Best Music Theory Books 2021 for Beginners

13 Best Music Theory Books

If you or your child are into learning about music and looking for the best music theory book to buy then I would recommend some books for you. Here you will get some books which may match your requirement. These music theory books make music theory easy, providing you with a friendly guide to the concepts, artistry, and technical mastery that underlie the production of great music. You’ll quickly become fluent in the fundamentals of knocking out beats, reading scores, and anticipating where a piece should go, giving you a deeper perspective on the works of others and bringing an extra dimension to your own. 

You can also check Best Music Theory Books to Build Up a Solid Musical Foundation

Practical Theory: Complete, Spiral-Bound Book
Author: Sandy Feldstein
Published at: 01/10/1982
ISBN: 0882842250

Practical Theory is a combination of text and workbook in three volumes. All areas of music theory are covered in a concise and practical manner and each level contains 28 lessons.

This is laid out very well. The textbook has written exercises in it and could be used as a supplement to most any other piano instruction. My daughter took eight years of piano and felt her theory was a little weak, so we bought this book. She has said it has helped her read music more fluently. The book goes from very very simple theory to advanced concepts.



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

This essential method features rigorous, hands-on, "ears-on" practice exercises that help you explore the inner working of music, presenting notes, scales, and rhythms as they are heard in pop, jazz, and blues. You will learn and build upon the basic concepts of music theory with written exercises, listening examples, and ear training exercises. The online audio examples will help reinforce lessons as you begin to build a solid musical foundation. Now available with an answer key!



Music Theory For Dummies
Author: Pilhofer, Michael
Published at: 11/07/2019
ISBN: 1119575524

Tune in to how music really works. 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. You’ll quickly become fluent in the fundamentals of knocking out beats, reading scores, and anticipating where a piece should go, giving you a deeper perspective on the works of others and bringing an extra dimension to your own. 

Music Theory For Dummies breaks difficult concepts down into manageable chunks and takes into account every aspect of musical production and appreciation from the fundamentals of notes and scales to the complexities of expression and instrument tone colour. It also examines the latest teaching techniques all the more important as the study of music, now shown to provide cognitively and learning benefits for both children and adults, becomes more prevalent at all levels.

  • Master major and minor scales, intervals, pitches, and clefs
  • Understand basic notation, time signals, tempo, dynamics, and navigation
  • Employ melodies, chords, progressions, and phrases to form music
  • Compose harmonies and accompanying melodies for voice and instruments


The Everything Music Theory Book with CD: Take your understanding of music to the next level
Author: Schonbrun, Marc
Published at: 18/05/2011
ISBN: 1440511829

Perfect for everyone from the intermediate musician to the collegiate music major, this book is a complete guide to mastering musical understanding! It's a total educational package, with a helpful audio CD, hundreds of illustrations, and challenging practice exercises. This is one of the best music theory books. You'll learn:

  • How chords and scales are constructed
  • How rhythm works and how to understand complex time signatures
  • How composers and musicians think about songwriting

Each clear, easy-to-understand chapter includes several Etudes. These focused practice exercises to test and reinforces your newfound understanding of music theory. With this hands-on practice, you'll become a true musician in no time!



Music Theory for Computer Musicians
Author: Hewitt, Michael
Published at: 02/04/2008
ISBN: 1598635034

Many DJs, gigging musicians, and electronic music producers understand how to play their instruments or make music on the computer, but they lack the basic knowledge of music theory needed to take their music-making to the next level and compose truly professional tracks. This music theory book is for computer musicians.

Music Theory for Computer Musicians explains these music theory fundamentals in the most simple and accessible way possible. Concepts are taught using the MIDI keyboard environment and today's computer composing and recording software. By reading this book and following the exercises contained within it, you, the aspiring music producer/computer musician, will find yourself making great progress toward understanding and using these fundamentals of the music language. The result will be a great improvement in your ability to write and produce your own original music!



Berklee Music Theory Book 2
Author: Schmeling, Paul
Published at: 01/05/2011
ISBN: 0876391110

Berklee Music Theory Book 2 is the second in a two-volume series based on over 40 years of music theory instruction at Berklee College of Music. This volume focuses on harmony, including triads, seventh chords, inversions, and voice leading for jazz, blues and popular music styles. You'll develop the tools needed to write melodies and create effective harmonic accompaniments from a lead sheet. This revised edition includes an answer key for all exercises and lessons to check your progress. The price of this book includes access to audio tracks online, for download or streaming, using the unique code inside each book.



Music Theory 101: From keys and scales to rhythm and melody, an essential primer on the basics of music theory (Adams 101)
Author: Boone, Brian
Published at: 08/08/2017
ISBN: 1507203667

Learn the basics of music theory in this comprehensive and easy-to-understand guide. From classical to hard rock, and jazz to hip hop, music is constantly evolving, but many of the basics have stayed the same. Understanding these basics is key to becoming a successful musician and well-rounded music lover. Music Theory 101 covers everything: -How to read sheet music -Understanding the construction of chords and scales -The different rhythm and time signatures -How keys are identified and organized Full of music trivia, music history, comprehensive instruction, and visual aids of scales, music symbols, and chords throughout, This music theory book is the essential guide you need for a crash course in music theory that even professional musicians would envy.




No Bull Music Theory for Guitarists: Master the Essential Knowledge all Guitarists Need to Know (No Bull Guitar)
Author: Shipway, James
Published at: 25/03/2019
ISBN: 1090562454

Unlock essential guitar theory to boost your ability and confidence as a guitarist. Easy language. Music reading not required! Inside the 12 chapters of this guitar theory book, you’ll learn about intervals, triads, major and minor keys, chord sequences - and understand how to apply them to your playing, improvising and songwriting. This is the best music theory book for guitarists.

What will this book teach you about?

In the 12 lessons, you’ll find super clear explanations, practical examples and quiz questions on:

  • The Musical Alphabet (the only 12 notes used in all music!)
  • Tones and Semitones
  • The Major Scale (learn what it actually is…)
  • Major and Minor Triads (as used in most pop, country, rock and folk music)
  • Major Scale Intervals (major 3rds, perfect 4ths...what are they?)
  • Chromatic Intervals (discover what weird names like diminished and augmented really mean)
  • Major Keys (Parts 1 & 2)
  • Chord Progressions (start writing pro sounding chord sequences and songs of your own)
  • Pentatonic Scales (the most common guitar scales ever…)
  • The Natural Minor Scale (essential for minor key soloing in rock, pop and other styles)
  • Minor Key Basics (learn the secrets of awesome minor key songs and chord sequences)


  • The Complete Musician: An Integrated Approach to Theory, Analysis, and Listening
    Author: Laitz, Steven G.
    Published at: 20/11/2015
    ISBN: 0199347093

    Beginning with music fundamentals, The Complete Musician covers all the topics necessary for a thorough understanding of undergraduate music theory by focusing on music in context. Rather than rote learning concepts and memorizing terms. 

    The Complete Musician emphasizes how theory informs the work of performers. Composers respond not only to their instincts, experiences, and training in every work they write; they also follow certain ideals and models when appropriate, and modify them to fit their own personal vision. The theory is not a "theoretical" activity; it is a living one that responds to how music is composed and performed. Understanding how theory intersects with composition and performance is key to seeing its relevance to students' wider musical lives. The Complete Musician makes this connection.



    The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitarists: The complete guide to music theory from a guitarist's point of view
    Author: Alexander, Mr Joseph
    Published at: 20/11/2014
    ISBN: 1911267779

    The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitar is different. Instead of boring and meaningless guitar theory essays, it makes music come alive. In fact, you’ll quickly learn to play the theory you’re being taught.

    Here’ in this modern music theory book for quitarists you’ll learn:

    • How to construct major and minor guitar scales.
    • How to harmonise a scale and use chords to write songs.
    • The complete guide to naming chords on the guitar (know your C9 from your Cadd9).
    • A breakdown of every important type of chord, and where they come from.
    • How to write chord progressions to create great songs.
    • How to change key smoothly (modulation) and using guitar chord qualities to make your music creative and unique.
    • Discover how to form guitar modes… and how to use them in your solos. 
    • 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 are hidden in every scale.


    The Jazz Theory Book
    Author: Levine, Mark
    Published at: 01/06/1995
    ISBN: 1883217040

    Endorsed by Jamey Aebersold, James Moody, Dave Liebman, and others, The Jazz Theory Book presents all the information any student of jazz needs in an easy-to-understand, yet thorough, manner. For intermediate to advanced players, and written by one of the acknowledged masters of jazz, it is used by universities around the world.



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

    Do you want to learn how to read music notation quickly and easily? Do you want to understand music theory fundamentals in a simple, step-by-step system? Then this book is for you!

    With over 150 music examples, over 100 written exercises, 10 listening challenges, expert tips, lesson summaries, a final test, and online access to the audio examples, you’ll learn:

    • 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.

    You can finally stop searching the web endlessly in hopes of finding the right information. With this in-depth, easy-to-follow method, your music theory questions are answered in full.



    The Chord Wheel: The Ultimate Tool for All Musicians (TOUS INSTRUMENT)
    Author: Fleser, Jim
    Published at: 01/12/2000
    ISBN: 0634021427

    Master chord theory ... in minutes! The Chord Wheel is a revolutionary device that puts the most essential and practical applications of chord theory into your hands. This tool will help you: Improvise and Solo Talk about chops! Comprehend key structure like never before; Transpose Keys Instantly transpose any progression into each and every key; Compose Your Own Music Watch your songwriting blossom! No music reading is necessary. "This is the kind of device that players of any instrument can use to enhance their musical understanding. Chord and key relationships are inseparable, and learning these relationships is a must in becoming a successful musician." Alan Remington, Orange Coast College Music Dept.



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