendation though : )

 

You're right of course. But for me, it's easier to learn the theory in combination with some exercises or some sort of application. The Leavitt books probably aren't for everyone, but personally I've probably learned more from them than any other single source. No matter what I'm working on, I always seem to go back to them, and am hoping to make it all the way to the end of book 3 somday!

 

Thanks Jeremy!

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Well, I bought the Levine Jazz Theory book as a result of the discussion in this thread. I think it is an excellent book, and it has some excellent material in it I had been aware of. It has many new ideas and concepts I'll be working over for some time. Yet I feel it is incomplete. I think Ted Greene's criminally neglected (in this thread that is) "Chord Chemistry" should be used as a companion volume to Mark Levine's book.

 

Most of what I know of theory comes from Greene's book and "The Jazz Language" by Dan Hearle.

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