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#2031029 - 02/11/13 09:46 AM What are the best music theory textbooks or resources?
xphotography Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/20/10
Posts: 18
I'm having a hard time finding an answer to this question, and was hoping I could find some help here. So, what's the best music theory book for a beginner looking to progress to an advanced level.

Online resources are also welcome; really, I'm looking for anything that's helpful for a student.

Thank you!


Edited by xphotography (02/11/13 10:07 AM)

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#2031087 - 02/11/13 11:43 AM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I like Mark Sarnecki's materials:

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/composers/Mark-Sarnecki/14848

Depending on what you're looking for, the Complete Rudiments or Harmony books might be best.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2031174 - 02/11/13 02:06 PM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
Serge Marinkovic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/09
Posts: 347
Loc: United States
I would recommend Tonal Harmony by Stefan Kostka [http://www.amazon.com/Tonal-Harmony-Stefan-Kostka/dp/0073401358/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360609458&sr=8-1&keywords=tonal+harmony] this is the sixth edition but the seventh is out i just cant find it. Or Harmony and Voice leading by Edward Aldwel [http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=harmony+and+voice+leadingl]. I have used both to understand music theory. It used for up to 3-4 different music theory classes. Both really explain the subject so much better than anything else I have read. Good luck its a lot of fun.
_________________________
Serge P. Marinkovic, MD


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#2031196 - 02/11/13 02:43 PM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
alex s Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 39
Loc: san antonio
musictheory dot net is probably the best free one I have come across to lay a foundation. I would master that first then go to a textbook. Music theory textbooks may be a bit dry for the uninitiated.

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#2031239 - 02/11/13 03:30 PM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada
I teach with the Sarnecki materials -- the ratio of examples to practice exercises is right for me, and I like how he explains the concepts.

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#2031452 - 02/11/13 08:01 PM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
tomtomasino Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/10/13
Posts: 10
Walter Piston's book is still good, after all these years. Don't know the title offhand though, but you can easily find it.

Tomasino

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#2032568 - 02/13/13 04:33 PM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6160
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Although I already knew most music theory, I have recently purchased Robert Greenberg's Understanding the Fundamentals of Music because I find his courses great, and so far I am happy with it. It is not a music theory course in the traditional sense anyway.

http://www.thegreatcourses.com.au/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=7261
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2032732 - 02/13/13 09:25 PM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Mark Sarnecki is really good, he goes in-depth (but sometimes makes things more complicated than they really are):
http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/composers/Mark-Sarnecki/14848

Grace Vandendool is also good; she structures things differently:
http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/composers/Grace-Vandendool/15686

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#2032742 - 02/13/13 09:53 PM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: xphotography
So, what's the best music theory book for a beginner looking to progress to an advanced level.

What are the "best" tires to have on your car? What is the "best" part of the world in which to live? It really depends upon your expectations and desires.

Tomasino has already mentioned the Walter Piston text HARMONY, and if you are looking for a comprehensive resource that covers it all, that is the one. The single shortcoming with the Piston is that he does not treat much in the neo-classical, twentieth-century realm. However, to truly understand neo-romantic, neo-classical, and serial techniques, one will need everything in the Piston text as a foundation on which to build.
Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2032920 - 02/14/13 09:53 AM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1255
Loc:
Anyone knows a good, pedagogically good modal harmony book?

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#2033221 - 02/14/13 06:26 PM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6160
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Dolmetsch is not bad for being free.
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2033271 - 02/14/13 07:51 PM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 540
Loc: California
If you want "Pop" music theory, Piston may be overboard.

Try Mark Harrison's "Contemporary Music Theory"
_________________________
Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.

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#2033278 - 02/14/13 07:58 PM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6160
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I liked these books too. They are not big books, but if you master them both you have a solid foundation.
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2033473 - 02/15/13 12:53 AM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1131
Loc: San Francisco, CA
I thought Walter Piston had the market cornered. I asked the same question over on CMG and somebody came up with Xenakis. The Piston Counterpoinr book is also good - we used it for advanced in graduate school. Roger Sessions has one out there (I used to live in his house...osmosis, you know)...

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#2033639 - 02/15/13 10:19 AM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5282
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I bought a second hand copy of my college music theory textbook (Allan Forte, Tonal Harmony in Concept and Practice) for next to nothing.

The individual who originally bought the book appears to have never used it.

I specifically like the Forte textbook for the keyboard exercises at the end of most chapters. Those exercises alone are worth what you might pay for this textbook.
_________________________
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#2036715 - 02/21/13 02:00 AM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: xphotography]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
As far as free internet resources are concerned (you'd be surprised how comprehensive some resources prove to be), I've worked (and still do) - and encouraged other members, as well - to compile the best in this thread here: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1948785.html

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#2036721 - 02/21/13 02:11 AM Re: What are the best music theory textbooks or resources? [Re: Auntie Lynn]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8934
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Auntie Lynn
I thought Walter Piston had the market cornered.

I think he still does, much like Harold Gleason has the organ methods cornered. Stainer was used for many years in the UK, but Gleason's method is... well there is simply no comparison.
_________________________
Jason

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