Best music theory according to redditors

We found 398 Reddit comments discussing the best music theory. We ranked the 109 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Music Theory:

u/[deleted] · 69 pointsr/AskHistorians

One objection: Although turks were considered as the barbaric force that inhibited development of islamic world, things are much more complicated than that.

First of all Turks quickly adopted religion and culture and created their unique brand of islam, settled down quickly.

Also they created most prosperous empires in the region and Europe for centuries! Ottoman Empire was the superpower of 16 and even 17th century that dealt with many European powers at once and Persian empire! Istanbul was the biggest metropol of Europe for centuries supporting levels of populations that was not seen since Roman Empire and became only possible towards the end of 18the century for European countries. People have that archaic view of Ottomans sitting on their butt and rotting away but that is not the truth. THat book alone proves a very different point of view:

That shows how Ottomans were struggling with Portugese in Indian Ocean. That shows how up to date they were all the times.

When it comes to halting of "scientific development" answer is really much more complicated. Mokyr has a nice look at this problem and does not reach a clear cut answer:

I would go into more detail some other time, now I don't have much time. But Islamic civilization did not come to a halt with the arrival of turks. But what we see really contradict that idea. Region prospered for a long time (for centuries!!!). How come that civilization came to a halt, but then after centuries, up until 1683 still having the most powerful land empire in west? THere is too much generalization and simplification here. Of course I get your point, it was not as much dynamic as it used to be, but it prospered thanks to stability of big empires, their extensive trade networks and connectedness of cities. Mokyr shows exhaustively how technological and scientific development in Roman Empire was slower compared to Greek and even Medieval times, but it was a more industrial empire and most people would easily think that people were better off during its time compared to what came before and after it (according to many calculations, people reach similar levels of welfare and development as Roman Empire only in 18th century England in christian world!). Similar things can be said about what happened after Monghol invasion. Cities and people prospered, industrialized (not in modern sense of course).

u/RedRedRoad · 24 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

Comprehensive List of Books Relating to Music Production and Creative Growth

<br />


On Composition:

<br />

Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies - Dennis DeSantis
Amazon Link
This is a fantastic book. Each page has a general idea on boosting creativity, workflow, and designing sounds and tracks.

Music Theory for Computer Musicians - Michael Hewitt
Amazon Link
Really easy to digest book on music theory, as it applies to your DAW. Each DAW is used in the examples, so it is not limited to a specific program. Highly recommend this for someone starting out with theory to improve their productions.

Secrets of Dance Music Production - David Felton
Amazon Link
This book I recently picked up and so far it's been quite good. It goes over all the different elements of what make's dance music, and get's quite detailed. More geared towards the beginner, but it was engaging nonetheless. It is the best 'EDM specific' production book I have read.

Ocean of Sound - David Troop
Amazon Link

Very well written and interesting book on ambient music. Not only does David go over the technical side and history of ambiance and musical atmospheres, he speaks very poetically about creating these soundscapes and how they relate to our interpersonal emotions.


On Audio Engineering:

<br />

Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio - Mike Senior
Amazon Link
In my opinion, this is the best mixing reference book for both beginners and intermediate producers. Very in-depth book that covers everything from how to set-up for accurate listening to the purpose of each mixing and mastering plug-in. Highly recommended.

Zen and the Art of Mixing - Mixerman
Amazon Link
Very interesting read in that it deals with the why's more than the how's. Mixerman, a professional audio engineer, goes in detail to talk about the mix engineer's mindset, how to approach projects, and how to make critical mixing decisions. Really fun read.

The Mixing Engineer's Handbook - Bobby Owinski
Amazon Link
This is a fantastic companion book to keep around. Not only does Owinski go into great technical detail, he includes interviews from various audio engineers that I personally found very helpful and inspiring.


On the Industry:

<br />

All You Need to Know About the Music Business - Donald S. Passman
Amazon Link
This book is simply a must read for anyone hoping to make a professional career out of music, anyone wanting to start their own record label, or anyone interested in how the industry works. It's a very informative book for any level of producer, and is kept up-to-date with the frequent revisions. Buy it.

Rick Rubin: In the Studio - Jake Brown
Amazon Link
Very interesting read that is a semi-biographical book on Rick Rubin. It is not so personal as it is talking about his life, experiences, and processes. It does get quite technical when referring to the recording process, but there are better books for technical info. This is a fun read on one of the most successful producers in history.

Behind the Glass - Howard Massey
Amazon Link
A collection of interviews from a diverse range of musicians who speak about creativity, workflows, and experiences in the music industry. Really light, easy to digest book.


On Creativity:

<br />

The War of Art - Steven Pressfield
Amazon Link
This is a must-read, in my opinion, for any creative individual. It is a very philosophical book on dealing with our own mental battles as an artist, and how to overcome them. Definitely pick this one up, all of you.

This is Your Brain on Music - Daniel S. Levitin
Amazon Link
A book written by a neurologist on the psychology of music and what makes us attached to it. It's a fairly scientific book but it is a very rewarding read with some great ideas.


On Personal Growth and Development:

<br />

How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
Amazon Link
Although this seems like an odd book for a music producer, personally I think this is one of the most influential books I've ever read. Knowing how to be personable, effectively network, and form relationships is extremely important in our industry. Whether it be meeting and talking to labels, meeting other artists, or getting through to A&amp;R, this book helps with all these areas and I suggest this book to all of you.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
Amazon Link
Similar to the recommendation above, although not directly linked to music, I assure you reading this book will change your views on life. It is a very engaging and practical book, and gets you in the right mindset to be successful in your life and music career. Trust me on this one and give it a read.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Amazon Link
You know the feeling when you're really in the groove of jamming out and all worries tend to slip away for those moments? That is the 'Optimal Experience' according to the author. This book will teach you about that experience, and how to encourage and find it in your work. This is a very challenging, immersive, and enlightening read, which deals with the bigger picture and finding happiness in your work and life. Very inspiring book that puts you in a good mindset when you're doing creative work.

The Art of Work - Jeff Goins
Amazon Link
A very fascinating book that looks at taking your passion (music in our case) and making the most of it. It guides you on how to be successful and turn your passion into your career. Some very interesting sections touching on dealing with failure, disappointment, and criticism, yet listening to your intuition and following your passion. Inspiring and uplifting book to say the least.


Happy reading!

<br />

u/SassyMoron · 23 pointsr/4chan

See this is a myth though. Economic productivity growth throughout Europe during the middle ages was steady and substantial. Check out this book if you want to know more.

u/spoonopoulos · 19 pointsr/musictheory

There are a lot of courses. Any specific topics you're interested in?

Edit: I'll just list a few anyway that I've used in classes (this may not reflect all professors' choices for the same subjects).

Tonal Harmony: Kostka-Payne - Tonal Harmony

Counterpoint 1: A Berklee book by the late professor Rick Applin. Some also use this Fux translation/adaptation

Counterpoint 2: Bach Inventions &amp; Sinfonias (any edition, really)

"Advanced" Counterpoint: The Well-Tempered Clavier (again, any edition)

Early Twentieth-Century Harmony: Persichetti - Twentieth-Century Harmony

Post-Tonal Theory/Analysis: Straus - Intro to Post-Tonal Theory

Instrumentation/Orchestration: Adler - The Study of Orchestration &amp;
Casella/Mortari - The Technique of Contemporary Orchestration

Western Music History - Burkholder/Paiisca - A History of Western Music (8th or 9th edition)

Conducting 1 - Notion Conducting

Conducting 2 Notion + Stravinsky's Petrushka

Berklee's own (jazz-based) core harmony and ear-training curricula use Berklee textbooks written by professors which, as someone else mentioned, come unbound and shrink-wrapped at the bookstore. You can find older (PDF) versions of the Berklee harmony textbooks here. Of course this list only represents explicit book choices - there are a lot of excerpt-readings, and there's a lot of instruction that isn't found in these books even in the associated courses.

u/brucecook123 · 17 pointsr/Guitar

The Elementary Rudiments of Music. Been around forever. Proven effective. Own a well-worn copy myself.

Link (Canadian amazon)

u/17bmw · 16 pointsr/musictheory

Normally, I would try to (somewhat) annotate stuff I link/mention but I'm tired on all levels of my being so forgive me for making this reply less detailed than I'd like it to be. Keep in mind that I don't know sht and half the time, I'm talking out my ss.

Mostly I hope this, at least, helps you guide your search. Or the things I write here are so horribad that it prompts someone to viciously correct me, thus giving you the real info you need! :p

I might circle back after some time to add notes here and there. Maybe. Also, this first reply will be focused on quartal harmony but I should be able to muster up the spoons to write up a search guide for minimalism later.

First, there are some really neat proto examples of quartal/quintal harmony in Medieval music. The starting search term for this would be organum. There were/are more than a few kinds^A of organum but examples of parallel organum should be most interesting to you.

David Fenwick Wilson has a book on Early music called Music in the Middle Ages: Style and Structure. It's admittedly an older book but I mention it specifically because there's a lovely youtube video^B with examples from the related anthology. As always, I'm a sl*t for Norton's music history books^C so check those out as well, imo.

Outside of the realm of "classical" music, most of the quartal harmony you'll encounter will be in the form of quartal voicings^D for otherwise tertian chords. It's a favorite trick for more than a few jazz giants so naturally, there's an absolute glut^E of resources for this.

When we get to classical music though, we start to get some actual spicy stuff, like fully formed quartal harmonic systems and languages. Paul Hindemith was a BIG fan of quartal stuff. You can check out his own writings^F about his musical system in his book on composition. Arnold Schoenberg also devotes a section in his book on harmony^G to the newer quartal sounds cropping up (well "new" when he wrote it at any rate).

From there it's really a matter of doing the grunt work of either analyzing composers you find writing quartal harmony OR researching analyses of said composers. Sure, quartal harmony (and the related term "interval cycle") gets mentioned in more than a few books on 20th century harmony like Vincent Persichetti's^H or Richard Strauss's^I books; both might be good jumping off points on your journey.

Seemingly, every composer and their mother (Hindemith, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Copland, Cowell, Ives) experimented with quartal writing in the 20th century. So while definitive guides might be hard to track down, specific examples aren't. I'll include an analysis or two that you might find helpful in the list below. Be on the look out for any edits I might sneak in!

Beyond that, perhaps the most concrete way we could help you would be to analyze specific pieces/instances of quartal language you find and walk you through any questions you had about the piece. When I'm not tired, I'm usually down to dig into some cool music. Drop a score, ask something, and let's analyze something together! Still, I hope this helps. Have fun on your compositional journey and take care!












J.) Berg's Lyric Suite has plenty of quintal yumminess. Check out Perle's analysis of its interval cycles:

u/PendularWater · 14 pointsr/musictheory

Go and buy yourself a copy of Twentieth-Century Harmony by Vincent Persichetti! It sounds like just the thing you need, and it's legit the most inspiring theory book I've ever had!

And some musical recommendations: Jack Conte has some really harmonically interesting songs. It's never atonal or anything, but there are still some cool weird chord progressions I don't think I've heard anywhere else. Also, go back and listen to some Carlo Gesualdo! Seriously, there's some really out-there stuff in his music, even to modern ears.

u/BambooSurfer · 11 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

read, "This Is Your Brain On Music"

an interesting read for sure

u/1point618 · 10 pointsr/Bitcoin

&gt; It is cumbersome to setup an interac or paypal when you want to help.

Those are your words. The words that I am replying to. Paypal is not irrelevant, which you very well know, because it is the competition to changetip.

&gt; Says you.

No, says the entire field of economic history, not to mention lean startup methodology and user experience design.

Innovation (defined as the wide-scale adoption of new technologies) is not an easy or simple process. The "if you build it, they will come" mantra almost always works out poorly for the builders.

Invention is, by comparison, rather easy. Large businesses project manage invention all the time. We know about when and how well new inventions will be established if we just crank away at them.

Driving user adoption, on the other hand, is a very difficult process. You have to not just build an invention that solves problems for individuals and opens up new avenues of economic efficiency for society, but you also have to convince individuals en masse to change their behavior.

This takes marketing, politics, sales, and more. It takes understanding the human factors that go into technological adoption. At the end of the day, no technology succeeds without humans. These are creative fields which see some degree of process but which are ever-changing. Solutions have to fit the specific technology, consumer market, legal framework, etc..

A good example of innovation vs. invention is Edison vs. Tesla. We all know the popular geek narrative, that Tesla was a lone genius whose work was suppressed by the evil, profit-hungry Edison. But really, the difference was one of innovation. Both men were greatly inventive, but only one of them cared to focus on marketing, user adoption, working with governments, and building a business. It's telling that the one major "success" that Tesla did have was the one where he engaged with Edison on his own turf, taking the AC/DC battle to local governments and the courts.

But at the end of the day, Tesla the inventors legacy is a yet-to-be-built museum crowdfunded by a webcomic author, while Edison's legacy is one of the oldest, largest, and most inventive consumer companies in the US.

If you'd like to learn more, I'd highly recommend The Lever of Riches by Joel Mokyr. He uses historical examples from Europe, the Americas, and China to develop a historical narrative and theory of technological and economic progress (aka, innovation) that helps explain why certain technologies see adoption, as well as why certain societies see more technological innovation than others. And if you're interested in the latter question, Why Nations Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson is a very enjoyable read.

u/nmitchell076 · 9 pointsr/musictheory

Probably the most accessible mathematical approach to the basics of music theory that is still really solid scholarship would be Dimitri Tymoczko's A Geometry of Music. About the only downside is that Tymoczko has several bones to pick and he makes sure to pick them!

Another classic is David Lewin's Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations.

If I were you, I'd start with Tymoczko and then move to Lewin after.

u/m3g0wnz · 8 pointsr/musictheory

If you think you are ready for some heavier academic writing on music theory, here's how you can get into it:

  1. Music Theory Online, the free, peer-reviewed journal created by the Society for Music Theory. It's convenient and very legit. Some articles have animations, videos, and sound linked right there.
  2. Look at the award-winning publications list on the Society for Music Theory website. If something piques your interest, get it! Either from Amazon or from a university library (or really, really good public library).
  3. If you go to university, you probably have access to JSTOR—a huge database of academic articles, including articles about music theory—through your university's library website. The big journals are Music Theory Spectrum and Journal of Music Theory. You can also check out Intégral, Theory and Practice, Perspectives of New Music, Music Perception, and way more on JSTOR.

    I would also recommend getting familiar with counterpoint and set theory, if you haven't already! My recommended books on counterpoint are by Robert Gauldin, A Practical Approach to 18th-century Counterpoint and the 16th-c. version as well. It's called "a practical approach" because Gauldin does not teach via the species method. (I tend to find species unrelated, anyway—species counterpoint is a good and important exercise, but not exactly the same idea as 16th- or 18th-c. writing.) For set theory, I recommend Joe Straus's Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory. It's expensive for such a small book; unfortunately, this is a fact of life for any book about 20th- and 21st-c. music, since copyright laws make publishing them quite expensive. You might be able to find older editions for cheaper.
u/ichbineinewhore · 8 pointsr/suggestmeabook
u/Iasper · 7 pointsr/musictheory

Persichetti's 20th Century Harmony might be exactly what you're looking for.

u/ILikeasianpeople · 7 pointsr/musictheory

Because you have an issue of constantly writing in the same key, I feel like your issue won’t be solved by just learning about modal interchange. I believe that thinking about harmony and phrase structure Functionally would be of more use to your process.

Every chord in a harmonic progression serves a function that can be broken down into 3 basic categories:

  1. Tonic Function (Major: I, vi, iii) (Minor: i, bIII, bVI)

  2. Subdominant Function (Major: ii, IV) (Minor: ii^o , iv)

  3. Dominant Function (Major: V, vii^o ) (Minor: V, #vii^o )

    Each chord flows to the next, so a progression from:

    Tonic -&gt; Subdominant -&gt; Dominant -&gt; Tonic

    Is atypical. It’s important to note that Tonics can come after a subdominant (T - SD - T), and the subdominant can be skipped and a tonic can lead directly to a dominant (T - D - T). Tonic chords can also lead to other Tonic chords (T - T), the same goes for subdominants and Dominants (S - S; D - D) so our new chart would look like this:

    Tonic -&gt;&lt;- Subdominant -&gt; Dominant -&gt;&lt;- Tonic

    Harmonic progressions serve functions as well, and you can reduce almost every harmonic progression can into 3 basic categories (some would say there are only 2, but I prefer to think about it in terms of 3):

  1. Prolongation (when you prolong any harmony by skipping or omitting a harmonic Function between 2 chords, or simply repeating the same harmonic function back to back) to for example:

    I - V - I

    I - IV - I

    i - ii^o - i

    V - I - V

    iv - i - iv

    I - vi

    IV - ii

    ii - ii^6

    I - vii^6/5ø - I^6

    Etc etc

  2. Cadential function (when the sequence of chords flows from T - SD - D - T) ex:

    vi - ii - V - I, iv - V - VI, ii - vii^o - V - I, ii - I6/4 - V^7 - I

    Etc etc

  3. Sequential function: when harmonic root movement moves in a fixed pattern. this can, and often, defies normal “chord logic” of a T - SD - D progression. You escape sequential movement by using a Cadential Function set of harmonies. Sequences are really good ways to migrate from one key center to another, or to just provide a continuation before a cadence in the home key. Diatonically, there are 6 kinds of sequences: ascending and descending 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths


    (by ascending 4th) vii - iii - vi - (ii - V - I)

    (By descending 2nd) V - IV - iii - iii - (ii - V - I)

    (Descending 4th) I - V - ii - vi - (V/V - V - I)

    Etc etc etc etc

    You can interject prolongation and cadential functions in between each sequential chord: I (V - I) - ii - (vi - ii) - iii - (vii - ii) etc. you can also tonicize each chord in the sequence: I - vii^o / ii - ii - vii^o /iii - iii etc etc etc

    Phrase functions are also a thing, and these are strongly linked to Harmonic Progression Functions this is where both the theory behind natural chord progressions and sets of harmonic progressions come together. Understanding and being comfortable with phrase functions is extremely important.

  1. Presentation (Prolongation; a small basic idea (b.i.) That repeats twice)

  2. Continuation Function (Sequential, Cadential; a fragmented (smaller, incomplete) interpretation of the previous material that repeats, can lead into a cadential progression)

  3. Cadential Function (Cadential)

  4. Antecedent Function (Prolongation -&gt; Cadential) (basic idea, b.i., followed by a contrasting idea, c.i. that leads to a half cadence)

  5. Consequent Function (the same basic idea followed by a varied version of the contrasting idea into a Perfect Authentic Cadence)

    In a typical musical sentence, you would have phrase structure that looks like this:

    Presentation -&gt; continuation -&gt; cadential

    A typical musical period looks like this:

    Antecedent -&gt; Consequent

    You can mix and match functions to your pleasure, (one b.i. followed by a continuation function; antecedent -&gt; continuation; antecedent -&gt; continuation -&gt; consequent; presentation -&gt; cadential; etc)

    Because you write rock music, adhering to Classical Formal structures is not gonna happen. However, each function and it’s interior components (b.i. , c.i., continuation, fragmentation, etc) are used in an altered way very very frequently.

    I did not cover modulation is this post, but I will link an article below.

    I hope this helps, bellow I will link some sites and books that could help with understanding these concepts beyond this post:


u/wsferbny · 7 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

This is due to the [overtone series]( Basically there are resonant frequencies when you play a pitch. You'll notice in the examples on the Wikipedia page that the first couple overtones are the octave, the fifth, and the fourth. So those intervals tend to share overtones, making them sound better together to our ears.

For example, the first couple of overtones where C4 is our fundamental are C5, G5, and then C6. For G4, the overtones would be G5, D5, and G6. That's an interval of a fifth.

A lot of this is related to the Western tuning system. Most Western music is equally tempered. Basically, when a piano is tuned, you're making a bunch of compromises so that everything sounds good together, even if it's not perfectly in tune. You could tune certain intervals perfectly, but then others would sound really bad, so we compromise.

Another thing about Western music is that we're all about building tension and then relieving it ^justlikesex and you can see this in a lot of common chord progressions. Take your standard cadence, G7 to C, for example. G7 is a fairly unstable chord and it's built so that the third and seventh, B and F, collapse really naturally into C and E, giving us a nice, stable C triad.

Music also operates similarly to comedy in that it's all about delaying and overturning expectations. Like three men walk into a bar. You've heard that before and have some idea of what will follow. But then someone says "the third one ducks" and that's a new one and that's funny, so you laugh. Music works the same one. Let's say we set up the classic I-V-vi-IV chord progression but instead of IV we do something else. That's new, that's interesting, and we like it.

Disclaimer: I'm really sorry if I screwed up some of the overtone series stuff, I have only a vague idea of how it works.

You can read an entire book on why we like the music we do -- check out This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin -- it's a great read!

u/kindall · 7 pointsr/Music

This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin.

u/hrm-uh-huh · 7 pointsr/musictheory

Nail + Head = Hit

OP: The best way to learn is by a combination of listening, reading, writing and (I think) most importantly, playing.

Some places you could start are, of course the master BACH. For something more contemporary, the band Cake actually used some quite sophisticated counterpoint.

Some reading can be done with schoenberg HERE (sorry, I couldn't find a PDF, but if there is a university library nearby, they should have a copy.)

The book simply called "Counterpoint" By Walter Piston is a good alternative.

What else? I read a really good Schenckerian analysis of Dark Side Of The Moon, once, but now I can't find it. It's a pity, because I remember thinking it would be a good way to get into it.

u/disaster_face · 6 pointsr/musictheory

20th century harmony goes fairly in-depth about all of those topics.

u/allemande · 6 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

For anything that involves advanced music theory, or more technical elements of music, your best bet (IMHO) is to stay clear from jazz/rock books or anything "popular" and read from traditional academic/classical composers. That is, if you're looking to understand music from a more historic point of view of how is was used, and how it worked for hundreds of years and how it still works today.

There are tons of good books out there, but off the top of my head I reccomend:

Regarding the art of counterpoint:

Preliminary exercises in Counterpoint - Schoenberg

Also, you could check out the traditional Fux's Study of Counterpoint, but I think Schoenberg's book is far more complete and incentive.

Regarding the art of Harmony:

For a long time I've always thought that books could educate you in any way, until I met my harmony teacher. After studying with her for a couple years I find it hard to believe how much information, technique, and art is missing from almost every book on the subject, some are exceptions, obviously, but my recommendation is that there is no better way of learning this but with personal intruction. Also, the teacher needs to be someone who has had a strong education in music from well-known masters of the past, as was my teacher.

Anyways, regarding harmony in the more poetical and theoretical sense I reccomend :

Rameau's Treatise on Harmony

and of course, Schoenberg's Theory of Harmony

For a more technical approach to harmony I haven't found any books I'm really fond of, but I do think that Paul Hindemith's book is a very good option.

For something in the middle I recommend this

Regarding form and structure in music:

Once again, I have never seen information and instruction similar to that which I received with my professors, however here are a few good picks...

Schoenberg's Fundamentals of musical composition

and 2 books that I found very useful were...
(these I didn't find on

from German composer Clemens Kuhn: "Formenlehre der Musik" (this is only in German)

and from Spanish composer Joaquin Zamacois: "Curso de Formas Musicales" (this is only in Spanish I believe)

Well, surely there are more books, but I think these are good options for you to start. However, always with a grain of salt

u/LeopardofSnow · 6 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

Hi there,

I would start with learning an instrument and music theory.

I started by learning the piano with really basic books - perhaps this could be of use to you:;amp;qid=1484745976&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=beginners+piano+book

I then started my understanding of Music Theory a short while after that, with the ABSRM Music Theory in Practice Grade 1 book:;amp;qid=1484746064&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=music+theory+in+practice+grade+1

After doing some beginners' piano books, I progressed to the ABSRM Grade 1 exam. There are 8 Grades in total, by the way. I just did mine when I was told I could by my teacher, but if you practice for 30 minutes per day you could probably learn all the stuff from nothing to Grade 1 in a term.

There are other requirements, such as knowing how to play scales and arpeggios, sing, and sight read (so you get to look at a piece for 30 seconds and then just have to play it - my most hated part of the exam!) - you may need books for them, too.

I would say when you have done the exam for Grade 5 Piano AND Grade 5 Theory, you will be ready to start composing. The best way to do that would be to take the exams themselves, as they are a very professional exam board.

Hope this helps! =)

P.S. The reason you've probably been downvoted is because it's quite insulting when someone just says "I have no knowledge and want to make music for video games". People understand you want to, but they put 10, 20, 30 years into the craft, and you come in looking for a quick and easy result. :P

P.P.S. If you look in the FAQ section of this subreddit located on the right-hand side, it should send you to the relevant places. Also check out the Game Audio and Game Dev subreddits eventually, but not now.

u/accomplicated · 5 pointsr/Beatmatch

Not specific to DJing, but I found This Is Your Brain on Music to be an invaluable resource. A few pages in and I was already a better producer/DJ.

u/schmarschmucks · 5 pointsr/musiccognition

I honestly think that learning some music theory will help. It gives you a deeper understanding of why things sound good when they do, and what things are likely to sound good together. To me, learning theory isn't really learning "someone else's music." Think of music like a language. Learning grammar and syntax won't stop you from making unique and beautiful sentences.
Also, I recommend reading This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levintin. Good luck! :)

u/EverForthright · 5 pointsr/AskWomen

Oof, that's a tough one. I really like Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber, This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin and Whipping Girl by Julia Serano.

u/RyanT87 · 5 pointsr/musictheory

&gt;It's perhaps the least romantic gift ever

Hahahahaha! I would definitely agree, though—I think the CHWMT would be an excellent book. If she goes through any sort of History of Theory course (which most PhD programs do), I can't imagine she wouldn't use this book. Even if she didn't have such a course, this book is a collection of (with perhaps one exception) excellent essays written by top scholars on almost every major theoretical approach or issue in the history of Western music.

I won't speak for other sub-disciplines—vornska's suggestions are definitely some of the central books in present theoretical studies—but let me make some suggestions for books more oriented towards Schenkerian analysis.

Schenker's Free Composition — this is Schenker's magnum opus in which he lays out his mature theory. For any Schenkerian, this is definitely a Bible of sorts, and a must-have. Just be sure, if you end up purchasing this, to get both volumes; one volume is the text and the second is the examples. You can also find the hardcover first English edition, sometimes even for less than the price of the two paperbacks.

Cadwallader and Gagné's Analysis of Tonal Music: A Schenkerian Approach — this has become the standard textbook for teaching Schenkerian analysis, and I still find myself referring to it after years of Schenkerian studies. A somewhat dry but very clear and beneficial book.

Schachter's Unfoldings: Essays in Schenkerian Theory and Analysis — Carl Schachter is one of the greatest Schenkerians; nearly everybody who's anybody in the world of Schenkerian analysis studied with him. This book is a wonderful collection of some of his greatest essays. His writing style is exceptional and his analysis are some of the best I've seen.

u/mladjiraf · 5 pointsr/musictheory

Music composition in medieval and early renaissance, and classical period can be analysed as pattern based.

Some good books -

The same can be said for many traditional/ethnic music styles. (Get any good book on X folk/pop/ethnic style depending on your interests,)

u/benprunty · 5 pointsr/gamemusic

Thanks! :)

I would say learn an instrument first and learn music theory on the way. Get an instrument and a good lesson book. Get this book too:

Then go from there! I have a lot of stuff on my blog about this too:

u/Sesquipedaliac · 4 pointsr/badmathematics

It's like he skimmed David Lewin's book on group theory for musical analysis and misunderstood large chunks of it. Which, to be fair, is relatively easy to do given how Lewin writes out some of his mathematical statements...

That's not to say that Lewin's ideas aren't good or interesting, but his writing style seemed to me to be too 'unclear' for mathematicians and too confusing for musicians (unclear referring to how I recall him notating some mathematical concepts). And I certainly don't remember him drawing such a hamfisted connection between group and music theories.

u/krypton86 · 4 pointsr/math

In the mid 20^th century, a fellow named Allen Forte successfully applied notions from mathematical set theory to "atonal" music and subsequently wrote an entire book on it: The Structure of Atonal Music.

This is a good introduction to a set theoretical approach to music theory, but it has been somewhat superseded by David Lewin's Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations, an altogether more rigorous and detailed exposition of similar ideas, generalized to explain a wider variety of musical thought.

You also may enjoy exploring the writings and music of Iannis Xenakis. He applied ideas from probability and statistics to music theory and came up with several stochastic compositional methods. You can read more about these in his book Formalized Music.

There are probably a dozen other books that have come out in recent years applying all manner of advanced mathematics to music, from algebraic topology to group theory, but I haven't read any of them so I can't tell you if they're bullshit or not. Sometimes contemporary music theory comes off as literary criticism mixed with psychology, and I find it suspect, frankly.

u/BenjaminGrove · 4 pointsr/composer

For orchestration, the Adler book is definitely the modern day definitive book, but as a high schooler, paying for the Adler is probably not on your to-do list. Instead, I recommend the Rimsky-Korsakov because it's free on IMSLP.,_Nikolay)

For composition, I recommend Persechetti's book, Twentieth Century Harmony. It's not really about telling you how to compose, it's more like an encyclopedia of possibilities and descriptions of what those possibilities sound like.

u/hobbes987 · 4 pointsr/askscience

I've got yet another book! "This is your brain on music" by Daniel Levitin

u/Karmitage · 4 pointsr/sounddesign

Online Articles
Designing a movie for sound by Randy Thom
The sound of Star Wars by Ben Burt
Plus most other articles on filmsound

Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound by David Yewdall
Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema by David Sonnenschein
This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin Not directly sound design but still very interesting and useful.

Sound Works Collection
Designing Sound
Film Sound

These are just some of my personal picks but I'm sure there are plenty more resources out there.

u/smokefillstheroom · 4 pointsr/piano

I do NOT want to discourage you - but I don't think there is a quick way to learn music thory. It takes time and practice and experience. But it is definitely possible! Just think of it as a language : the written dot on the staff corresponds to a pitch - just like an a corresponds to the sound a. It must become natural. So I guess my advice is to read a LOT of music. Every day, if possible, and of different styles (classical, modern etc.) If you want your pieces to really sound original, you have to know what others have written before you - and learn from their craft.
That being said, I think there is a good deal of great books about harmony that you can read to guide your development, I will list a few here :

  • Arnold Schoenberg : Theory of Harmony (A bit tedious to read, but with great many examples)
  • Arnold Schoenberg : Fundamentals of Musical Composition This one is great but a bit advanced; I suggest you read it when you master the harmony basics.
  • Carl Schroeder &amp; Keith Wyatt : Harmony and Theory: A Comprehensive Source for All Musicians This one is recommended, but I didn't read it myself.
  • Barbara Wharram : Elementary Rudiments of Music. This one I grew up with. Very straightforward and clear.

    Might I suggest that you play all the examples and excercies at the piano so that you train your ear to hear what you see.

    Also, you might want to contact a piano teacher and take lessons for a year... or two. Technique is a great part of playing, and is very difficult to learn on his own.

    Sorry for the long post, but I love music and want to help a fellow player. Also, sorry for potentialy awkward sentences, english is not my first language.

    Hope this helps!
u/ralphstrickerchapman · 4 pointsr/musictheory

It is probably true that everyone who has aspirations to become a composer should read Fux at some point, but there are other books on the subject that might be more accessible to someone who's just starting out. Schoenberg's book is excellent. There's also Harold Owen, for a less rigorous, more inclusive approach.
In my opinion we are doing our students a disservice in not teaching them that clefs are movable objects. With three clefs and five lines, one can represent every pitch on every line or space in several different ways, which is more important than it seems. If you can imagine a change of clef (and key signature, if necessary) at the far left side of the page, you can transpose anything to any key at sight.

u/gtani · 4 pointsr/violinist

Do you just want to read alto, bass and tenor clefs or do you want to learn basic chord construction, cadences, voice leading, jazz chord scales, stuff like that?

The theory books by Wyatt/Schroeder and Edly's are good starts:

u/tmwrnj · 4 pointsr/Guitar

Quality is much more important than quantity. You can play a ton of guitar without really learning very much. Conversely, you can get a huge amount of benefit from fairly short practice sessions.

  1. Get a metronome and use it. You don't really know how to play something until you can play it cleanly and at tempo. When learning something, play it at the slowest tempo you can manage and gradually increase the tempo. Rhythm is a vitally important part of guitar technique that is often overlooked. You shouldn't always use the metronome as you can become dependent on it, but it is an essential practice tool.

  2. Mix it up. Start a practice session with some scales and arpeggios to warm up, move on to a piece you're learning and finish with something that you know quite well. There's strong scientific evidence to show that alternating between different kinds of practice is much more effective than solid blocks.

  3. Get a teacher. Teaching yourself is fine, but a good teacher can save you a huge amount of frustration and wasted effort. Books and YouTube videos are great resources, but they can't spot problems with your technique or figure out what obstacles you need to overcome.

  4. Get out of your comfort zone. Learn songs in different genres, learn styles that you wouldn't normally play. Start playing with other musicians and performing live before you think you're ready. There's no substitute for the fun of jamming with a friend or the challenge of playing in front of an audience.

  5. Learn theory. Not everyone enjoys it, but it makes a huge difference to your competence as a musician. At the very least, you should aim to know all the notes on the fretboard, the major and minor scales, the dorian and mixolydian modes and be able to recognise and construct intervals and chords. There are many approaches to learning theory, but I'd suggest this book as a good starting point.
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/generalT · 3 pointsr/space

meh, not really. please read this book for more details.

u/charcoalist · 3 pointsr/Learnmusic

There's also a free, Berklee Intro to Music Theory course on edX. It says enrollment is closed, but I'm still able to view the lessons once I log in.

I'm new to learning about music as well, and this book has been very helpful: How Music Works. It's written very conversationally, not too technical, with great explanations of core concepts.

Also picked up The Complete Musician, which is very technical.

For writing software, Muse Score is free.

I'd also recommend getting a midi keyboard as well, if you don't already have one.

u/MapleToothpick · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

Writing short little concentrated pieces is a very good idea. Try creating as much material out of the smallest idea you can. I like to pick a small little theme/motif and just run with it.

The piano music I've been listening to includes; Scriabin (I have a book of his Piano Sonatas on my desk right now), Bartok, Prokofiev, Roslavets, Mosolov, Bach, and Beethoven. If you like Scriabin then I suggest going on youtube and listening to Roslavets and Mosolov, they write in a very Scriabin-esque fashion.

Books, I personally love reading about music. I do a lot of reading about composers and about harmonies and stuff. Wikipedia is a good place to start, but it's certainly not a definitive source. Persichetti's book on harmony is a good book for harmony, it certainly helped me think about harmony in different ways. And Modernism in Russian Piano Music is very good if you're looking to mimic Scriabin/Prokofiev and other composers of that musical language.

u/TheThirdLife · 3 pointsr/musictheory

Music Theory Remixed by Kevin Holm-Hudson, is a great book that covers all the typical concepts of a four semester university theory course (Theory I through IV) but supplements all the concert music examples with music from pop music. It's pretty fantastic. Sort of like a more relevant Tonal Harmony... I think it's fun to hear modern examples of cadences, modulation techniques, etc. along side examples from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc.

Tonal Harmony, by Kostka and Payne, is in my experience the most commonly assigned text for Theory I - IV courses. It's very good.

Straus' Introduction to Post-Tonal Harmony, is incredible. This book helped me fall in love with post-tonal music. If you need to study post tonal music, this is the book to get.

u/workaccountoftoday · 3 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

There's a book I've been wanting to read but haven't yet: This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

If you've got more free time than me go for it, but I'm extremely interested in studies on the subject. I think music is something bigger than we understand so far and I want to find the answer.

u/CalibanDrive · 3 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I would strongly recommend looking up the book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by the late and inimitable Dr. Oliver Sacks. Also the book This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Prof. Daniel J. Levitin

u/andyesandy · 3 pointsr/synthesizers

Not sure the right answer is, would assume it’s oscillator As I think freq of vibrations is the first thing our brain registers. Check this book if you have not already.

u/themusicgod1 · 3 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

Whatever music you grew up listening to[1], your brain will basically wire itself to recognize things about that music as "good". Although vynil can provide quite high audio quality, most of the reason that people still like it years later is that it has a 'warmer' sound, that is, the ways in which the sound is imperfectly played are picked up by the human audio recognition system, and even if you don't realize it, this familiarity makes the music sound better to you. Same goes for 8-bit -- if you grew up in the 80's, you probably were dosed with heaps of the stuff, and adding it to music in the right way, whether 'it' be the static-fuzz percussive sounds, the kinds of filters on simple sin waves that a typical 8-bit sounds system wound up with, these things probably sound 'good' to someone who grew up with them.

[1] This is your brain on music, daniel levitin

u/nastierlistener · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

Try Theory of Harmony by Schoenberg and The Study of Counterpoint by Fux. If you don't mind reading somewhat dated texts these could work well.

u/and_of_four · 3 pointsr/piano

Try checking out Arnold Schoenberg's Theory of Harmony. It's not about his 12 tone method, it's a book on tonal harmony.

u/amaraNT2oo2 · 3 pointsr/synthesizers

Music Theory for Practical People was a textbook for my high school intro to music theory class. Very casual, doesn't "feel" like a textbook at all, and with lots of cheesy illustrations (for better or for worse)

u/ItsTheManOnTheMoon · 3 pointsr/musictheory

It can be a little bit twee at times but Edly's Music Theory for Practical People is quite good.

u/just_some_gomer · 3 pointsr/Bass

I really enjoy the book "Edly's Music Theory For Practical People"

it's nice and straight forward, goes deep but not too deep that it's over your head, and has fun little drawings throughout.

edit: sorry it's not "online," but it's a really good book and I bet you could find a .pdf online.

Scott's bass lessons on youtube are great, too, and eventually lead me to join his online bass community.

u/underthelotus · 3 pointsr/Guitar

You'll also want to stare at this diagram for a while. Look for patterns. Each interval has a different pattern. Start by learning octaves, then perfect fifths (power chords), perfect fourths, and major and minor thirds.

Did you know the guitar is tuned in perfect fourths, except for the G to B string which is a major third? Fourths is a kind of interval, btw. The guitar is tuned EADGBE and E to A is a perfect fourth, A to D is a perfect fourth, D to G is a perfect fourth, G to B is a MAJOR THIRD, and B to E is a perfect fourth.

Intervals are the distance between two notes. Each interval creates a different sound. Intervals can be harmonic (played at the same time), or melodic (one note played after the other). Major third is typically considered "happy," minor third "sad."

Did you know that unlike a piano the guitar contains unisons? That means there are multiples of the same exact note on the fretboard. This is not the same thing as an octave.

So for example, if you look at the diagram, on the 24th Fret on the low e string, there is a yellow "e" note. That same exact note is found at the 19 fret on the A string, 14th fret on the D string, 9th fret on the G string, 5th fret on the B, and it's the note sounded by playing the open high e string.

EDIT: you might also want to buy a book on music theory. There's a lot of info on the internet, but sometimes it's easier just finding it all in one place. This book is pretty good.

EDIT 2: A 24 fret guitar (most guitars aren't 24 fret, but for convenience sake I'm going with it) has a range of four octaves (E2 to E6).

To see what that would mean on a piano, see this:

Also, to know how many octaves there are on a piano, you take the number of keys (88) and divide by 12 (12 notes per octave). You get a little over seven octaves.

So that might lead you to believe that on a guitar you take the number of strings (6) times the number of frets (24), which gives you 144 notes, which you then divide by 12 (12 notes in an octave), giving you 12 octaves on the guitar. But as I said earlier, it doesn't work like that. Because unlike the piano the guitar has multiples of the same note.

u/NickCorey · 3 pointsr/Guitar

My advice is to buy some books. There's a lot of info on the internet, but it's all spread out and often chopped up into pieces, which can make it a bitch to make sense of. If you're going to go the internet route, though, check out (not affiliated in any way). The vast majority of the lessons are free and the music theory section is completely free, not to mention very good.

Regarding books, this is a great, easy to read book on music theory that won't hurt your head. I'd start either here or with guitarlessons365.

For guitar books, Fretboard Logic is a must read. Definitely buy this. It focuses on the 5 position system (CAGED). If you're interested in learning the 7 position system for the major scales and other 7 note scales, check out guitarlessons365.;amp;qid=1348759781&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=fretboard+logic

After that, I'd check out this as well.;amp;ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1348759708&amp;amp;sr=1-1&amp;amp;keywords=guitar+theory

Worth checking this out as well.;amp;ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1348759937&amp;amp;sr=1-3&amp;amp;keywords=guitar+theory

Here's another important book. I'd probably buy this last, though.;amp;ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1348760257&amp;amp;sr=1-1&amp;amp;keywords=jazz+theory+book+by+mark+levine

u/RiffWizard · 3 pointsr/Guitar

start small and work your way up. Elementary Rudiments of Music. Learning theory is about learning music, not just guitar.

For learning guitar, I like fretboard logic.

And as a reference guide and rut breaker the Guitar Grimoire

u/SweetDestruction · 3 pointsr/musictheory

This workbook that really helped me get theory down. Almost everyone I know who's versed in theory used it, including myself. I'd recommend getting the answer key too. It's cost can put people off, but you gotta look at it like an investment in your music, and it's far cheaper than any school textbook.

u/GuitarIsImpossible · 3 pointsr/Guitar

I used an android app called note reacher and these books

I see no advantage at this point to reading music after working on it for 5 months and becoming fairly competent. I'm glad I learned but it has not added to my ability to make music. Maybe in the future it will pay off.

u/touchmybutt420 · 3 pointsr/ableton

See if you can find "The Art of Mixing" at the library. That book was very helpful.

This is a great music theory book as well:

u/Meowsolini · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

If you're interested in Post-tonal music at all, I think you're ready to start tackling the basic concepts of it. I recommend this book (find a used copy of course. It's ridiculously overpriced).

u/olpaulie · 2 pointsr/apple

Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory By Joseph Straus is my personal favorite in terms of discussing the 12 chromatic pitches of Western music in an objective and mathematical sense, but it really is more of a textbook for composing 12-tone and serialist music. Still a great read and tremendous resource. Any book on acoustics will discuss the repeating patterns in wave propagation that are responsible for our experience of pitch and harmony, but that will contain little info on music theory per se. Hope this helps! Also check out Vi Hart's videos if you're interested in weird theory stuff.

u/amaxen · 2 pointsr/history

Mokyr's The lever of riches link

u/K_Rayfish · 2 pointsr/musictheory

It's true that there's a ton of great information online, but books present the info in an organized, trustworthy fashion. Online learning should be fine for more introductory music theory and common practice period harmony, but once you're looking into more advanced stuff, check out these books:

-20th Century Harmony by Vincent Persichetti

-Contemporary Harmony by Ludmila Ulehla

u/dkulma · 2 pointsr/musictheory

Playing two chords at the same time is also called a polychord. Vincent Persichetti's "Twentieth-Century Harmony" has a good section on polychords.

u/HashPram · 2 pointsr/musictheory

You could do worse than pick up a cheap copy of Persichetti.

u/_wormburner · 2 pointsr/musictheory

Here's some other stuff for people interested:

Joe Straus' Introduction to Post Tonal Theory

u/Canvaverbalist · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

&gt; Rhythm comes built into your body. You have a heart beat and if you close your eyes in a quiet room you can feel and hear the blood pumping in your ears. Your body is designed to be rhythmic.

Complementary reading:

(WARNING: I'm not an expert on anything, this is me trying to push an idea that I like upon which I've done no serious research at all, approach with skepticism and caution!)

I remember reading in The Ego Tunnel by Thomas Metzinger (which I don't have anymore and can't go back to) how the synchronicity of our neurons firing played a major role into creating this layer of self-vs-the-world feeling essential in creating a sense of consciousness in the human brain, to the point that a slight delay could have been at the source of some sorts of schizophrenia like feeling totally disconnected with the world or at the opposite of the spectrum a feeling of being only one with our external stimulus. (I found this, but haven't read it yet to ensure of it's content: )

So it's not just the rhythm of our hearts, it's actually the brain connecting everything at the same time (the lights from that apple hitting your eye, the breeze of the wind, you arm moving, your sense of balance - bref, bringing all your senses into one self contained experience) and keeping this sensation as a regular and predictive "tempo" is also essential.

Music plays with and satisfy that sensation. "My arm will take that glass - yep, it did, I have control over it" and "The snare is gonna hit really soon - yep it did, I'm still in contr-- wait what's that sound? This is interesting I didn't predict that! I bet it will be there again... yep there it is!"

Please! Feel free to correct me or add to it, I find this is a fascinating subject.

COMPLEMENTARY READING: "This Is Your Brain on Music" by Daniel Levitin,

u/ChanceParticles · 2 pointsr/musictheory

Daniel Levitin - This is your Brain on Music

Great book. Guessing it would be right up your alley.

u/pianocheetah · 2 pointsr/piano

Not disagreeing with ya - looking forward to that source :)

I thiiiink my source was but it might have been some other brain book. I think I've been through about 4 in the last 2 years. They are (annoyingly) not loaded with details. The brain is still a pretty serious mystery. But new techniques for study have been found very recently. One that makes the brain transparent! Oh yeah! Also subscribe to - It's always interesting.

So I'm hoping that science will have the brain all figured out before I croak.

u/KFBass · 2 pointsr/self

Read the book "This is your brain on music"

EDIT: sent that too fast. Here is the link to amazon

Great book. I think it might be right up your alley.

u/steamwhistler · 2 pointsr/askscience

I'm definitely not qualified to answer your question myself, but I've been wanting to learn more about this subject as well and I was recommended this book by a few people. I think both of us would find it very informative!

Amazon link

u/memyselfandennui · 2 pointsr/OkCupid

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession Sound engineer turned neuroscientist talks about brains and music. Dude basically has my dream career.

u/Brianomatic · 2 pointsr/Guitar

This is your brain on music. The idea that when something musical surprises us, you know you might let out a little snicker and think "wow that's really good" or "interesting I wouldn't have done that but I like it" is like an inside joke we can appreciate. I can't help but think of that all the time now. Also the fact that we are programmed from a very early age to interpret and appreciate music. Just a great book in my opinion.

u/UpHereInMy-r-Trees · 2 pointsr/Music

I'm too dumb to explain it myself, but I've read this book twice and it could help you too... ["This Is Your Brain on Music"] (;amp;qid=1495052092&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=your+brain+on+music)

u/Draxonn · 2 pointsr/adventism

Music absolutely affects our mind, but that doesn't make it evil. The interactions are very complex and we are only beginning to understand them. If you're interested in this, I recommend these two books to begin:

This Is Your Brain on Music


u/will42 · 2 pointsr/Music

There's an interesting book on the subject, written by Daniel J. Levitin. It's called:

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of A Human Obsession

Oliver Sacks has an excellent book on the subject as well:

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

u/ggasca · 2 pointsr/indieheads

Currently reading This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin. It's fascinating.

u/BrockHardcastle · 2 pointsr/edmproduction

Both this book by Levitin, and this book by Sacks address it. Both are great reads. Side note: I believe the Levitin book came out before the Sacks book. Sacks wrote a glowing blurb in Levitin's book, and then Sacks wrote a book on nearly the same thing. I found it weird.

u/ZedsBread · 2 pointsr/Psychonaut

Hmmm. I mean basically, music is organized sound. Nobody's really sure why, but for some reason there are certain frequencies that we associate with positive and negative emotions, and certain frequencies that we deem "unpleasant-sounding".

I'm not super knowledgeable on music theory actually. I just know what sounds good and what doesn't. You should read up on the Pentatonic Scale, the Pythagorean theory of music, and also this wonderful book I'm reading.

u/eerock · 2 pointsr/musictheory

Another upvote for Musimathics (both volumes actually). I'm an engineer as well, and the wealth of mathematical foundations of music is all there. But it's maybe not as accessible.

As may have been mentioned before, take a look at a recent book 'for the masses' called This is your brain on music: The science of a human obsession.

u/DiminishedUnison · 2 pointsr/piano

The discipline you're looking for is a little more specific; you're looking for the History of Music Theory. Luckily for your boyfriend there's this glorious/awful son-of-a-bitch book.

The "how" and "why" of music theory is way more complex than evolution. Spend a little time with this book, and you'll find yourself scoffing at the idea of a teleological view of music. The tl;dr truth of why we do music the way that we do is because theory is a hot mess of style conflicts, nationalism, culture-wars, dogma, religion, mathematics, and science.

This book will be difficult to understand without a solid background in theory, but perhaps getting some of the "whys" might motivate you both toward investigating the "hows" and "whats" of musical construction.

source: PhD. music theory.

u/ArcaneBanjo · 2 pointsr/banjo

&gt;G above the first measure shows that the song is in the key of G.

I don't mean to make things more confusing or distract from the original question, but that's not quite right; the F# just before the 4/4 time signature is what shows that the song is in the key of G. (The 4/4 time signature tells you that there a 4 quarter notes to each bar, giving you that common 1-2-3-4 count.)

As others have said, the 'G' indicates the chord that accompanies that measure - it's informational, not something you're supposed to somehow simultaneously play along with the melody. Think of it this way: Say you get together with a guitar player who knows how to play chords, but doesn't know the melody for "Go Tell Aunt Rhody." They can still play along with you by counting along and following those chord changes indicated above the music. Likewise, if you get together with other musicians and they have something like the Fiddler's Fakebook, you can play along with them even if you don't know the song; you'd just follow the chord changes and play banjo chords to back up the melody.

Regarding key signatures/music theory in general check out Edly's Music Theory for Practical People, which is a good introductory guide. Some people will tell you that you don't need to bother with music theory for banjo/folk music, but it really helps in terms of understanding why you play certain chords to accompany certain keys, etc; it can make the difference between learning by rote memorization, and learning by developing an intuitive understanding for how notes, scales, and chords fit together.

u/foggyepigraph · 2 pointsr/mandolin

It's sort of a combination of simple note reading, experimentation, and adaption to the instrument. Process:

  1. The key is key. Figure out the key. With the sheet music in front of you this is really a matter of reading the staff notation and then figuring out whether your piece is major or minor (C and Am have the same key signature, G and Em have the same key signature, etc.). You can usually figure this out by listening to the last measure of the piece for its flavor, major or minor (usually).

  2. In each measure, read the notes in each voice and write them down. The notes will tell you which chords are likely.

  3. Now a little guesswork. You need to figure out which chord is appropriate to each measure. Usually this involves knowing a bit about chord progressions and phrasing (generally simple in hymns). If you can sing the melody, guess the chords and sing while playing them. Let your ear be the guide; if it sounds right, you are good to go. Also, it is not necessarily the case that only one chord will work with a given measure (if this was a functional relationship, someone would have written a computer program to deduce the chords for each measure).

  4. Chord voicing. You will want to find the best way to play the chord on the mando. This gets into questions of voice leading, maintaining a good bass line, etc. Often your ear will be a good guide here.

    Step 3 can involve adapting your chord to your instrument. For hymns, you probably won't have to worry about this a huge amount except for seventh chords, and there are pretty extensive charts available for mando seventh chords.

    But really, after all is said and done: This is a pretty easy thing to do, if you know some basic music theory. If not, I think the closest I can get to ELI5 is (a) go read this and this, then (b) go arrange the hymns for mandolin.

    I'll try to post an example later this week (arrgh, not on vacation anymore, so much less reddit) for a simple hymn. Or PM me with a scan of a hymn and I'll try to mark it up and show you what I am talking about in steps 1-4 in the context of an example.

    EDIT: Another way to practice this chord writing skill: Get a book of hymns with guitar/piano chords already marked, and try out the process I outlined above. This way you can check your answers. This is not a bad start. Heck, it may have everything in it you want already.
u/Jongtr · 2 pointsr/musictheory

This is a classic. This is a more recent one , and it's always a good idea to have at least two sources for theory.

Remember that making music is more about learning songs, listening and copying - i.e., learning the practices by ear (or from songbooks). Theory will give you all the terminology to help organise the information, to make sense of what you're learning, but you can actually make music (compose or improvise) with very little theory knowledge - just by copying the sounds you like. That's how most of the great pop/rock songwriters (and guitar improvisers) learned their craft.

u/Akkatha · 2 pointsr/Guitar

I have this one at the moment;amp;qid=1472771251&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&amp;amp;keywords=guitar+theory

Excuse the formatting, on mobile and I suck at the app!

It's been pretty good so far, makes a lot of sense and I'm definitely learning. That being said I've not really had to knuckle down and actually study anything since uni, so it's taking longer than I'd like to!

Good luck :)

u/vagina_spektor · 2 pointsr/Guitar

Elementary Rudiments of Music. If you truly want to get an understanding of theory, stay away from any book that claims to be "theory for guitar players".

u/pianomayer · 2 pointsr/piano;amp;qid=1536923603&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=elementary+rudiments+of+music

I'm currently working through the rest of this book that I've had forever but have not finished for whatever reason. Honestly amazing book. Challenges you but builds up to the hard parts. Inverting augmented 2nds to diminished 7ths, chords and cadence knowledge. This book has a lot to work on and digest.

u/shrediknight · 2 pointsr/Music

I have my students use the books by Mark Sarnecki, my only issue with them is that they don't include quite enough exercises to practice on. For that I use the Barbara Wharram book, there's tons to do in there. Once you get past theory, you need to go into harmony (Sarnecki also has books for that), and possibly counterpoint, particularly if you want to understand more about classical music. You can also go into jazz harmony, which branches out somewhat into its own thing.

I'll tell you what I tell all of my students: theory doesn't actually work without application. It quickly moves into nearly abstract concepts if you have nothing to apply it to. Since you're a guitarist, I'll recommend Fretboard Harmony by Jeffrey McFadden. It's geared toward classical players but the rules of harmony aren't going to apply to any other style of playing quite as readily. Don't get into it (or really anything about harmony/counterpoint) until you've learned your theory rudiments.

u/chrmicklus · 2 pointsr/edmproduction

If you're not a fan of trial and error then study music theory. That's the "magic formula" for lack of a better term you're looking for.

You need a complete understanding of theory in order for it to work, it's much like math. What you're asking is for someone to teach you long division when you don't understand multiplication, addition, and subtraction. Music theory is cumulative. It really can't be summed up in a post because you need to apply it in context.

Not to be a dick but 10,000 hours is what you need to get good at any craft whether music, production, or otherwise. If you're not willing to put in that level of work, then I'd quit now while you're ahead.

If you are, I'd recommend this book here. It's the most orderly and logical theory book with a focus on composition that I've personally ever come across.;amp;qid=1464280205&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=the+complete+idiots+guide+music+theory

u/damien6 · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Pick up some basic music theory knowledge. As ridiculous as it sounds, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory is actually pretty well written and informative:;amp;s=books&amp;amp;qid=1254261425&amp;amp;sr=8-1

Personally, I run Propellerheads Reason 4 and Record.

My MIDI controller is the M-Audo Axiom 49:

My audio card is Native Instrument's Audio Kontrol 1:

As mentioned, Ableton Live is amazing. I picked up Live 7 LE a while because I thought it had ReWire capability, but it doesn't. I am planning on upgrading to a full version. I'm lusting for the Akai MPC-40 and Maschnine. Live really comes alive with the addition of VST instruments. While you can find them for free all over the net, some of the best will cost you extra money (see Native Instrument's line of VST's).

u/Gizank · 2 pointsr/Guitar

I haven't read the other book recommended. The first theory book I made it all the way through was The Complete Idiot's Guide. It's very well organized and presented in an informal enough way to break the topic in easily. It's not instrument-specific, but neither is theory. With some familiarity under your belt, I would look for something at your school or a continuing-ed type musicianship class at a local music school if you're not a student.

In my experience, you will cover a lot of information before things click together, and then one day, Pop! the framework behind it all makes sense. Then you will find yourself asking, "Is that really all it was?"

u/Walter_Bidlake · 2 pointsr/math

I don't know much about it, but you may want to look at The Topos of Music.

u/mstergtr · 1 pointr/composer

This book lays set theory out in an easy to understand way:

Of course, most books are only going to describe the theory, composing is a whole other story.

u/DGComposer · 1 pointr/musictheory

This is a standard numbering system for PC set theory (an analytical method used mostly used for atonal music), it does elucidate some fun fact about tonal music though!

I would look at Joseph N Straus's Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory is usually the book people start with Sharp inhale when looking at the price (

You might also try this website (only half complete unfortunately) that was done by one of my theory teachers

Or this free online textbook that covers a lot of basic concepts in theory

u/Cactusbiter · 1 pointr/musictheory

Laitz is what we used for theory, but the way to approach different things is different amongst different people...

Edit: [Straus] (;amp;ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1376717704&amp;amp;sr=1-4&amp;amp;keywords=theory) for base 12/12 tone

Edit 2: Don't forget that looking at various texts is another great way to think about understanding how different composers approach things, so once you learn a fundamental way of slapping labels on things, actual music is the best way to learn theory. Also, check out [this.] (

u/jta314 · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

You can combine with what you learn in that book with a little more flair and flavor, from this book: Twentieth Century Harmony. But if you can only get one. Get the Fundamentals of Musical Composition above.;amp;ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1518151206&amp;amp;sr=1-1&amp;amp;keywords=Twentieth+century+harmony

u/Tedius · 1 pointr/musictheory

I recommend Persichetti's Twentieth Century Harmony instead. I think you may find it closer to what you are looking for.

u/aotus_trivirgatus · 1 pointr/musictheory

I have no single favorite chord. But if I shared my whole list of favorites, I would be giving away all my compositional secrets!

Here's one though. I like this monster:

B♭2 A♭3 C4 E4 G4 B5 D5 F#5 B6

Those doubled B♮ notes over the B♭ bass ought to sound like a train wreck -- but they don't, thanks to the other supporting notes.

As to how to hear it or parse it, you can treat it as a polychord: in slash notation, perhaps Bm / B♭13#11? That's how you are likely to play it at a keyboard.

Alternately, read composer Enrique Ubieta's thoughts on the idea of augmented 15th chords, which Vincent Persichetti also considers in his Twentieth-Century Harmony. I think the notes in this stack mesh well enough that you are less likely to hear it as a polychord, and more likely to hear it as a dominant 13#11 with a #15.


u/jazzyjacck · 1 pointr/musictheory

Some Books that I have that are good are:

Twentieth Century Harmony by Vincent Persichetti

Theory of Harmony by Arnold Schoenberg

A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony and Melody by David Liebman

u/lleettssggoo · 1 pointr/getdisciplined

Great that you know what you want to do with the webapp. As said, break into small chunks and conquer. Even to the point of 'sit at desk', 'open computer'... so small that it's impossible not to do them. On the days where that's too much, just imagine yourself doing it. This will create cognitive dissonance and make you want to do it. This video shows you how.

Yeah work your way up to jamming. Play along CD's like Aebersold are great to start with.

First step is to learn the Cmaj scale fingering. Once you have that, move up a string and you have the Fmaj fingering. As said, practice around the circle of 5ths.

I'm living abroad too ha ha. I know exactly how you feel. I recommend reading this book.

u/CallMeChe · 1 pointr/books

I would look into This Is Your Brain on Music. I don't know for sure if it's as psychological as you're looking for though, or more physiological, since I haven't read it but it's been sitting on my bookshelf for a long time.

u/scoodidabop · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

Go check out "This Is Your Brain On Music" by musician and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin check it out here. Amazing book. Anyway I'll try to summarize some of the ideas behind human preference for the 4/4 meter. So you know tally marks right? Try writing out tally marks more than four in a row. It starts to get confusing to count! Most people can't really count more than 4 straight lines next to each other in a row at a glance (although some really crazy people can count 8 or more that way!) so we adopted the cross tally for the 5th mark. Birds, for example, get confused after seeing groups of 2 or 3 (can't remember which... maybe 3). So birds can tell if the difference between a predator that's alone and one that's with partner, but perceive more than 3 as basically also 3.

At the end of the day it's a limitation of our wiring. We like 4/4 because anything beyond that becomes very difficult to perceive and "feel" for most people. I imagine alien species with more advanced brains go to nightclubs for some 9/7 music. Weird.

EDIT: added amazon link. Damn good book!

u/aitigie · 1 pointr/Drugs

Sorry, I should have specified that it doesn't cause permanent changes. As far as science knows, at least.

And thanks for the book to check out! If you like learning about why our brains get up to odd shit, check this out. I found it to be quite an interesting read.

u/MiserubleCant · 1 pointr/AskReddit

If you want a detailed answer, this book is pretty decent. I searched amazon for "brain on music" to find the link and saw quite a few other books on the subject which look relevant, although I haven't read myself to personally recommend.

u/ChaiGuevara · 1 pointr/askscience

I'm not aware of any specific study that directly addresses your question, but based on existing, similar research, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a correlation.

The Mozart Effect has long held that listening to classical music potentially increases spatial-temporal reasoning, a skill highly core to success in mathematics. As classical music is obviously purely instrumental, perhaps there is an inverse link in which mathematically-minded people tend to be more attentive or appreciative of patterns rather than lyrics.

If you're interested in a more in-depth read about how our brains interpret music, and what makes us like the music we like, I'd highly recommend reading This Is Your Brain On Music. Again, I don't recall the book addressing any studies that directly answer your question, but there's a lot of intriguing information to gain if it's a topic of interest to you.

And since everyone else is, I may as well add in that I too am mathematically-minded and tend to focus on pattern more than lyrics.

u/whitecleats · 1 pointr/whatsthatbook
u/spectrometric · 1 pointr/books

A really focused book is "This is Your Brain on Music" by Daniel Levitin. It is (obviously) focused on music and how the brain perceives it, but has some other basic knowledge of how the brain works.

u/sir_earl · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

I don't know. There is a book called "this is your brain on music", which is great for this exact topic. I don't really know too much about the brain beyond the basics. I have the book, but I'm in the middle of a few other books so I haven't read it yet

u/Tommishh · 1 pointr/audioengineering

Not exactly sound, but This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin is a great read. The author is a musician turned neuroscientist who pretty much analyzes how sound/music is understood by humans

Edit: just realized you were specifically looking for an audio book. I don't know if there is one

u/GuitarGreg · 1 pointr/metalmusicians

If you want more information about this, read This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin. Another cool one is Musicophilia by Dr. Oliver Sacks, but that one is more about brain disorders that cause very strange music-related phenomenon. Like the inability to detect pitch, or sense melody, and other weird stuff.

u/stinky_buds_iii · 1 pointr/trees

upvote but i respectfully disagree. i think a lot of guitarists feel more relaxed when they're blazed and more "in the zone". also ya i've heard the same about improv too.

here's a good book that talks about music and your brain:
this is your brain on music (amazon)
i thought it was kind of interesting

u/luxbwin · 1 pointr/ADHD

I would read musicophilia and this is your brain on music. I found them to be both fascinating and full of information on earworms.

u/shadfresh · 1 pointr/musictheory

I don't think science will be ever to fully explain the beauty of art (specifically music), but I think it can help us gain at least some understanding as to why we love it.

This book helped me:;amp;pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&amp;amp;pf_rd_t=201&amp;amp;pf_rd_i=0525949690&amp;amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;amp;pf_rd_r=04RCE4HM6JAF6YNB7QZ5

(sorry I don't know how to link)

u/BeowulfShaeffer · 1 pointr/piano

It would help if we knew more about your own level of knowledge too. For instance I could recommend Schoenberg's Theory of Harmony or Levine's Jazz Piano Book but those books expect a lot out of their readers, so you may be better off with simpler books.

One book I liked a lot was Carl Humphries The Piano Handbook. It doesn't assume you know much and goes over a lot of material without a lot of depth. It might be a good starting point. It has something to say about pretty much every musical style from 1400 to today.

EDIT: I just reread your post and see you already have the piano handbook.

As a six-month player you probably need to work on physical technique more than anything. And you'll need a teacher for that. :( Can you find one to even meet once a month for 30 minutes?

u/Experience111 · 1 pointr/piano

If you really have your basic chords and scale theory down, I would recommend a book that was recommended by my teachers : Arnold Schoenberg's Theory of Harmony. It is a very deep theory book that challenges a lot of the preconceptions that existed (and still exist) before its realease around 1910. I started reading it and it is a great book indead, though I lack some elementary knowledge to get the best out of it.

u/raoulduke25 · 1 pointr/christianmetal

I would start with Arnold Schoenberg's Fundamentals of Musical Composition and Theory of Harmony by the same author. The former is more of a slow-reading reference with examples for study and replication. The latter is a dense and thought-provoking page turner.

None of my works have been recorded. The best I could do is to post a PDF of some of them if you're interested in having a look at them.

u/cmattis · 1 pointr/futurebeatproducers

Well, my best advice (if possible) is just to pick up any book that has a combination of scales and basic chord progressions (like this one:;amp;qid=1343850716&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=piano+chords+scales) and spend a few months working everyday learning them on piano or a keyboard. When you're making a song if you know ahead of time what key you want to write it in and then limit yourself to the notes available in that scale you'll find that you feel a lot more in control. If that's not possible you could try to pick up a music theory textbook, but in general those tend to be geared almost exclusively towards people that are going to be composing with pencil and paper (AKA Sibelius) in the Western Classical tradition so a lot of the rules they impose early on (avoidance of parallel/hidden fifths and octaves, some of the rules dealing minor scales) won't really apply what so ever to the stuff you're trying to do, but if you're interested in doing modulations (fancy smancey word for key changes) or utilizing weird scales like the half diminished you're probably gonna want to pick up a music theory textbook eventually.

NOW if you wanna go really deep down the rabbit hole, I'd pick up this book:;amp;qid=1343851092&amp;amp;sr=8-3&amp;amp;keywords=schoenberg

It's partially a music theory textbook but it's more an investigation into why harmonic structures work the way they do. Schoenberg's theory relating bass notes to chords completely changed the way I make music.

Hopefully that wasn't too confusing.

u/JeanLucSkywalker · 1 pointr/musictheory

Hands down, no question: Edly's Music Theory for Practical People. It's approachable, humorous, and very effective. It also has a lot of exercises that would be great in a classroom.

u/TronIsMyCat · 1 pointr/AskReddit

This book is very good.

u/doctorpogo · 1 pointr/musictheory

I use Edly's Music Theory for Practical People with some of my students, and I find it super useful for exactly the kind of thing you're talking about.

Yeah, it starts out really simple, and yeah, it's full of dumb jokes and goofy cartoons. But it gets to the good stuff (higher tertian chords and how to voice them) really quick, and makes good sense of it. A lot of theory books are more like notation analysis manuals than theory books - this one doesn't ignore or avoid notation but isn't about it, it's about using theory in your playing and composition more than post facto analysis.

u/MilesZS · 1 pointr/Music

I've been working through this book:;amp;s=books&amp;amp;qid=1256044776&amp;amp;sr=8-1

I sort of love it, though take that with a grain of salt, as I haven't finished it. It's not your typical music theory book -- it doesn't come across as dense, pompous, or tedious. I have taken a rudimentary music theory course before, but already I feel as if I understand a few of the concepts much better, thanks to the explanations in this book. Read the other Amazon reviews, too. (Also, it can be had for a bit cheaper from small bookstores via Barnes &amp; Noble's website.)

If you do get this book, actually go through with the exercises that appear throughout. I've found them helpful in reinforcing the concepts presented. (Who would have thought that the exercises would actually fulfill their intended purpose? ;-)

u/rogueoperative · 1 pointr/musictheory

Scrape together $15 and buy this book: Edly's Music Theory for Practical People. It's inexpensive, very simply laid out, and has exercises you can work through to learn the fundamentals of music theory and then logically build to more advanced theory. I sit down with this book for about an hour every day and start from whatever chapter I feel 100% comfortable with and work through to whatever section I struggle with. At first, I could only get through 10 or so pages before I was overwhelmed. Now, I can work through to page 75 or so before I get a little lost. And I still have about 100 pages to go. The book isn't instrument specific, but it's helped my ability to improvise on bass within a given key immensely.

Otherwise, prioritize saving money for applied instrument lessons. It can actually be done. You just might have to give up your coffee or fast food/restaurant indulgences for awhile.

u/mylittlesoapbox · 1 pointr/piano

This is the one recommendation I have from his teacher. I think his age is causing a bit of problem with finding something to comfortably recommend as this one came with "may be to advanced". She's been rolling in theory with his lesson as the pieces he works on provide pathway to it and always has. My son just wants more study thus my quest for recommendations.

u/MrFishy5555 · 1 pointr/violinist

Beautiful violin!

I don't know how well-received this book is, but it's what my university uses for it's music major Theory courses. I've enjoyed it so far. I also really enjoyed this book when I used it in high school. The Suzuki volumes are a decent place to start repertoire-wise - especially if your teacher doesn't use the Suzuki method. Depending on whether you're interested in pop/classical/etc. different books can be recommended as well.

u/TomandMary · 1 pointr/musictheory

The Barron's Guide is actually pretty good. There are a few inaccuracies and oversimplifications, but it is written specifically for the AP exam. Exercises and recordings for all topics, practice exams with answers, and probably most importantly, strategies for the Free Response questions. With the way the exam is scored, if you don't do well on the FR questions you probably won't pass.

All of these other suggestions are good, too, especially the one about trying to get a teacher.

u/WoJiaoMax · 1 pointr/Guitar

By guitar theory, do you mean music theory that applies to guitar? If so, here is a music theory book that helped me a lot:

I read it all, did all the exercises (which forced me to re-read the chapters in order to fully complete the exercises) and by the time I was finished, so many things fell into place.

u/thentertamer · 1 pointr/makinghiphop

Not to go out on a tangent as I know you were looking for free online resources, but I purchased The Everything Music Theory Book from Amazon for $13 as an aid for learning music theory. It can be useful to have the information in paper form in front of me while I follow along to videos on similar subjects of music theory.

u/Sermoln · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

Download a piano app, we're going all in.

While it's downloading, think of all the songs you heard or sang as a child.

Happy Birthday or Mary Had a Little Lamb are great examples (and you should look up how to play them when we're done here!)

These songs are in a "major" key, which basically is what we associate with happy in music.

To understand, check out this diagram I made.

Play the "major" notes, all white keys, in order. Notice the note labeled B next to the top note, C? This is what gives major keys the sound we love so much: the leading tone. Between most notes, you will see a black piano key. But between E and F, along with B and C, we have nothing.

Alone, no two piano keys next to each other have this effect, but because we started on C, the B is leading us into C again.

So basically, major keys make us feel happy and complete.

But within a major key, there is a lot more going on. For example, there are major and minor "chords"

&gt;Minor chords in a major key? What's going on?

Yes that's right! In fact, within the white keys is another key signature which we call "A minor." Test it out now and play it through!

You'll notice, unlike in C major, we do not have a leading tone in this sequence of notes (which we call a scale).
You may also notice that these are technically the same notes as before, don't get too hung up on this!

What you need to know is that in these two scales there is one big difference, the leading tone. In minor keys we don't experience the completeness that major keys have to offer, so they sound a lot more ambiguous and we don't know where they're going.

Both key signatures though, use both types of chords (in fact, there are many other types of chords). If you want to play around with this, play alternating notes together (C-E-G, D-F-A, etc) and you'll notice that some sound very different than others. But they're all white keys!

In short, the difference between A minor and C major is where we start. In C major, we want B to move into C. But there's nothing inherently happy about C or sad about A, it's just where we start, and what notes are played accompanying these notes.

Part of our association with these sets of notes is because of sound-waves and how our ears interpret them, and part of it is because we are raised listening to a lot of major sounding music.

We listen to this music because its a lot easier to sing, not because it's inherently happy. So it's kinda confusing.

I'm sorry if this didn't make sense, I spent a lot of time on it but I have to acknowledge that I'm only just getting into music education and still have a lot to learn.
I'd be happy to answer any questions.

Please check out these resources. Do not shy away from music theory, it will only make you enjoy listening to music more!

Videos by Adam Neely

Why is major "happy"?

Which key is the saddest?


How music works

The Everything Music Theory Book

edit: formatting

u/UnlimitedBladesWorks · 1 pointr/fingerstyleguitar

It sounds like you have a good foundation both in what you have played and your knowledge of tab. I’m assuming that you mean ‘solo’ fingerstyle guitar (just one guitar but no voice) or fingerstyle as accompaniment to singing. In any case, the best place to start is with Travis Picking. More specifically, the styles of “Merle Travis” and “Chet Atkins.” Learning Travis Picking, even if you don’t pursue it, is an essential foundation to everything else you will do. An online program called True Fire ( is an incredible place to go and is very oriented toward teaching you fingerstyle. Even Tommy Emmanuel teaches there! Beyond that, just listen to others. Listen closely to many pickers of many genres and styles, then pick and choose what you do and don’t like to create your own style. Finally, learn basic music theory (if you haven’t already). Music theory is in my opinion, a very important but often missed aspect of guitar. I wish you good luck, and I hope you found this helpful!

Some supplementary books I would recommend:

For music theory:;amp;qid=1540820080&amp;amp;sr=8-6&amp;amp;ref=sr_1_6

For Merle Travis Style:;amp;keywords=merle+travis+guitar+style&amp;amp;qid=1540819852&amp;amp;sprefix=Merle+Travis+guit%2Caps%2C164&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;ref=sr_1_1

For Chet Atkins Style:;amp;qid=1540819891&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;ref=sr_1_1

u/Gomerisms · 1 pointr/Guitar

I've been using The Practical Guide to Music Theory for Guitarists but Joseph Alexander . It's helped me with how chords are constructed and how intervals relate to harmonization. It builds slowly, is in plain English and has many practical examples.

I've been playing for not very long, less than a year.

The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitarists: Second Edition

u/kathrynallison · 1 pointr/Guitar

these two books in this order: Rudiments of Music (boring but worth it) and fretboard workbook

with this one as a supplement: theory for guitarists

and this one wouldn't hurt: Fretboard roadmap but may be a bit repetitive if you already got it all figured out

u/EvilErnie · 1 pointr/Guitar

I know you asked for free, but...

Buy this book

Or download it from a torrent site, whatever.

u/robotomatic · 1 pointr/musictheory

Read 'Elementary Rudiments Of Music' by Barbara Wharram

amazon link

u/Ferniff · 1 pointr/Bass

oh shit! Didn't realize that was today. Thanks! I have Idiot's Guide to Music Theory (later edition I think). I havent read any other guides, but I like this one.

u/candyA25 · 1 pointr/singing

You mentioned you're motivated enough to practice for an hour or two. Did you ever consider teaching yourself Basic Music Theory?

Get this book. I bought it a few weeks ago to start teaching myself as well. It comes with a CD of exercises you can complete. This could be a good starting point onto other books to buy in the future. For example, one of my goals is to play Jazz Guitar someday. My plan is to finish the Complete Idiots Guide, then move onto this.

This way, you wouldn't be dropping money for a college degree. Combine a few lessons with your studies, watch singing lesson YouTube Videos, and who knows where you might end up! Then you wouldn't have to rely so much on your teacher. My voice lesson teacher used to be cancel on me often, so I understand how frustrating that can be.

u/theunsaturated · 1 pointr/musictheory best guide for music , it has some tough excersices to help you get command on theory quickly , it'll take you 20-30 days ( if ur consistant ) to finish the book . Pretty much advance stuff that u won't find in a beginners guide..

u/breisdor · 1 pointr/musictheory

The Complete Idiot's Guide is a surprisingly good resource. I taught myself from this book in 6th grade and ended up with a strong command of theory before high school.

Once you get what you can from that, try
Kostka and Payne. From my understanding this is a very popular book for college theory classes. It also has a workbook that can be useful.

If you spend 20 minutes a day studying theory, you will have a solid foundation in no time.

u/Exotera · 1 pointr/edmproduction

Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory (don't mind the silly name) is the best book I've ever read on the subject. Written in a way that's clear and easy to read and never talks down to you.

Go do yourself a favor and get this wonderfull work.

u/AngelTC · 1 pointr/math

The topos of music is a famous example of this. Topos theory is as abstract as you can get in mathematics and there seems to be a lot to be said using this language.

I can't really comment on this since I haven't read it, but maybe someone else can chime in.

u/xiipaoc · 0 pointsr/ClassicalMemes

&gt; clearly schoenberg never took a theory class


u/christianitie · 0 pointsr/math
u/buriedabovetheground · -4 pointsr/violinist

Just start working on the Bach Sonatas and Partitas, It'll be confusing at first but keep pushing through slowly and you'll get more and more understanding. This is considered the daily bread of the famous virtuoso violinists. Definitely don't need a decent instrument it's all just wood and string, and don't bother trying to find a teacher they don't love music as much as you do. If you need info on learning the music try reading a theory book such as an introduction book. If you end up needing some inspiration try reading this book about some history of the violin

gg ez

u/CicconeYouth04 · -5 pointsr/listentothis

My comment below is from the standpoint of myself as a musician.
I get pissy towards most EDM artists, I've spent years working on hand eye coordination to play guitar and play it really well. They come in with a MIDI keyboard The Complete Idiot's Guide To Music Theory and everyone thinks it's the bee's knees.

Personally, artists like her and Grimes and every other chick/dude with a MacBook Pro and fancy software are an insult to artists like the Chemical Brothers, DJ Shadow and The Prodigy who spend months assembling tracks with tons of samples and individual tracks/instruments.

She is the direct representation of the downfall of music.

Anyone can become an Astronaut, but just because I buy a spacesuit and make rocket noises doesn't mean I actually am an Astronaut.