FORUM

Check out our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Music Theory
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
Avatar
Ripton
Vermont, Massachusetts or somewhere in between
Members

Regulars
October 9, 2018 - 10:21 pm
Member Since: November 2, 2014
Forum Posts: 388
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Okay, so my sight reading is improved (a bit) but I still rely mostly on playing things by ear. I'd like to advance my capabilities a bit but seem to be falling short and thought if I could get a better handle on the basics it may help. Thought? suggestions for a basic theory book that would be helpful.

 

Thanks

Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
October 10, 2018 - 4:36 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 646
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

I usually suggest Eric Taylor's 2 volumes of The AB Guide to Music Theory because they are small and cheap. And the Associated Board (of the Royal Schools of Music) is highly regarded in the UK.

These books start at the basics, but take you a long way, and some find it daunting. I suppose they take you to grade 8 theory exams, but I never had to go beyond grade 5. And also I guess they greatly condense what would be dealt with in a much more leisurely manner in a classroom.

You could try just volume 1 and see how you get on with it. (or there's also his First Steps in Music Theory, which I've never looked at)

It is sometimes possible to get the two volumes for a US cent each plus shipping, and they are only about 100 pages each, so if they are not for you, you didn't spend a lot of money. However, I've just looked at Amazon.com and they are not so cheap at the moment.

Note, please, that "sight reading" doesn't mean playing from music, it means reading a piece for the very first time only. After that, technically you are no longer sight-reading, you are just playing from music (although if you have a poor memory and sight-read a piece, then play it again a month later, the second time is as good as sight-reading). I don't mean that to sound pedantic, it's just that I've seen forums where there has been great confusion over this.

Andrew

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
October 10, 2018 - 7:46 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 464
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I second the suggestion of the AB Guide to Music Theory, though some of the terms (e.g. note values) will have to be translated to US English. I learned music theory out of those books. I understand that Volume I goes through ABRSM Grade 5, and then Volume II goes from there to Grade 8. You can think of Grade 5 as the basic theory that all performers should know; levels above Grade 5 are useful for performers but perhaps of more interest to composers and conductors.

(Though I'm American, I like to refer to ABRSM grade levels. Andrew F: note that the US is a total free-for-all with no grade system, which has both pros and cons.)

I actually think Tonal Harmony by Kostka & Payne isn't necessarily too difficult to follow. Yes, it's a conservatory level textbook. But the first few chapters start from the most basic stuff.

Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
October 10, 2018 - 7:58 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 646
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

AndrewH said
Volume I goes through ABRSM Grade 5, and then Volume II goes from there to Grade 8. You can think of Grade 5 as the basic theory that all performers should know; levels above Grade 5 are useful for performers but perhaps of more interest to composers and conductors.

In fact, to do practical exams above about grade 5 or 6, it is compulsory to have passed the grade 5 theory exam (which is why I did it). You don't ever use it - it's just one of those pieces of red tape.

Perhaps they think that if you are going above grade 6 practical, then you may be heading for music college and some basic theory is one of the entry requirements for that?

I'm just musing now - I suppose if you are playing a piece on the piano, it might help if you know what a perfect cadence is, lol!

Andrew

Forum Timezone: America/New_York
Most Users Ever Online: 424
Currently Online: Gordon Shumway, cid, Niklas
116
Guest(s)
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today Killerkhezu
Upcoming Ferret, HDuaneaz, vibaviattigala, BillyG, rsmith6322, zpilot, Rafael Gonzales, ACDSherlockian, NiloiV, jose6ph, Kody
Top Posters:
Mad_Wed: 2849
Barry: 2673
Fiddlestix: 2647
Oliver: 2439
DanielB: 2379
Kevin M.: 1969
damfino: 1933
cdennyb: 1814
TerryT: 1726
Ferret: 1575
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 3
Members: 26010
Moderators: 0
Admins: 8
Forum Stats:
Groups: 16
Forums: 58
Topics: 7975
Posts: 99445
Newest Members:
shannaup4, igulachuryic, ChristianhIede, soniame4, Humbrolychuryic, daryukhachuryic
Administrators: Fiddlerman: 14597, KindaScratchy: 1737, coolpinkone: 4169, BillyG: 2963, MrsFiddlerman: 1, Jimmie Bjorling: 0, SimplePressHelp: 0, peopleshost: 0