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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory

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A music theory book that hits the high note … This updated and expanded edition of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Music Theory breaks down a difficult subject in a simple way—even for those who think they have no rhythm or consider themselves tone deaf. With clear, concise language, it explains everything from bass-clef basics to confusing codas. This ne A music theory book that hits the high note … This updated and expanded edition of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Music Theory breaks down a difficult subject in a simple way—even for those who think they have no rhythm or consider themselves tone deaf. With clear, concise language, it explains everything from bass-clef basics to confusing codas. This new edition includes: -A brand-new CD -A comprehensive ear- training section -Musical examples of intervals, scales, chords, and rhythms -Aural exercises so readers can test their ear training and transcription skills Download a sample chapter.


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A music theory book that hits the high note … This updated and expanded edition of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Music Theory breaks down a difficult subject in a simple way—even for those who think they have no rhythm or consider themselves tone deaf. With clear, concise language, it explains everything from bass-clef basics to confusing codas. This ne A music theory book that hits the high note … This updated and expanded edition of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Music Theory breaks down a difficult subject in a simple way—even for those who think they have no rhythm or consider themselves tone deaf. With clear, concise language, it explains everything from bass-clef basics to confusing codas. This new edition includes: -A brand-new CD -A comprehensive ear- training section -Musical examples of intervals, scales, chords, and rhythms -Aural exercises so readers can test their ear training and transcription skills Download a sample chapter.

30 review for The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory

  1. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Quite a useful book enough depth to explain chord progressions, turnarounds, chord substitutions and counterpoint. Now I am going to practice the techniques and use the CD from the book for ear training - to recognise intervals, chords and rhythms.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ray Perreault

    I'm an amateur everything, including musician. This book has become my stand by reference. I'm an engineer and I enjoy the structure and theory behind music; it is fascinating. Great book if you want to learn something to impress your neighbors and friends. I'm an amateur everything, including musician. This book has become my stand by reference. I'm an engineer and I enjoy the structure and theory behind music; it is fascinating. Great book if you want to learn something to impress your neighbors and friends.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Webb

    Not as thorough as some theory texts, but written to be accessible----that by itself makes it worth its weight in gold as a supplement to any Music Theory class.

  4. 4 out of 5

    BookSweetie

    COMMENTS: These remarks relate to the text of the Second Edition PAPERBACK which I read cover to cover, but not to the accompanying Audio CD for Ear Training -- which I did not LISTEN to at all. STRONG SUGGESTION: Have a piano or keyboard available to help understand the text. GENERAL: Are you somebody who has had least SOME previous musical instrument playing experience or basic music education? Are you good at self-study? Are the topics in the contents below of any interest to you? Do you know COMMENTS: These remarks relate to the text of the Second Edition PAPERBACK which I read cover to cover, but not to the accompanying Audio CD for Ear Training -- which I did not LISTEN to at all. STRONG SUGGESTION: Have a piano or keyboard available to help understand the text. GENERAL: Are you somebody who has had least SOME previous musical instrument playing experience or basic music education? Are you good at self-study? Are the topics in the contents below of any interest to you? Do you know something about music, but you have gaps? Maybe this is the book for you. I had in-home piano lessons for 4-5 years in my much younger days. In retrospect, I am so thankful that my teacher (who moonlighted playing jazz and popular music) taught me all about chords in his last couple years of teaching --just before HIS "nervous breakdown" kaboshed my piano lessons (permanently for me, as it turned out) -- so I have had many years to enjoy playing popular music that might have minimal notation - say, a melody line with a few accompanying chords. Hah! I wasn't even sure what there was to know that I didn't know. Turns out there is a LOT and I am delighted to have encountered this information-rich guide to pick up where my education left off. I took a bunch of notes to help my attention and memory. I found it fairly easy to follow in most sections -- and I loved having end of chapter questions to answer -- but I have been playing and improvising, too, for quite a while and cannot jump into a mindset of someone who might encounter more of this for the very first time. I therefore suggest taking a look at the content topics below to see if this warrants your further interest. Part 1 Tones 1 Pitches and Clefs 2 Intervals 3 Scales 4 Major and Minor Keys Part 2 Rhythms 5 Note Values and Basic Notation 6 Time Signatures 7 Tempo, Dynamics, and Navigation Part 3 Tunes 8 Melodies 9 Chords 10 Chord Progressions 11 Phrases and Form Part 4 Accompanying 12 Transcribing What You Hear 13 Accompanying Melodies 14 Transposing to Other Keys Part 5 Embellishing 15 Harmony and Counterpoint 16 Chord Substitutions and Turnarounds 17 Special Notation Part 6 Arranging 18 Composing and Arranging for Voices and Instruments 19 Lead Sheets and Scores 20 Performing Your Music Appendices A Music Glossary B Chord Reference C Answers to Chapter Exercises FINALLY: The web link given in the end of the book in order to find the corrections didn't work for me. I believe the book may no longer be for sale (new) in the second edition paperback version.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    This is a good introduction to the basics of music theory, but the amount of material it covers is so vast that it lacks a very serious treatment of anything. That being said, it is quite clearly written and perhaps an excellent place to start diving into concepts which could take many many book to fully explore. I also haven't tried the ear training course, but that the book includes this as a CD seems like a useful plus. This is a good introduction to the basics of music theory, but the amount of material it covers is so vast that it lacks a very serious treatment of anything. That being said, it is quite clearly written and perhaps an excellent place to start diving into concepts which could take many many book to fully explore. I also haven't tried the ear training course, but that the book includes this as a CD seems like a useful plus.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Lee

    If you're looking to learn about music theory and have no previous experiences, this is the book for you. It's geared towards the beginner and will teach you nothing if you know a little something already (i.e. chord progressions, arpeggios, etc.). If you're looking to learn about music theory and have no previous experiences, this is the book for you. It's geared towards the beginner and will teach you nothing if you know a little something already (i.e. chord progressions, arpeggios, etc.).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    I like this book better than Music Theory for Dummies. Very thorough and just right for us music idiots. This book is recommended by the BYU Music Department for their beginning theory classes. Great reference for music teachers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    harleyyyyyyyyy

    I continually use this for reference. However, there are some minute details that the author doesn't cover, which can be imperative to understanding music theory. Added bonus for the ear training CD, that I have yet to use. I continually use this for reference. However, there are some minute details that the author doesn't cover, which can be imperative to understanding music theory. Added bonus for the ear training CD, that I have yet to use.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Sharpe

    reading right now....enjoy easy to understand approach..efficient approach.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    So far, pretty good. Fairly basic, but it reinforces what I've learned before! So far, pretty good. Fairly basic, but it reinforces what I've learned before!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Apri

    I learned music since childhood, but in a different language. I think this book is a good one for introduction or beginners, who would like to compose or range music.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erek

    Very good book for learning music theory at a minimal level. Never too complex or too detailed.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Sawyer

    Excellent primer for me and my fellow complete idiots. I bought and read it just for funsies, but it's affected the way I listen to music. Excellent primer for me and my fellow complete idiots. I bought and read it just for funsies, but it's affected the way I listen to music.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tambor

    very helpful book. will keep it close as reference.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David

    Good beginner's introduction to the basics. Good beginner's introduction to the basics.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sami

    Excellent reference and introduction

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Lewis

    The most practical guide for beginner composers I have ever read. This book made a different in my life.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Powerofthehero

    Nice. Musical knowledge upgraded +3 points

  19. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    Coco Chanel said “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”. For this author I would adapt that advice to “Before you go to print, look at the title (which promises to teach a complete idiot) and take 55 concepts out of your book”. I was in tears over The Intervals of the Mixolydian and the author hadn’t even explained a damn quarter note. Just because you KNOW it doesn’t mean you should throw it ALL in a book; especially a book assuming that a reader has no prior kn Coco Chanel said “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”. For this author I would adapt that advice to “Before you go to print, look at the title (which promises to teach a complete idiot) and take 55 concepts out of your book”. I was in tears over The Intervals of the Mixolydian and the author hadn’t even explained a damn quarter note. Just because you KNOW it doesn’t mean you should throw it ALL in a book; especially a book assuming that a reader has no prior knowledge of the subject. A truly gifted teacher explains simply, edits, and knows his audience. I’m not impressed with his knowledge; I’d have been more impressed with his ability to convey it to me, should he have done so.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Ramos

    An easy to read book about music theory, that gives you a nice overview of scales, modes, chords, progressions, and some more arcane stuff I did not even know or suspected existed. In all, a nice overview to start in the world of music theory.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dan Nerren

    I read this book to see what was missing in my music education. It turns out that I was familiar with almost all of the concepts discussed. Following each chapter is a section of exercises to check your learning. I found the book useful as a review of my music education.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rui

    Straightforward

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lexie Turpin

    Decent book for beginners, but clearly more geared toward pianists. If you have prior knowledge of music theory you might be disappointed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gary Merrill

    The only intelligible an worthwhile book on music theory I've every found. Very easy to read and understand. The only intelligible an worthwhile book on music theory I've every found. Very easy to read and understand.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joe Sampson

    A very well written book on music theory.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cale Herreman

    I was in band in junior high and high school, and there was so much that I never understood. Keys, the circle of fifths, harmony, chords, et cetera. I put down this book so much richer in musical knowledge than before, as the author explains all of this and more so effectively, without any snobbery against any genre of music.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This book presented a decent overview of music theory. Helpful for reminding me what I knew and what I didn't know. This book presented a decent overview of music theory. Helpful for reminding me what I knew and what I didn't know.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aziz Akash

    very helpful and easy to understand.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Great stuff, learning it the first time or need a refresher.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Allan H. Goodman

    Comprehensive review of Music Theory in a clear, understandable format.

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