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#1376402 - 02/17/10 10:55 AM Theory Books
ABC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 38

1. I have no theory knowledge and i would like to start reading books related to the theory of music, musicology, music history etc.

Can you give me some suggestions?
2. Are there advanced books in academic level (not for starters of course, it is just a general question for later on).


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#1377269 - 02/18/10 10:56 AM Re: Theory Books [Re: ABC]
ABC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 38
Anyone? smile

#1377463 - 02/18/10 03:54 PM Re: Theory Books [Re: ABC]
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
I found The Enjoyment of Music by Machlis to be a good general purpose book for theory and history. I thought it did a good job of presenting many of the concepts in both areas without getting bogged down in minutia. So if you're looking for a nice overview book, that might be worth looking into. The version I have is quite old and I'm sure the editions have changed, but I would assume its still a good reference.
What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

#1377489 - 02/18/10 04:38 PM Re: Theory Books [Re: 8ude]
franzdwarak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/14/06
Posts: 76
Loc: Blue Ridge Mountains
Guide to Practical Study of Harmony by Tchaikovsky

try this, hard to get the original edition, anyway, the book is very brief, quite small for theory(brevity is the soul of wit...said shakespeare), of course the book itself has some limitations, first if you get it it might be a translation so not everyone follows it to the fullest extent and you might want to add other books for theories on counterpoint etc....may be discussed in this forum before for books on counterpoint.

#1377580 - 02/18/10 06:56 PM Re: Theory Books [Re: franzdwarak]
ABC Offline
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Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 38
Well, i really am looking for comprehensive books not just nice and good ones. smile

#1377594 - 02/18/10 07:14 PM Re: Theory Books [Re: ABC]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 12004
Loc: Canada
Barbara Wharram, Elementary Rudiments of Music - what the RCM theory exams are based on.
It has three levels: preparatory, intermediate, advanced. Each level covers the same rudiments in greater depth. You start at the very beginning: note names, note values, lines & spaces. The sections that are covered in greater depth each time are scales, intervals, chords, time signatures. It's over 300 pages, mostly exercises. At the last level you're doing some analysis, modern scales and modes, transposing into different clefs and keys and types of scores, and writing a few simple phrases and cadences. It precedes harmony as I understand it.

#1378042 - 02/19/10 10:53 AM Re: Theory Books [Re: keystring]
ABC Offline
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Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 38
That sounds better. Any more?
By the way, you meant that the RCM entry requirements are based on this book, or the actualy studies in RCM?

Edited by ABC (02/19/10 10:57 AM)

#1378057 - 02/19/10 11:27 AM Re: Theory Books [Re: ABC]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 12004
Loc: Canada
The theory book goes with three levels of theory exams. A student who has passed his practical (playing) exam in gr. 5 can only get a certificate if he also passes Preliminary theory rudiments. Intermediate goes with gr. 6, while the advanced is shown anywhere between gr. 7 - gr. 10. The other subjects they examine following this are harmony, counterpoint, history and analysis. There is no rule saying one has to study for an exam. It seems a handy template.

I'm doing harmony theory now at the first level. To do harmony theory, you should have an idea of what the different types of chords are (major, minor, dim, aug), what the dominant or mediant chord is. You should have an idea about intervals and a host of other things. The rudiments give you those things, so that when you start to use them, they are there for you. At least that's how I'm experiencing it. Wharram is dry going. It's not a fun book but it's thorough.

Edited by keystring (02/19/10 11:31 AM)

#1378142 - 02/19/10 12:56 PM Re: Theory Books [Re: keystring]
ABC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 38
What is gr.?

#1378182 - 02/19/10 01:40 PM Re: Theory Books [Re: ABC]
Harmonies Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/10
Posts: 30
Gr. is short for Grade. It's a system to differentiate levels of abililties and knowledge.
"Have patience with yourself. Your future is ahead of you. Rome was not built in one day." - Liszt

#1378310 - 02/19/10 04:38 PM Re: Theory Books [Re: Harmonies]
ABC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 38
I thought so.
It is a single book, right?
When you say advance level (regarding the book) - how advanced is it?

#1385943 - 03/01/10 08:53 PM Re: Theory Books [Re: ABC]
Peacemaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 23
Loc: usa
Hi ABC, there are two books by Eric Taylor that takes one through music theory. These are based on the UK royal board music exams,for which there are 8 grade levels. Book one takes you through the fundamentals, i.e to grade 5, while book two attends to theory related to grades 6 to 8. These two are succint and easy to read and does the job nicely, without overwhelming the reader - which the writer assumes to be a beginner - especially at the book one level. Hope this helps.


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