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Can anybody recommend some good books on Music Theory?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Can anybody recommend some good books on Music Theory?
DallasKnight
Hey, as the title states im looking for some recommendations for good books covering an overview of music theory? If they are related to electronic music composition then even better. Ive played guitar from an early age so know basic stuff but I was never tought and I would like to improve my songwirting ability primarily for electronic based music

Also looking for books on the science of drum rhytym if anybody has a recommendation? not really interested in the 'this is how you make a EDM beat' style book, im more interesting in ethnic/evolving/complex drums
Koekepan
Depending on how basic you mean, there's a Dummies book on music theory, that's supposedly a pretty good introduction.

https://www.amazon.com/Music-Theory-Dummies-Michael-Pilhofer/dp/111899 0943/

Also, if you're trying to get to different kinds of music, what you really want is a book on musicology. There are a couple that you might consider. The standard text for western music is Crocker's A History of Musical Style but another good one (different emphasis) is Decomposition by Andrew Durkin.

That's a solid start, anyhow.
DallasKnight
hello

Thanks for your reponse

Ended up finding this theory book as a bundle being sold at a good price so got it

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Theory-Computer-Musicians-Michael-Hewitt/dp/1 598635034

As for your other suggestions, I wasn't after that sort of thing, I was looking for books specifically on ryhthm or the science of rhythm rather, but thanks anyway that Decompositon book looks interesting
Muzone
For rhythm "science" try Creating Rhythms by Stefan and Richard Hollos (fairly brief overview in easy to read chunks) or for more meat look into The Geometry of Musical Rhythm by Godfried Toussaint, still pretty easy going but a lot more depth.....
DallasKnight
Thankyou

They look great! will be ordering both them
ignatius
https://www.amazon.com/dp/069209329X/?coliid=I15YSCHP8DDWGS&colid=1O4W O8NBID41B&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Quote:
Music Theory for Electronic Music Producers: The producers guide to harmony, chord progressions, and song structure in the MIDI grid.
nbirnel
https://www.amazon.com/Understandable-Guide-Music-Theory-Musicians/dp/ 1884365000

I love this book. It's short and clear.
felixer
depends on which theory you mean. plenty of books on western counterpoint/harmony. all are basically saying the same thing as that theory is set. depends on you which on you like. go to a good musicshop and look around.
there are also plenty of books on indian music theory, which is a very wide field, but i'm assuming you don't mean that.
for advanced (western) theory i can recommend the books by stockhausen. esp parts 2 and 4 are very usefull. but only in german afaik. you can get them at the stockhausen verlag in germany. esp part 4 goes into electronic music with his famous lecture about 'the four criteria'. there are also dvd's with several lectures in english, since he gave 'm in england, early 70ies. some of these lectures can be found on utoob. pften analasys of his own pieces. the 'four criteria' lecture is there too.
and then there is the book by nicolas slonimsky about 'scales and melodic patterns'. very systematic but more a book about ideas then anything else. coltrane and holdworth are among the better known followers.
unfortunatly very few books start at the beginning: how did we end up with this 12 tones/octave. and base things on the overtone range. you can compose all day long without knowing that but if you want to go further you do need to know.
oh, and for stochastic music there is the book by iannis xenakis. but you need a good basis in mathematics for that. after all he was an engineer/architect and not a musician.
and there are the books by john cage. nothing much to do with classical theory, more a series of stories. but fun and usefull for mentality about modernistic music. he was the way-bearer for guys like eno etc.
Blingley
Jean-Philippe Rameau: Treatise on Harmony reduced to its natural principles

Arnold Schoenberg: Fundamentals of Musical Composition

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony

Schoenberg is the one that probably gets you up to speed the fastest. Tchaikovsky really gets you to the point where you can make use of the entire harmonic space. On the other hand, it is not as clearly or systematically laid out as some other options, if that is something of a requirement - for use as a pedagogical tool or in a classroom environment, Korsakov's Practical Manual of Harmony would be preferable. Rameau is dated and more concerning to early music, but it really should nonetheless be necessary reading for anyone interested in the topic of composition and harmony. I genuinely feel that you're doing yourself a disservice if you dismiss it.
Balrogk
As yourself, I played a cornet back 8-15 yrs old or so. 40 yrs later my interest have renewed. I bought

ALFRED'S ESSENTIALS of MUSIC THEORY
A complete self-study course for all musicians

Andrew Surmani Karen Sumurani Morty Manus

came with 2 cd's. Not only did it refresh all I had learned, but I understand things much better than I had.
My interest now is EDM. Learning modular synth with VCV atm.I am struggling to put a recording studio as we spaek. Everything is going wrong! Lol.just a learning curve.hehe. GL with your endeavour
felixer
good musical theory should help you with the acoustics of your studio.
if you need more practical help there was a good series of articles in the brittish SOS magazine.can be found online.
Default1
Composing music: a new approach by Russo
phats
This is a book I use as a reference https://www.amazon.com/Music-Theory-HarperCollins-College-Outline/dp/0 064671682

It has good amount of coverage but is not particularly deep. I don't use it for an explanation but for when I need to get the exact details of something I already understand.
pianoscope
pianoscope
[quote="pianoscope"]
Blingley wrote:
Jean-Philippe Rameau: Treatise on Harmony reduced to its natural principles

Rameau is dated and more concerning to early music, but it really should nonetheless be necessary reading for anyone interested in the topic of composition and harmony. I genuinely feel that you're doing yourself a disservice if you dismiss it.


As an interesting counter to the Rameau edifice we are left with today, you could also try Westergaards tonal theory.

I no longer believe in the validity of much current theory to say anything deeply meaningful about the essence of music, assuming that the difference between rudiments and "theory" are clearly acknowledged. I prefer approaches that lead to a practical result, not just an abstract concept.

The most useful book on "theory" I have read has been Robert Gjerdingen's "Music in the Galant style", which seems to suggest there was never a working theory of music in the classical tonal period, just an accepted shared practice based on various schemata. After following the methods of work I was able to improvise 2 part inventions then 3 part, and then finally 4 part fugues, something which I had never been able to do by studying the standard Rameau / western music theory of functional harmony. I was also able to knock up pretty passable sonata's in the classical style as well.

There were many critics of Rameaus idea, CPE Bach for example, and in more recent years, Hindemith. I actually agree with Hindemith, that there are no such things as inversions. This heresy transforms the textbook approach to functional harmony, which is generally followed without question, and yet has nothing to say about chromatic or extended tonality which are just as pleasing and natural as a V I.

edit..I am not saying don't read Rameau, far from it. It is the foundation of our current way of teaching harmony, for better or for worse.
docsample
so far i like this one:

Music Theory for Electronic Music Producers: The producers guide to harmony, chord progressions, and song structure in the MIDI grid
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/069209329X/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05 _s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
felixer
pianoscope wrote:

I no longer believe in the validity of much current theory to say anything deeply meaningful about the essence of music, assuming that the difference between rudiments and "theory" are clearly acknowledged. I prefer approaches that lead to a practical result, not just an abstract concept.

but the OP asked specifically about theory. obviously you can find out everything yourself. if you live long enough. and i admit that a love for music comes first. but i must say i learned a lot from theory and it def made me a better composer! just keep your own goals and don't be concerned about all the things you 'shouldn't do'. in the past music was always strongly bound to morals (read plato!) and all sorts of kristjan hangups (tritonus/dim chords being 'from the devil', waltzes being 'immoral' etc.)
so you need to have your feet strongly in place before you get influenced.
pianoscope
[quote="felixer"]
pianoscope wrote:


but the OP asked specifically about theory. obviously you can find out everything yourself. if you live long enough. and i admit that a love for music comes first. but i must say i learned a lot from theory and it def made me a better composer! just keep your own goals and don't be concerned about all the things you 'shouldn't do'. in the past music was always strongly bound to morals (read plato!) and all sorts of kristjan hangups (tritonus/dim chords being 'from the devil', waltzes being 'immoral' etc.)
so you need to have your feet strongly in place before you get influenced.


sure. I just personally wished I had known that there is a practice / memory/ aural based "theory" when I started out. I would have made progress in my own goals far quicker. And these goals at the time were specifically to be fluent in composing within classical harmony and forms. Its worth noting that the classical masters of tonal music did quite well without the current modern tonal "theory". I wish I had realised the obvious earlier, that If your goal is to master classical harmony, learn it in the same way the composers themselves did, like the 6 year old Mozart. (smattering of Fux, and a ton of partimenti. )My personal experience differs form yours, I did learn things from courses and personal time spent studying mainstream functional harmony, but nothing actually useful to me as a composer.

I also think a lot of beginners confuse rudiments, keys, notation, nomenclature etc, and theory - functional harmony.
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