Best music appreciation books according to redditors

We found 117 Reddit comments discussing the best music appreciation books. We ranked the 44 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Music Appreciation:

u/skyline1187 · 70 pointsr/Music

As a biologist and a musician, I can tell you with certainty that it's fucking magic

Music causes strange things to happen in the brain, there's a number of popular science books on the subject (e.g, Musicophilia). Neurologists don't understand it fully. Playing music is one of the most complicated cooperative behaviors we perform as a single group. We can play a fast piece with a 9/8 time signature in an large ensemble comprised of various instruments with ease (think Celtic or Indian music as well as Western Orchestral). Why music makes sense to us is an even greater mystery.
If you ask me, I think we could sing before we could speak. :-)

u/Xenoceratops · 29 pointsr/musictheory

Your best bet is to get a decent theory textbook. It might not always be material that you think is applicable to what you do, but it will set the groundwork for more specialized study.



Some of the material in the above is also found in Seth Monahan’s YouTube,, and

I also suggest Understanding Rock to get an idea of what analysis of rock music can look like, though you’ll probably need a grasp on a good chunk of textbook theory before you get there. (Same as for this article, and the knowledge requirement is probably even higher for that one.)

u/Jongtr · 29 pointsr/musictheory

Now there's a surprise (not).

I.e., this is hardly news, although it's always interesting to read more research of this kind. Philip Ball's book The Music Instinct (2010) - - is a good survey of music's role in human societies, with plenty of evidence of what different cultures don't have in common. E.g., almost all cultures recognise octave equivalence, and most recognise the perfect 5th. Beyond that it's all up for grabs. It's not just that other cultures don't recognise "dissonance", it's that the notion of dissonance is itself cultural. Obviously we all hear the same mix of frequencies, but we don't all feel the need to distinguish aesthetically between smooth or clashing ones, let alone have a natural preference for the former.
Essentially, our tastes are formed soon after birth (maybe even in the womb) by what we hear, largely by what we hear repeated. The repetition of any stimulus lends it significance to an infant, because the human brain is a pattern-seeking organ. At a very young age, we quickly get used to familiar patterns in music, which become the "right" sounds we enjoy later.

u/ChemicalScum · 16 pointsr/AskReddit

You should pick up Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia. He describes earworms and similar stories there.

u/InSomeOtherWords · 11 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

So many people seem to have this idea that they're just going to "learn theory." Like that's it.


But in all seriousness. Yeah you will learn theory. If music is going to be a life long pursuit you will never STOP learning theory. Unless you're not serious about it. Then you might just learn what I IV V means write some pop songs and stop there. I digress..

First thing. Learn to read music. DO NOT READ TAB. Learn all the notes on the fret board. Not like you can count up to it and realize that something is a C. Like you KNOW IT. Point to it and you know what note it is. Start reading music here.

Another good way to learn the notes on the fretboard is to pick 4 triads of different qualities. One major, one minor, one diminished, and one augmented triad and play them in all inversions in all positions on the neck while saying the note names. And then pick 4 new triads the next day. Do not just learn the shapes. This will probably take you 2 hours on your first day if you're as thorough as you should be.

If you don't know what any of that means that's fine for now. Those are some pretty basic concepts that you'll learn pretty soon if you're serious about this.

This guy knows his shit. Learn from him. Take it slow. Don't just watch the video and go "Yeah that makes sense." You need to KNOW IT. Drill the concepts a few hours a day.

You could buy a music text book.

Or get an actual guitar teacher. I'd recommend learning jazz because unlike a lot of rock or pop players they actual know their shit about theory and their instrument. You kinda have to know your shit to play jazz. Either that or classical. But jazz theory is more in line with modern music.

Segway: Buy a Real Book

Start off in there with Autumn Leaves or something else easy.

If you're really beginner-y start here.

While that guy's course is good it really focuses on technique. You learn basically no theory from that guy. Just shapes and tabs. Doesn't even use standard notation. His jazz course is ok. It's on his side bar.

This guy's stuff is good for a beginner in jazz. But a beginner in jazz is not exactly beginner level for some other genres. I think you need a pretty solid level of understanding to understand what he's talking about.

That should get you started..

[Edit] Some people have this disconnect. They think that learning theory is somehow separate from song writing. Learning theory will open so many doors to you and show you why and how things work. So that you can actually understand what you're doing.

If I wanted to build a house I could just jump in and start building a house. I'd probably come across a lot of problems. My first house might suck and have a leaky roof or bad plumbing or something. But I could probably learn a long the way. Maybe after I build a ton of crappy houses I could figure out for myself why things work.

Or.. I could look through the writings of the millions of house builders that came before me and see what they found out works and what doesn't. Then maybe my first house will have some issues and it might not be so easy to pull off but I'd be better off learning from the people who came before me than trying to figure it out myself. By doing this I have just saved myself the time of trying to rediscover the wheel so to speak.

That's what learning theory will do for you.

u/RMack123 · 8 pointsr/musictheory

Most college music theory texts have a companion workbook filled with quizzes and practice problems/questions. Where I went to undergrad we used Tonal Harmony and the school I'm going to now uses The Musician's Guide to Theory and Analysis. Not sure if that qualifies as being "accessible," but it's good material if you're willing to part with all those dollars. Text books sure are expensive.

u/thenichi · 7 pointsr/GoForGold

Is it Roger Kamien: Music: An Appreciation? I have an ebook of the 10th edition and it has 5 CDs. The 8th came out in 2003 and it seems common enough to have been the book for you class.

The first two CDs of this are tracks from the 7th and 8th editions if that helps confirm one way or the other.

u/ExtraSmooth · 7 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

If I may, I'll throw in my somewhat-learned 2 cents. I have read a fair number of books on the subject and am currently studying music at the undergrad level--I'm by no means an expert.

If you're interested in the neurological understanding of music, I would recommend the book Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy. Pretty good read that goes into some detail without requiring an MD to understand. Basically, we respond to tension and resolution because of tendencies in our brain to seek out new and variant stimuli.

You mentioned major sounding happy and minor sounding sad. It would be interesting for you to know that this was not always the case. If you're playing in an orchestra or wind ensemble, chances are most of the music you're being exposed to in that setting is from the Classical and Romantic periods of the so-called Western Music Tradition: Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Haydn. Maybe some more modern music as well, but probably nothing too "out there". Also bear in mind, most of the music you hear on the radio, pretty much since the 1970s is very closely related harmonically to classical music from the Classical and Romantic periods.

All this is to say that if you look at Baroque music and earlier, or more modern Western music, as well as music from any other cultural tradition, you'll find very different understandings of harmony, melody, and rhythm. There are few universally enjoyable traits in music across various cultures and types of listener. /u/Bears_in_Blue_Houses has some good points: repetition is usually favored, and people usually like music they can understand and relate to. Beyond that, it really depends on 1. why you're listening to music and 2. what music you're used to. Some people desire intellectual stimulation, and find more complex harmonies, rhythms, structures, and sounds to be enjoyable; others look for simple beats to dance or relax to. Most people look for different things at different times.

u/elihu · 6 pointsr/musictheory

The way I look at it is that there are a lot of musicians who don't bother learning music theory and seem to do just fine. In the same way, there's a lot of people with a pretty good grasp of music theory who don't understand the math and physics of music at all, and it doesn't stop them from making good music. Even so, understanding music theory will usually be helpful to someone who wants to be a good musician, and math and physics can be helpful to someone who wants to compose good music.

Unfortunately, the knowledge about how math and physics applies to music is kind of hard to find, beyond relatively superficial explanations of how musical intervals and chords are constructed from whole number ratios (or approximations thereof).

A pretty good introductory book is "The Science of Musical Sound by John R Pierce" [1]. A lot of the modern understanding of the connection between math and physics and music comes from the research of Herman Helmholtz. You might want to check out "On the Sensations of Tone" [2]. The writings of Harry Partch and Ben Johnston might also be interesting to you if you want to know more about just intonation in particular.



u/nmitchell076 · 6 pointsr/musictheory

The "Dies Irae" refers to a chant used as part of the Requiem. You can hear it here. It's become emblematic in western culture as a signifier of death. Such as in the opening sequence of The Shining. Other user's are talking about pieces that "quote" the dies Irae.

How well-versed in theory are you? Do you understand chord progressions, four part Harmony, figured bass, etc? If not, I would recommend beginning with our sidebar suggestions.

If you have. Might I recommend these areas of further study: Schema theory, topic theory, and semiotics.

  • Schema theory looks at music as a collection of "Schemas" that you string together. Schemas are basically soprano/bass progressions that are appropriate to perform various musical actions. It's likened to knowing a list of moves that, say, a figure skater is performing in front of you. While mostly enumerating what these gestures are, how to spot them in a piece of music, there's often a lot of attention paid to what Schemas do, where you would find them, what you expect to come next, and why a composer might choose one vs. another. A good place to get started here is Robert Gjerdingen's Music in the Galant Style.

  • Topic Theory. This is sort of like Schema theory, but it's zooming out a bit. This tries to categorize what kind of music is suitable for what kinds of expression. So, for instance, a Shephard in an opera might be associated with flute music, a low bass pedal point and simple harmonies, and light, dance-like rhythms. This bundle of features would fall under a topic known as the "Pastoral" topic. A book by Leonard Ratner that is sadly out of print is the classic text in this regard, but I might point you to a book such as Raymond Moselle's The Musical Topic: Hunt, Military, and Pastoral.

  • Finally, we have Semiotics. This field tries to codify sets of Musical symbols or signs that are used to trigger certain kind of reactions or convey some kind of meaning to an audience. Kofi Agawu's work is great in this regard. He has works on both classical and romantic music, but since the other two books I've mentioned are all eighteenth-century specific, I'll put his romantic book here: Music as Discourse: Semiotic Adventures in Romantic Music.
u/[deleted] · 5 pointsr/askscience

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks is another great read on this subject

u/Ellistan · 5 pointsr/jazzguitar

At my school everybody takes classical theory for at least 2 years.

We used this book

Here's the work book

You'll probably need the answers too since you're teaching yourself

Really what I got out of it was being able to just instantly know chord spelling. I don't really have to think about a lot of things any more. It's just second nature. You don't really use classical counterpoint rules unless you plan on composing classical music. But it's a good vehicle for learning theory since it's rather specific and you have to consider a lot of things at once.

We use this book in our jazz theory class

But mainly I learned most from the lectures since our professor is really good. We also have to write a jazz tune every week and learn and improvise on it. As well as the ear training.

I wouldn't really even say that theory is "extremely challenging." You just have to spend a lot of time on it. There was a lot of assignments from the work book every week during classical theory. Probably spent like 6+ hours a week just on the homework for those classes. And that's not even including ear training. With any of this stuff you just have to be consistent, I don't think it's really that hard to understand and I started playing music much later than a lot of my peers.

But if you're trying to understand jazz before understanding really basic concepts like knowing your key signatures, how to spell basic triads, the chords in a given key, simple time vs compound time, etc, you're going to have a lot of trouble. Everything builds on to itself so you really have to understand the basics first which might be a little boring but you have to do it.

u/NotedMuse07 · 4 pointsr/musictheory

The professionally trained musician in me says, "So this is what today's pop stars have been using to create songs..." But I digress. As a music teacher, that chart might be useful in aiding young tots into easily composing something "tuneful." The question is more about how one perceives music. Everyone is individual; thus, everyone has individual perceptions. Try reading Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy. It's not perfect, but it poses some really interesting questions about music.

u/MacNulty · 4 pointsr/psychology

Music instinct is also a good one.

Edit: I mean this book, for the record.

u/PierreLunaire · 3 pointsr/sound
u/ArsCombinatoria · 3 pointsr/musictheory

I would recommend going to your theory teacher's website/class website and look at what book they want you to get. This is a big sign of the approach the university will take in teaching from Theory I and upwards. This way, you will know the "common language" professors will use at your school regarding theory. What I mean are specifics, ranging from calling something an "accented passing tone" vs. making no distinctions between a regular passing tone, to various systems of abbreviations, and to differences in how the cadential "V^6/4 - V^7 - I" is viewed. Some people interpret this as " I^6/4 - V^7 - I." Basically, do you call a cadential^6/4 chord a V or a I chord? One use is not universal. Little clarifications like these, which can only been gleaned from your actual theory book, will make you better prepared and less confused on day one than learning one book's method, only to be presented with a completely different approach.

I think, given your background in theory, you will be surprised how far ahead you are compared to many people. A lot show up to their freshman year with a low level of theory competence.

I went to a university that used the Laitz textbook, so its about all I can recommend.

I've also been exposed to the Straus book for post-tonal theory.

For Species counterpoint, you can't beat the Schacter and Salzer book: "Counterpoint in Composition,"

For Schenkerian analysis, there is the Salzer book: "Structural Hearing." That is a bit more specialized, but it may pique your curiosity.

Great theorists like Felix Salzer and Carl Schacter, students of Heinrich Schenker, along with the acclaimed Steven Laitz, are good to learn about and be knowledgeable about. Looking into them, their associates, and their teachers can lead you to other good books.

u/SenorSpicyBeans · 3 pointsr/gentlemanboners

I don't even know where to begin with you.

There's no way you've studied theory if you then go on to say that music has to be "complex" to be "good". And is that to say, then, that the higher the level of complexity, the better the music? Because there is plenty of crazy shit out there that's just nutso on technicality, but is God-awful to listen to.

I'm mostly unfamiliar with Bieber's work, so I can't comment on it. But if you've ever actually listened to a Taylor Swift song, you'd know it's not "objectively simple". What about it is so simple? The form and chord structures may be, but that's true for nearly all music (and not even just pop music!). Going beyond that, however, into instrumentation, melodic progression, and vocal harmony will typically yield far more pleasing and "complex" results.

Not only that, but repeated studies on humans and how they both interpret and retain audio information has shown that simplicity is actually pretty key. Music in and of itself is damn complex, and too much information at once throws our brains off. On top of it all, our brains will hone in on pattern recognition (both in terms of structure and harmonic build) and repetition to further the consonant experience of music.

Related reading on the topic - Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy.

u/Flewtea · 3 pointsr/musictheory

The guy who wrote this book was the keynote speaker at a conference I attended last year. I haven't read the book and the handouts have been taken down from the website but I assume that the book covers most of what he talked about.

Tons of interesting stuff, including that early music training may be protective against dyslexia and other language processing issues because, until about the time kids start to read, music and language are processed identically in the brain. This is why those kids who grow up in a musical household have such an easier time becoming "fluent" musicians--because it's literally a second language to them.


So far as the language music connection, as I recall they basically analyzed the underlying pattern of stress and unstressed syllables--that English does this by keeping stressed syllables in a relatively metronomic rhythm, fitting other syllables around this. "I want to go to the store," for instance, where "to the" are crammed into a small space to keep "store" happening on time. French, on the other hand, has the syllables occurring at equal intervals rather than the stresses. This is mirrored in the music. Same goes for melodic contrast, with languages that have larger pitch contrasts also using that in melodies.

u/Juhdas · 3 pointsr/askscience

I have to strongly reccommend Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination by Robert Jourdain!

Best book I've read so far concerning this matter.

u/theOnliest · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

I can't remember specific studies offhand (not really my specialty), but it's fairly well-accepted that perception of emotion in music is culture-specific. And the things that are cross-cultural generally aren't related to tonality: speed, contour, etc.

Juslin and Sloboda's Handbook of Music and Emotion has everything you'd ever want to know, but I don't have it here and I don't want to get it from the library for a reddit comment...

u/Gwohl · 3 pointsr/realdubstep

If you haven't made much music in the past, I would recommend learning how to DJ while also studying the principles of audio synthesis and music theory.

DJing is a really good way of understanding what elements of a tune make it danceable and exciting - particularly as far as rhythm and harmony are concerned. Digital music production requires a pretty solid understanding of not just computer software but also a few fundamentals, including the physics of sound, the science behind audio synthesis, and then technique things such as editing, signal flow, etc.

A few books I would recommend for getting started are The Computer Music Tutorial and Musicmathics. As far as mixing and mastering is concerned, which are other essential aspects of the production process, I would recommend checking out Robert Katz's Mastering Audio.

Psychoacoustical considerations are probably what most blatantly separate the men from the boys. My recommended starter for this is Music, Cognition, and Computerized Sound by Perry Cook, who is a professor of Computer Music at Princeton.

EDIT: Also, if you don't already, start listening to and appreciating classical music - particularly stuff made after the Renaissance - in order to get an understanding of the emotional impact things such as dynamics and voicing have on the listening experience. Electronic music heavily borrows from the classical music tradition in this context. Digital music production essentially makes you a computerized Mozart, in that you can control dozens of musical voices, but with even more micromanagement potential than the typical classical music conductor can offer. You will not have a complete understanding of these musical concepts from pop/rock music alone, or even from more 'sophisticated' musical practices such as jazz.

u/kinggimped · 3 pointsr/piano

If you tell them pretty much everything you wrote above, that's probably enough for them to go on.

Maybe try to find a teacher who has a good amount of experience teaching people who aren't starting from scratch, who is happy to focus on technique and filling in the gaps in your music knowledge (e.g. scales, chord theory, etc.). Someone who is willing to point out your bad habits every time and give you tips on focused practice to help break them.

The teaching won't be the challenging part, though. What's going to be hard is forcing yourself to break the physical and mental bad habits you've developed over years of playing without guidance. Practising scales, finger exercises, sight reading etc. is boring but will help a lot in deepening your understanding of technique and simple music theory.

You've probably passively picked up quite a lot about chord theory and stuff like that just from playing music, but don't yet have the basis in music theory to convert what you've learned into concrete knowledge.

I'd really recommend studying music theory in your spare time to help round out your knowledge - maybe consider getting a hold of something like this - you'll know a lot of the basic stuff already but it'll help fill in the gaps and explain in technical terms what you may only know as abstract ideas right now.

Best of luck!

u/agency_panic · 2 pointsr/Music

Read this and this

Edit: Additionally, everyone has a natural frequency they resonate at. When you wake up in the morning, hum a note. What comes naturally is usually your natural resonance. Due to sympathetic vibrations in the harmonic series, certain harmonies and sympathetic tones can physically interact with your "personal frequency"

In other words, music fucking rules

u/Iwantapetmonkey · 2 pointsr/musictheory

I took theory classes 15 years ago, and don't remember what text I used, but it was pretty generic as I recall. I'm thinking of any sort of classical music theory introductory text intended for use in a university course, since they will all probably begin with the same sort of progression of things which logically arises when describing how diatonic music works.

I did a quick search, and this is the sort of text I have in mind:

That one looks very good, and, looking at the table of contents, I'd say the Part I: Elements of Music is the essential part to familiarize with for the basics and then Part II: Diatonic Harmony and Tonicization would expand those ideas in the first part to show how those basics are applied in diatonic music harmonization (basically how to create nice-sounding chord progressions based on diatonic scales).

I would avoid books that are targeted to a specific instrument, or a more modern type of music - like guitar theory, jazz theory, blues piano theory, etc. Not that these books aren't good too, but I've seen plenty of guitar theory books that describe the basics in wacky ways, or in ways that are not really universally applied to all music. Classical theory books will mostly all be the same, and be a solid introduction to these very basics. If you see one that is 20 years old for two bucks at a yard sale it would likely be fine.

In my opinion starting to learn theory from this standpoint of classical music is a great way to start. There are a million ways to learn theory, and this might not be the preferred route for everyone, but it's so good in my opinion because Classical, Baroque, etc. - these early music forms were all about consonance, about how to make harmonic progressions and melodies, and so on, that were pleasing to the ear. They developed these stringent rules to describe methods for arranging sounds to make very pleasing compositions, rules which are very effective at what they are intended for. Once you learn these rules, it makes everything else so much clearer as to why other types of music that break every one of these rules are so effective.

It's maybe like learning to draw a face - you would probably start with learning to draw a face you are looking at, and making your drawing copy it as closely as you can. It's not easy to draw a realistic-looking face, and takes some practice to get it right, to make it look pleasing to people who spend their lives looking at faces and learning their intricacies. If you jump right into trying to do a stylized, artsy rendering of a face, it probably won't be very convincing, since you never learned how to draw a pleasing face to begin with! It would look like a child's drawing, certainly not realistic, but also not very interesting because it's not very sophisticated in how it goes about presenting that face.

u/pina_koala · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

If you like TIYBOM, Robert Jourdain's Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination is right up there. Awkward title to explain in public but a fantastic read. I liked it a lot more than TIYBOM but in fairness read TIYBOM second.

u/svd_wavves · 2 pointsr/csun

Hey There!

I took him! I had him for an online class he is pretty easy you just do a lot of discussions and then 2 concert papers and then the final is what you learned in the class . If you need the book hopefully it is the same one please let me know. This is the book I have. .

u/punninglinguist · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

Ani Patel has claimed in this book that there is some evidence for rhythm in music to correspond to the stress patterns in the composer's native language.

u/slippage · 2 pointsr/cogsci

I have this book,Music the Brain and Ecstasy. It is pretty good but the guy is a little too biased on what is good music and what is not. I should really finish it . . . Goes in to the relationship on why the structures of our brain are wired to like the math of music so much.

u/Adrewmc · 2 pointsr/science

Haven't read it But the book Music, the brain and Ecstasy is also very good, and is written in a way that people that have no knowledge of music can understand it.

u/ihavenopassions · 2 pointsr/medicalschool

I don't know of any "popular science" books that would actually give you a head start in medical school.
For example, Oliver Sacks' books, especially Musicophilia are broadly neurological in topic and really interesting, but reading them won't actually give you any major advantage when it comes to your studies.

However, if you're determined to get that headstart, I'd recommend reading up on either anatomy or physiology.

For anatomy, I'd recommend the Thieme Atlas of Anatomy books, although I might be biased, since one of my professors co-authored them and therefore used them religiously.
The books aren't text books in the classical sense, so there is little explanation given, but the illustrations are arguably the best I've seen so far.
You might also want to check out the google body project, although I found it severely lacking in terms of features, you can't, for example, look up innervations or muscle insertion points. Or maybe those are available once you shell out for premium content, I haven't tried that.

For physiology, I found Boron/Boulpaep's Medical Physiology to be thorough, detailed and very easy to read and understand. So this might actually be the book you're looking for. Even with limited or no prior knowledge in physiology and minimal experience with science in general, you'll be practically guaranteed to gain a deep working knowledge of physiology, which is arguably the basis for medicine in general and will serve you well throughout your studies at medical school.

If you already feel confident in both anatomy and physiology, maybe because you've done both in your undergraduate studies, I can't recommend Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine enough. Almost everything you'll ever need to know about medicine is contained in this book and it is generally pretty well written. If you'd actually have enough time in medical school to thoroughly read and digest this two-volumed beast of a textbook, med school would be less about cramming than it is today.

So maybe get a headstart on that one.

Edit: On the other hand, you might as well enjoy your time before medical school and keep the fire burning by shadowing a physician from time to time or watching the first couple of seasons of House. That'll be more fun.

u/Elliot850 · 2 pointsr/Music

Mostly from this book.

Genuinely one of the most mind blowing books I have ever read. It's been years since I read it though, and someone has pinched my copy so I'm sorry if I can't get you any actual quotes.

Also this book. I get the two mixed up because I read them both in the same short period of time, so information could be from either of them. Both highly recommended.

u/bounch · 2 pointsr/synthesizers

I'm mostly a guitarist, but I always loved noodling on piano but wasn't really happy with any of it so decided to learn a little - what helped me the most personally was 1) learning the main scales, just major and minor, until you can play them easily (the formula is really basic and shouldn't take too long to get down really), and 2) learning a bunch of basic chords, which can be done pretty quickly by getting a beginners piano book (something like this Plus plenty of noodling using what you've learned. Those two things alone took my playing to a level where I can just sit down and have a lot of fun. I find piano way easier to come up with interesting stuff than guitar, due to how its laid out. There's lots of other great advice in this thread already so I'm sure you're covered but I wanted to throw in my 2c just in case. Good luck!

u/_wormburner · 2 pointsr/musictheory

Here's some other stuff for people interested:

Joe Straus' Introduction to Post Tonal Theory

u/Haxle · 2 pointsr/leagueoflegends

Fundamental components of music like working memory and pattern recognition are directly link with neurological development.
Here some literature better explaining it:

From my experience, playing an instrument was always a net positive; it allowed me to deal with stress; socialize with other friends by means of playing together or talking about music; I learned how to read and compose; and self-improvement.

I'm not a professional, no one pays me money. I love music, I love playing it alone or in a group. It's therapeutic - it allows me to enjoy life even more.

u/g0rkster-lol · 2 pointsr/math

It's a complicated question and required lots of math and music and auditory perception to fully understand.

To say that music is just math is pretty much wrong. How we hear things is not predicated by current mathematics but by how our hearing apperatus has evolved. We can try to describe our hearing mathematically but that's how we describe pretty much anything that we try to formalize.

Music on a higher level too is a kind of formalism. There is lots here, tuning systems, intervals, harmony. But there is a very trickly interplay with cultural developments and perception. It's not clear that all of what has developed say in western european music is pure cognition. Some of it may be habits or cultural preferences. So again to say that it is just math becries this complexity.

That said mathematics is our best formal structure theory out there, so it's not surprising that we can use it to model structures!

Incidentally there is a debate within the musicology community of research practicioners just how much math really means for the field. This has appeared in 2012 in a special issue of the Journal of Mathematics and Music. Discussants are Guerino Mazzola, famous for bringing heavy mathematical machinery to musicology (see his book, or should I say solid brick "Topos of Music"), Gerant Wiggins (a computer scientist, who will defend a more cognitive perspective), and Alan Marsden (who will defend space for non-mathematical musicology). If you want to learn how some practitioners in the intersection of math and musicology think, this is a place to learn about it.

There is more. Sound itself can be generated mathematically. Lots of digital signal processing (linear algebra, complex analysis, ODEs and theory of oscillators, physical simulations and PDEs etc) here. A good starting point for that stuff are Julius Smith's web books. And sound needs to be analyized (lots of autoregression, functional transforms (fourier, wavelets, etc), machine learning here). Check out the ISMIR professional society for pathways into that particular type of research and mathematical work. A good source at the interface of music, computation, and cognition is Perry Cook's book Music, Cognition, and Computerized Sound, which will give you a good view of the math of musical cognition involved (cognition of musical scales etc).

So lots and lots of stuff here. Academic programs related to this tend to be called something like Music Technology but it's not uniform.

u/nadaSurfing · 2 pointsr/musictheory

The field of music and emotion is a very large and complex one. You cannot expect easy answers to your questions. I recommend buying a newer book for this subject, older books and studies often use dowdy reasoning for phenomena which can only recently (in the last 30-40 years) be somehow explained by newer methods of cognitive science and music psychology.

Best pick for you could be Juslin's "Handbook of Music and Emotion".

u/setecordas · 2 pointsr/musictheory

Hermann Helmholtz: On the Sensations of Tone is a classic.

Books that delve into the physics of acoustics require the language of diff-q and fluid dynamics, and so may not be useful to you.

u/Sklerrrrrr · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

I think the best way to start to understand classical music is to first find something you like to listen to, plenty of suggestions listed already on this thread. Once something inspires you, I recommend reading about composers and music and why, when, and just general aspects of that music. A huge part of classical music is to know what to listen for. Aaron Copeland's, "What to Listen for in Music," is a great tool that gives a great overview and explains what to listen for when you're listening to this great music. I highly recommend simply listening to music and really trying to analyze what you are hearing.

u/GermanSeabass · 1 pointr/musiccognition

I hear Oliver Sacks writes about such things.

Sounds interesting -- haven't read it myself though.

u/willnotwashout · 1 pointr/askscience

In general, our brains are occupied with both novelty and repetition. When we listen to music, the repetition gives us the context for understanding what we're hearing and the novelty keeps our brains actively interested.

For example, listen to the horn melody of the original Hawaii 5-0 theme:

The first part of both initial phrases is the same but then suddenly, it changes. That novelty after repetition is what your brain likes.

It is possible though to listen to a piece enough times that the novelty disappears completely. At this point, unless you have a different experience of the song, like nostalgia after a long absence, your brain is no longer captivated and can in fact be repulsed by the repetition alone.

Hope that makes some sense. I'd suggest reading something like Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy if you want to get into it further.

u/V-Man737 · 1 pointr/books

Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy by Robert Jourdain -- a book that explains in mesmerizing detail why music makes us feel good

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell translation -- a book that explains (among a plethora of other gems of wisdom) why letting go is the only way to gain.

u/ModusDeum · 1 pointr/musictheory

I feel you. Counterpoint would certainly be a good starting point, but it almost certainly isn't going to be useful to you except as a bridge upon which you might arrive at 4-voice-land.

Bach is an incredible study in counterpoint, but you'll likely not understand how to write simply by analyzing his counterpoint (unless you're peculiarly keen on intervalic analysis and pick up on nuances like a lack of parallel 5ths and 8ves, contrary, parallel, similar or oblique motion between voices, etc).

I'm not aware of any online resources with which one can learn counterpoint (someone else might be able to direct you there).

This is the book we've used in all of my theory classes, I through IV so far It's not a particularly cheep cheap (god it's late)* book, but it's been worth it for the wealth of knowledge. It does a really good job of taking theory step by step from the smallest of pieces (notes on a staff) to crazy complex serial compositions and other awful stuff like that ;)

u/vanblah · 1 pointr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

This is a little dated but it's also a good source of information on this topic:

u/Korrun · 1 pointr/Learnmusic

>i tested a few

What testing methodologies did you employ? I find double blind to be significant in this regard.

>the other one had voices, voices sound, or what you ppl call acapella, i hate acapella, hate all acapella versions of regular songs

Which one was A capella? Which by the way originally meant to wear a small cloak.

>it's just noise

Yes. The Rest is Noise

>it just had no meaning

This might help. Or this. Especially chapter 8.

u/vcanada · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

I see a lot of answers regarding marketing classical as relaxing- and thus the promotion those pieces that fit that description (think lullabies, fugues, and love themes).

I've not seen the more scientific answer about pattern recognition and the mathematical structure of the music itself. The traditional symphony, for example, has a very specific harmonic and melodic structure that is made to repeat throughout at different musical intervals in various patterns. Your brain doesn't get bored since there isn't a ton of wrote repetition, you get the serotonin boost from recognizing those patterns, and (unless you're going for Wagner or some aggressive Operatic pieces) the physics of the reverberations of the instruments themselves match well to the physiognomy of our inner and outer ear. Basically, the vibrations of the strings can make you physically comfortable or uncomfortable depending on the tuning and note played.

If anyone is interested I cannot recommend enough, "Music, the Brain and the Ecstacy" by Robert Jourdain.

I made it to Harmony III in college before moving my major from Music to Philosophy, but welcome any questions you might have. I plan on doing a PhD and my dream research would be on how the quantum structure of our brain's SSRI re-uptake inhibitors as they are influenced by the psychedelic drug class compared to other non-chemical methods of neuromechanical stimulation (like music, meditation and prayer/fellowship). My long term dream is to help ween Americans off the psychotropics like Prozac, Zoloft, etc. that must be taken daily, don't last in the system for long and come with a battery of side effects for more substantial cultural changes that actually solve, instead of masking, the mental dissonance our lifestyles only seem to aggravate.

u/ambrosebs · 1 pointr/musictheory

This list has helped me a lot:

I can personally recommend Structural Hearing by Felix Salzer, a student of Schenker. It covers basic counterpoint, functional harmony and Schenkerian analysis (in that order). It's not a book for the lighthearted, but there are treasures to be found!

u/lectrick · 1 pointr/atheism

> Hey now, you might hurt my feelings.

hehehe don't worry. I love physics, and I am jealous that you are still involved with it ;)

Music is very weird. Even newborns can sense "off" notes (they will grimace). Music is one of those things that I partly ascribe to "the consciousness mystery". For example, in my music paper, I could easily talk about the parts of the brain that recognize individual notes, or how music triggered memories, etc... but that still went nowhere towards how it feels to listen to your favorite tune, as it were.

There are a couple of books I have on this idea that I still need to read. One is Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks.

Note that the use of the word "feel" in this subreddit leads to immediate downvotes. ;) Qualitative descriptions are not useful for proving anything, of course! :)

> if dogs could comprehend what we wanted them to do, they might be able to put smells on a scale

We could also just cut to the chase and attach a highly sophisticated brain sensor to their skulls that would communicate what they're smelling based on what parts of the brain light up. Essentially using them as part of the instrument. It still wouldn't tell us what it's like to be able to smell that well, though.

Curious to hear your opinion on the qualia/zombie links.

u/adamsgl52 · 1 pointr/slavelabour
u/mladjiraf · 1 pointr/edmproduction


Dude, your hooktheory book is a complete garbage, I'm not surprised that you learned everything wrong. I even told you the name of the youtube channel... how ignorant can a person be on reddit?

Check any real music theory books,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch


to see what people in England and USA use (Germany and North/East Europe use slightly different system).


Also, there doesn't exist such thing as progression without a tonic, that's why your progression is wrong when you try to analyse the key. One of your chords is I or i (Im in another notation system). And progressions in minor use flexible scale degrees, that's why such tables can't be made or they will have to include several different chords.

u/flimflam61 · 1 pointr/Music

If you find it hard or impossible to listen to certain genres of music then you should change the way that you listen to music. To help you do that i would recommend reading The Music Instinct

u/kondor34 · 1 pointr/slavelabour
u/pr06lefs · 1 pointr/musictheory

Check the sidebar under theory apps and books. I haven't finished a single book yet so can't really comment on what's best, but there are some listed there. I've ordered " The Musician’s Guide to Theory & Analysis", you can find that on google books I think and browse it.

u/JockMctavishtheDog · 1 pointr/Documentaries

This is also the name of a book I've recently read from 2011;

u/alessandro- · 1 pointr/piano

Since some time has now passed and there haven't been too many answers, I want to add something that I think is the most important answer: you can make up your own chorale preludes by getting better at improvising.

An easy way to start improvising is by playing just the harmonization in your hymn book, but rather than playing the top three voices at the same time, you can play them in an arpeggiated way. Some notes will have to be added or taken away in some situations, such as when two voices merge onto the same note. Here is a very quick recording that I made to demonstrate this principle.

Over time, you'll want to add basic harmonic ideas to your musical vocabulary. A few things I'd note:

  • It's OK to change the notes of the hymn tune slightly to accommodate the harmonies you want. But it's important to keep the rhythm of important motives the same, especially if you're changing the notes
  • It's useful to learn the hymn you're improvising on in multiple keys so that you can switch keys in your improvisation
  • Steal textures from written-out preludes/meditations/etc. on hymns. One texture you can use is the triplet texture I mentioned above.

    If you keep working on this, you'll get better and better. My favourite improviser who lives in my area sounds like this (the recording is terrible, but good enough that you can get the idea). A feature of his improvisations that I really like is modulations to far-away keys; when I hear him play, it feels like I'm being thrown into something vast and mysterious.

    A resource I recommend for liturgical musicians' improvisation is this book by Gerre Hancock. It's intended for organists, but is still extremely useful for pianists. I also find Improv Planet on Patreon very useful. It's run by a piano professor who specializes in improvisation in the style of Bach and Handel.

    If you haven't already studied harmony, I also highly, highly recommend it (I'd call study of harmony a prerequisite for Improv Planet). Good resources for self-study of harmony include the textbooks by Laitz and by Clendinning & Marvin.
u/186394 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Check out the book Guitar Zero. It's by a cognitive psychologist who, at almost 40, decides he wanted to learn an instrument. It goes into his personal journey as well as a lot of info and studies about how humans learn things in general.

u/tweakingforjesus · 1 pointr/Guitar

I started at 40. It's a journey, your journey. Enjoy the trip.

Also read Guitar Zero. This was written by an older learner who views his skill development through the lens of cognitive psychology. It is a great companion for those of us who began later in life.

u/77or88 · 0 pointsr/AskReddit

Was the book Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy by chance?