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Basic Music Theory: How to Read, Write, and Understand Written Music

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Basic Music Theory takes you through the sometimes confusing world of written music with a clear, concise style that is at times funny and always friendly. The book is written by an experienced teacher using methods refined over more than ten years in his private teaching studio and in schools. Lessons are short, well-paced and enjoyable. Whether you're a beginner of any a Basic Music Theory takes you through the sometimes confusing world of written music with a clear, concise style that is at times funny and always friendly. The book is written by an experienced teacher using methods refined over more than ten years in his private teaching studio and in schools. Lessons are short, well-paced and enjoyable. Whether you're a beginner of any age, whether you're an experienced player who wants to bone up on your theory, or whether you teach music and need a fun way to do it, you'll find this book valuable and will refer to it again and again. You will discover how easy it is to: * Learn quickly and efficiently with easy lessons designed by a professional teacher. * Learn the symbols used in written music. * Understand the terms musicians use. * Learn the piano keyboard and the guitar fretboard. * Use memory devices to learn terms and symbols. * Use the included study guides to remember it all. * Apply what you have learned with short, easy Practical Use sections at the end of each Chapter. * Tune in to radio shows, television shows and the Internet to find musicians demonstrating great music. With Interludes On: * How to practice. Some topics: equipment, how to improve, ear training, listening, private teachers. * Conducting. What does all that arm-waving mean? How does it help? Find the answers and learn how! * Learn Some Italian. Many musical terms are in Italian. Learn them in this section. * Ultra-brief history of music notation. Special Features: * Piano Keyboard w/ Note Names * Guitar Fingerboard w/ Note Names * Practice Aids * Staff Paper * Specially Designed Reviews * Practical Use Exercises * Extensively Cross-Referenced * Musical Terms Dictionary * Book Index * If you are a teacher, you might be interested in the FREE Teacher's Supplement. It contains quizzes and keys, each with four different versions to curb cheating.


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Basic Music Theory takes you through the sometimes confusing world of written music with a clear, concise style that is at times funny and always friendly. The book is written by an experienced teacher using methods refined over more than ten years in his private teaching studio and in schools. Lessons are short, well-paced and enjoyable. Whether you're a beginner of any a Basic Music Theory takes you through the sometimes confusing world of written music with a clear, concise style that is at times funny and always friendly. The book is written by an experienced teacher using methods refined over more than ten years in his private teaching studio and in schools. Lessons are short, well-paced and enjoyable. Whether you're a beginner of any age, whether you're an experienced player who wants to bone up on your theory, or whether you teach music and need a fun way to do it, you'll find this book valuable and will refer to it again and again. You will discover how easy it is to: * Learn quickly and efficiently with easy lessons designed by a professional teacher. * Learn the symbols used in written music. * Understand the terms musicians use. * Learn the piano keyboard and the guitar fretboard. * Use memory devices to learn terms and symbols. * Use the included study guides to remember it all. * Apply what you have learned with short, easy Practical Use sections at the end of each Chapter. * Tune in to radio shows, television shows and the Internet to find musicians demonstrating great music. With Interludes On: * How to practice. Some topics: equipment, how to improve, ear training, listening, private teachers. * Conducting. What does all that arm-waving mean? How does it help? Find the answers and learn how! * Learn Some Italian. Many musical terms are in Italian. Learn them in this section. * Ultra-brief history of music notation. Special Features: * Piano Keyboard w/ Note Names * Guitar Fingerboard w/ Note Names * Practice Aids * Staff Paper * Specially Designed Reviews * Practical Use Exercises * Extensively Cross-Referenced * Musical Terms Dictionary * Book Index * If you are a teacher, you might be interested in the FREE Teacher's Supplement. It contains quizzes and keys, each with four different versions to curb cheating.

30 review for Basic Music Theory: How to Read, Write, and Understand Written Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cass

    I abandoned this about a quarter of the way through. The book is immature. Too many fonts on a page, silly titles that give no indication as to the contents of the chapter. The book overuses quirky icons to let the reader know something important is being said -- somewhat akin to the "dummies" books. I read it as an ebook, but I am wondering if it may be intended as a high school textbook. The music theory is dumbed down spectacularly. Explaining in great detail whether the stem of the note goes I abandoned this about a quarter of the way through. The book is immature. Too many fonts on a page, silly titles that give no indication as to the contents of the chapter. The book overuses quirky icons to let the reader know something important is being said -- somewhat akin to the "dummies" books. I read it as an ebook, but I am wondering if it may be intended as a high school textbook. The music theory is dumbed down spectacularly. Explaining in great detail whether the stem of the note goes above or below the head. Lots of words are used when an illustration would often serve better. When the staff is introduced the hand is displayed as a good pneumonic, but I never understood for what.. So I could remember that a staff had five lines and four spaces.. Seems overkill. The book begins with a long (boring) history lesson which would probably have been more interesting if I had wanted to read history. I didn't. I wanted basic theory. I feel like this is a junior high textbook... But if so, why was it sold as a cheap ebook?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Denisse Garza

    I really liked this book, more than I expected.. I have seen some reviews saying that this book is "immature", because of its comical style, but I think that it's its strongest feature, since studying music doesn't have to be a pain in the ass, specially for a newbie like myself :) who at 24 years old just started studying piano. This is a great reference book, and I see myself coming back to review some information. I am also planning to buy the book "Practice of practice" by the same author :) I really liked this book, more than I expected.. I have seen some reviews saying that this book is "immature", because of its comical style, but I think that it's its strongest feature, since studying music doesn't have to be a pain in the ass, specially for a newbie like myself :) who at 24 years old just started studying piano. This is a great reference book, and I see myself coming back to review some information. I am also planning to buy the book "Practice of practice" by the same author :)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Page

    totally friendly

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    I almost stopped reading this as it came across as extremely basic, and almost childish, but as you get into the later chapters it feels like the author decided to abandoned his "dummies guide to..." info graphics and began actually focusing on the material. The first 3/4 of the book is all the basic stuff you learned in 3rd grade about the various notes and symbols, but once you get passed that it is a nice meaty crash course in the structures of music. Considering after reading it I now know any I almost stopped reading this as it came across as extremely basic, and almost childish, but as you get into the later chapters it feels like the author decided to abandoned his "dummies guide to..." info graphics and began actually focusing on the material. The first 3/4 of the book is all the basic stuff you learned in 3rd grade about the various notes and symbols, but once you get passed that it is a nice meaty crash course in the structures of music. Considering after reading it I now know anything about music theory I would recommend this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    This book combined easy stuff I learned in band starting in 4th grade with stuff not covered even after I majored in music. As an instrumental person, I learned notes and scales before we focused on rhythms. It was interesting forcing us to see and read both the major clefs: treble and bass. Some rather odd mnemonics to learn the lines and spaces. As a flute player, I didn't even know there was a rhythm clef. I did learn somewhere along the way about the C clefs: soprano, alto & tenor, but I neve This book combined easy stuff I learned in band starting in 4th grade with stuff not covered even after I majored in music. As an instrumental person, I learned notes and scales before we focused on rhythms. It was interesting forcing us to see and read both the major clefs: treble and bass. Some rather odd mnemonics to learn the lines and spaces. As a flute player, I didn't even know there was a rhythm clef. I did learn somewhere along the way about the C clefs: soprano, alto & tenor, but I never had a use for them myself. Major and minor keys of course, even modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, and Aeolian, okay. Just don't ask me to explain or play the modes. And then be really loses me when he gets to blues scales, bebop, Persian, Insen and Super Locrian. I can cope with whole tone scales: there are only 2 and I use them to warm up. Seeing the pentatonic scale is cool though. He gets into chords and chord extensions, which are apparently of use in jazz. I play a melodic instrument and not much jazz, and don't get much into chords. He gets back into my ballpark with double flats, even double sharps (more of use in orchestra than band, for flute at least). The weird time signatures are familiar from much of the music I've played: 5/8, 7/8, even 11/8 and 13/8. They're sometimes fun and it's always entertaining watching the conductor for these. I do like that in the quizzes for each section, he gives the answer and page number to go back to if you're stuck or just fuzzy on some concept. Each chapter has a quote at the beginning. I really like a quote from harpist Wanda Landowska: "I never practice. I always play." In other words, even in the practice room, always make music. Even with scales. Even with rhythm practice. Other quotes come from Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Benjamin Franklin, Rumi, James Galway, Thoreau, Nietzsche, Stravinsky, and many others.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stefano Zanella

    Despite the odd, maybe outdated, e-book format I found this book as, I found it a very digestible introduction to music theory. The chapters are focused and short, things are repeated multiple times and kept simple. Obviously the book is targeting children studying music at school, so the communication style is tailored to that age. From my point of view, the only thing I missed is some sort of explanation tying the concepts of key signatures, scales, chords and chord progressions together. I fin Despite the odd, maybe outdated, e-book format I found this book as, I found it a very digestible introduction to music theory. The chapters are focused and short, things are repeated multiple times and kept simple. Obviously the book is targeting children studying music at school, so the communication style is tailored to that age. From my point of view, the only thing I missed is some sort of explanation tying the concepts of key signatures, scales, chords and chord progressions together. I finished the book with the feeling I still don’t understand what are the rules of making music, what works and what not.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Bomfim

    I know this is only a "basics" book, but I'm already dissappointed at traditional music theory. Too focused on scales and harmonics, not so much on the philosophy of sounds and timbres. This book is good, but I would like it more if it focused on matters of pitch before it went on rhythm; the opposite way feels harder to grasp. I know this is only a "basics" book, but I'm already dissappointed at traditional music theory. Too focused on scales and harmonics, not so much on the philosophy of sounds and timbres. This book is good, but I would like it more if it focused on matters of pitch before it went on rhythm; the opposite way feels harder to grasp.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    This was an easy-to-read basic music theory book. It starts all the way at the beginning (this is sound! this is a note!) and works up to basic chord progressions and analysis. I bought this book as a refresher and to fill a couple of holes in my own knowledge of theory, and was very pleased.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jason Comely

    A basic but thorough overview of music theory. I wish the information was presented in a more novel or memorable way, but it's worth the read, and Jonathan seems like a congenial guy you could talk to and be inspired by. A basic but thorough overview of music theory. I wish the information was presented in a more novel or memorable way, but it's worth the read, and Jonathan seems like a congenial guy you could talk to and be inspired by.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie JNote

    I loved being able to learn more about music and gaining a better understanding of some of the things I’ve been doing while playing the keyboard. Some stuff I still may need to study more but everyday is a learning experience

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tome Addiction

    As a guitar player for over 30 years a great book to brush up on my theory.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rod Wilfong

    Very in depth, easy to read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Lynn

    Where to start, where to start? Let's start with the positive: Basic Music Theory has lots of humorous parts and it starts off very easy. The book provides mnemonic devices and other tricks to remember the facts of music theory. Additionally, at the end of each chapter there are practical activities that drive home the previous reading. At the back of the book, there are also a keyboard and guitar fret to use as a study aid during the reading and afterwards. Now, onto the negatives: I'm a big stick Where to start, where to start? Let's start with the positive: Basic Music Theory has lots of humorous parts and it starts off very easy. The book provides mnemonic devices and other tricks to remember the facts of music theory. Additionally, at the end of each chapter there are practical activities that drive home the previous reading. At the back of the book, there are also a keyboard and guitar fret to use as a study aid during the reading and afterwards. Now, onto the negatives: I'm a big stickler for proper English, grammar, and, especially in a book that purports to teach on a subject like music theory and includes examples, properly depicted examples showing that which the introduction says. I think that, in the 3rd Edition of a book, it's not a huge request. Unfortunately, this book did not live up to those simple requests. In fact, it would appear that a typographical error in one of the follow-up quizzes at the end of an early chapter was purposely crafted to spell out a swear. After I realized that there were errors in the examples intended to teach novices how to read and craft music, all other examples became suspect. If I didn't understand the concept, and I looked to an example for more information, how could I trust that the example would be correct? Whoever was the editor on this book deserved to have been fired. Toward the middle to the end of this book, I found myself reading anything other than Basic Music Theory. I even read the instruction manual for my new scale as a way to complete my before-bed-reading ritual, without reading this book. If I wasn't also a stickler for finishing the books I start, I would have put this book down.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rosebud

    Only completed the first two chapters before I had to return to the library. May buy this to use in teaching piano to my niece. I never had a music theory class. So far, the author seems to use a straightforward approach, touched with humor, that might be more pleasant than music theory's reputation. Only completed the first two chapters before I had to return to the library. May buy this to use in teaching piano to my niece. I never had a music theory class. So far, the author seems to use a straightforward approach, touched with humor, that might be more pleasant than music theory's reputation.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    This book goes back to basics and teaches the simple things from a point of view that is easy to understand. I can understand that some would be annoyed by the incredibly simplistic writing and somewhat childish format, but I think it makes it easier to read and.. well, it doesn't hurt to learn the basics again, now does it? This book goes back to basics and teaches the simple things from a point of view that is easy to understand. I can understand that some would be annoyed by the incredibly simplistic writing and somewhat childish format, but I think it makes it easier to read and.. well, it doesn't hurt to learn the basics again, now does it?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly McCubbin

    Nice, easy to follow, basic music theory primer with a breezy air to it. If you're new to theory, this should help. If you needed a refresher like I did, likewise. Again, it's BASIC. Don't expect much more difficult than disjunct chord movement and plagal progressions. But well put together for sure. Nice, easy to follow, basic music theory primer with a breezy air to it. If you're new to theory, this should help. If you needed a refresher like I did, likewise. Again, it's BASIC. Don't expect much more difficult than disjunct chord movement and plagal progressions. But well put together for sure.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Arvydas Sidorenko

    Beware - the theory is with an emphasis in piano.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nitasha

    3.5

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ibraheem

    I think it's a good book for beginners but for someones who know even a little about music it will be boring . I think it's a good book for beginners but for someones who know even a little about music it will be boring .

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hriday

    An easy reference guide ideal to keep handy for a quick brush up.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shari

    Excellent book, but only finished part one and two. I'll need to get this again so I can finish. There is so much to understand, you have to take it slow. Excellent book, but only finished part one and two. I'll need to get this again so I can finish. There is so much to understand, you have to take it slow.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Sorensen

    wanted to brush up on my music theory on a long plane ride. good read for that purpose.

  23. 5 out of 5

    shaun martin

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patti

  25. 5 out of 5

    BILL RAKES

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  27. 5 out of 5

    Madhu

  28. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joe

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