Best Music Theory Books to Build Up a Solid Musical Foundation

best music theory books

Music is a beautiful combination of vocals, sounds and instruments that taps into our greatest of emotions and brings them out. Music theory is the process of understanding how music works. Music theory examines the elements that construct a piece of music, including notation, key signatures, time signatures, and chord progressions. For hundreds of years, playing musical instruments was considered to be a gift from the Gods. From that time, books with musical theory are still highly valued and it's very important to have a comprehensive list of the best music theory books for learners. Music theory is a common language shared by musicians all over the world as it provides a framework for understanding and memorizing unfamiliar music. During composing, or writing songs, music theory gives a solid foundation to analyze and understand music in-depth.

Here you will get some best music theory books if you want to learn about the basic principles of music theory that will hep you to improve your skills as a musician.

Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory, Complete (Lessons * Ear Training * Workbook)-------------- (CD's Not Included)
Author: Andrew Surmani,Karen Farnum Surmani,Morton Manus
Published at: 01/01/1998
ISBN: 0882848976

Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory is mainly a compilation of all of the 3 Alfred's music theory books that covers a lot of music material. It is designed for students of any age, whether listeners or performers, who want to have a better understanding of the language of music. In this all-in-one theory course, you will learn the essentials of music through concise lessons, practice your music reading and writing skills in the exercises, improve your listening skills with the ear-training CDs, and test your knowledge with a review that completes each unit. The material is well organized, and clearly explained. Anyone can learn the essentials of music theory from these books.

This Book Provides:

  • Clear explanation of music lessons that have visual examples
  • Unit tests that cover all of the material learned through each section, providing tangible evidence of progress
  • Books 1-3 are all in one notebook

Music Theory: From Beginner to Expert - The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide to Understanding and Learning Music Theory Effortlessly (With Audio Examples Book 1)
Author: Nicolas Carter
Published at: 11/08/2016

Music Theory- From Beginner to Expert is a great introduction to music theory that covers pretty much everything that anyone who plays or wants to play music, and wishes to become a better musician, should know. This book is said to be the most comprehensive and straightforward evergreen book on music theory. The concepts of music theory are built coherently and logically, making it easy to understand. This book presents some fundamental concepts in music theory to the reader while keeping it simple so everyone can understand. This little text packs a lot of information into several short explanations that can be easily understood by anyone with an interest in music. It would be useful for raw beginners.

What You'll Find from This Fine Reading?

  • Fundamentals of music theory
  • Detailed explanations of mastering scales, modes, and rhythms
  • More ways of creating movement in music

Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory: A Complete Self-Study Course for All Musicians (Book & 2 CDs)
Author: Andrew Surmani,Karen Farnum Surmani,Morton Manus
Published at: 01/08/2004
ISBN: 0739036351

Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory is one of the best music theory books that is invaluable to anyone wishing to understand the basics of music. It begins with how notes are written on the staff and how they have different pitches or sounds. It is three books in one:  the first major section covers really basic music, the second section builds on this and teaches you some of the more intermediate theory ideas, while the third tries to put it together. Highly recommended this book to anyone who knows a little about music and wants to know more and is willing and able to be creative in supplementing concise textbook material with self-directed practice. 

This Music Theory Book Covers:

  • 75 concise lessons to practice music reading and writing skills in the exercises
  • The step by step instructions, supplemented by the listening CD
  • Answers included in the back of the book for all exercises, ear training and review

Berklee Music Theory Book 1
Author: Paul Schmeling
Published at: 01/03/2011
ISBN: 0876391102

Berklee Music Theory Book 1 is a great cover of basics for people getting introduced to music. This is an excellent book on scales, notation, ear training, intervals, scale degrees, and the very fundamentals of music theory. It focuses on learning how to read and write music notation, as well as the major and minor scales. This is a textbook that is intended to support a music college classroom/lab course with a music teacher. If you need solid enforcement on theory this book is recommended for you!

You'll Find:

  • This essential method features rigorous practice exercises that helps to explore the inner working of music, presenting notes, scales, and rhythms
  • The basic concepts of music theory with written exercises, listening examples, and ear training exercises
  • The online audio examples that will help reinforce lessons available with answer key

Barron's AP Music Theory: with Downloadable Audio Files
Author: Nancy Scoggin
Published at: 01/01/2018
ISBN: 1438076770

Barron's AP Music Theory is an excellent textbook for teaching music theory. It covers in-depth review chapters covering course content, including music fundamentals, harmonic organization, harmonic progression, melodic composition and dictation, harmonic dictation, visual score analysis, and much more. The downloadable audio provides aural skill development prompts for both practice tests' aural sections, as well as material that complements exercises and examples in the subject review chapters.

This Book Features:

  • Fundamentals of music theory
  • Overview of the AP music theory
  • Two full-length practice tests including aural and non-aural sections and free-response
  • All questions answered and explained
  • Helpful strategies for test-taking success, including all seven free-response questions

Music Theory for Guitarists: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask (Guitar Method)
Author: Tom Kolb
Published at: 01/05/2005
ISBN: 063406651X

Music Theory for Guitarists is an excellent textbook for teaching music theory. It is 104 pages jam-packed with the most important elements of music theory for guitar, including chord construction, chord progressions, and scale patterns for any key. This book is very good and very useful even if you do not know how to read music as everything is shown in guitar-tab format as well. Guitarists of all levels will find a wealth of practical music knowledge in this special book with online audio access. Veteran guitarist and author Tom Kolb dispels the mysteries of music theory using plain and simple terms and diagrams. The accompanying recordings provide 94 tracks of music examples, scales, modes, chords, ear training, and much more. Quizzes with answers in the back of the book make this book more informative.  Recommending for any guitarist who have some general idea about music theory!

How to Read Music in 30 Days: Music Theory for Beginners - with exercises & online audio (Practical Music Guides)
Author: Matthew Ellul
Published at: 24/10/2017
ISBN: 1977904874

How to Read Music in 30 Day is definitely a great resource for those who are taking their initial steps into understanding how to read music. It is very easy to follow, provides clear explanations, bold notes, repetition for memory, and learning exercises for every section. There are pieces of music downloadable from author Matthew Ellul’s website that add a special dimension to learning and perfectly demonstrate the principles in each chapter. It  will help you to build a strong foundation for more advanced music studies. Hundreds of beginner students have successfully gone through this practical system to master musical notation and fundamental music theory. This is a great book for anyone who wants to understand the basics of music theory!

This In-Depth Music Study Material Provides:

  • The essentials of music theory
  • How rhythm really works
  • The complete system behind musical notes
  • The crucial details of music notation (with 150+ examples)
  • How to express your musical ideas with expression marks
  • Expert tips, lesson summaries, a final test, online access to the audio examples and a 20-page bonus of music reading training

The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitarists: The complete guide to music theory from a guitarist's point of view (Guitar Theory Book 1)
Author: Joseph Alexander
Published at: 23/03/2013

The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitarists is the best music theory book presenting theory in a logical and understandable progression. This book explains how the fret board is laid out and how scales and chords are constructed. The author also emphasizes that music theory enhances our playing and listening to music and shouldn’t be viewed as mere memorizing and repetition but fun and a creative way to add new ideas to our music. This book includes exercises and examples of every concept along with explanations of why it is an important building block to learn before you move on. Highly recommended this book to augment anybody's basic guitar instruction, as well as for experienced guitarists who never fully learned music theory!

What You'll Learn?

  • Professional backing tracks to help you practice every guitar scale
  • How to construct major and minor guitar scales and to harmonize a scale and use chords to write songs
  • Discover the secret of triads, arpeggios and pentatonic scales you can use to create rich-sounding solos
  • A complete deconstruction of all the 3-note, 4-note and 5-note soloing approaches hidden in every scale
  • 200 audio tracks to download so you can hear every single guitar theory concept in action

Music Theory For Dummies
Author: Michael Pilhofer,Holly Day
Published at: 14/06/2019
ISBN: B07T94F959

Music Theory for Dummies is an excellent book for anyone interested in learning more about composing and understanding music. This is an elementary introduction to the language of music. It takes away the complexity of learning music by providing the main parts of the music theory in an easy to understand method. Whether you’re a student, a performer, or simply a fan, this book makes music theory easy, providing you with a friendly guide to the concepts, artistry, and technical mastery that underlie the production of great music. Wherever you want to go musically, this approachable guide gives you everything you need to hear!

This Music Theory Book Features:

  • Basic concepts of master, major and minor scales, intervals, pitches, and clefs
  • Understanding basic notation, time signals, tempo, dynamics, and navigation
  • How to employ melodies, chords, progressions, and phrases to form music
  • Strategies to compose harmonies and accompanying melodies for voice and instruments

Guitar Music Theory: The Ultimate Guide to Music Theory for Guitarist
Author: Franklin's Instruments
Published at: 13/10/2019
ISBN: B07Z47F8N3

Guitar Music Theory is an excellent book of music theory aims to present fundamental music theory in a form that is accessible to everyone. It provides a logical explanation for all the terminology you will encounter while learning to play the guitar, giving you a better understanding behind chords, scales, progressions, etc. It also includes quizzes and drills, being presented like a course in music theory. This book presents numerous major ideas in the guitar music theory. It has exercises and examples of every concept along with explanations of why it is an important building block to learn before yo move. Use this book as a proper guidance on your musical journey!

What You'll Find?

  • A brief history of the evolution of guitar and music theory
  • Basics of music theory
  • Fundamental skills need to know to choose the right guitar for music playing
  • How to employ melodies, chords, progressions, and phrases to form music
  • Exercises and examples of every concept along with explanations

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