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Old 07-12-2012, 04:37 PM   #1
Tomes of Deceit
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Music theory book

I want to learn more theory and I'd like some book recommendations. Eventually it would be great to get to the point of understanding jazz theory, but I doubt it would be wise to jump into a jazz book until I've mastered a more basic book.

I know a lot of theory is focused on the piano, and I know how to play piano, but I don't have access to one these days.

I have the Hal Leonard book "Music Theory for Guitarists: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask". That is helping me a lot with the basics, but for the most part it seems like definitions without a lot of context.

Basically it spends a ton of time showing you patterns and then telling you to memorize them, but I don't need a book to tell me that. For example, I made a chart for myself of all the algebra of what interval you get when you add two others, and then I started memorizing that.

What I'm looking for is more conceptual information about melody and harmony. Any suggestions?
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:26 PM   #2
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This is the standard for tonal harmony for most Theory I-IV (lower division) courses - http://www.amazon.com/Tonal-Harmony-...ref=pd_sim_b_1

get the workbook too. Kostka is a beast.

In addition, I know this one is pretty good too (both volumes) - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...BDYDMKM5FT3QPV

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Old 07-12-2012, 11:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ChAAPY View Post
This is the standard for tonal harmony for most Theory I-IV (lower division) courses - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/007...SSQJE29W6DJYSX

get the workbook too. Kostka is a beast.

In addition, I know this one is pretty good too (both volumes) - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...BDYDMKM5FT3QPV
My school switched to that first book you posted after my freshman year. I was the last class to use the old book which called ii and IV chords subdominant chords... I got laughed at and told I should've slapped my theory teacher when I called a IV chord a subdominant chord at the Jamey Aebersold improv camp.
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:27 PM   #4
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I got laughed at and told I should've slapped my theory teacher when I called a IV chord a subdominant chord at the Jamey Aebersold improv camp.
Huh? The IV chord is subdominant. Did you mean secondary dominant?

Get the first book I posted Tomes. It's what we used for four semesters before enrolling in upper division theory courses.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:22 AM   #5
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How did I know you would be the one to respond to this?

Cool, thanks. A real textbook is probably the way to go. Do you happen to know if the older editions are substantially different? 4th edition seems to get some poor reviews on Amazon...then again I could get it for a few bucks.

The money isn't THAT important if I'd learn better from the new one. I always seem to buy the latest version when I get science textbooks.

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Old 07-13-2012, 03:16 AM   #6
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Wait, are you looking to learn jazz theory on the guitar? Because that book is mainly about western tonal harmony during the baroque, romantic, and a tiny bit of 20th century. I think the older additions don't have the "introduction to post tonal theory" chapter and everything past that. Not sure, but I heard he only started to include those chapters because of the publisher.

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Old 07-13-2012, 03:22 AM   #7
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most of the theory that i know i've learned from my guitar instructor, the rest was from my semester as a music major at college. lately the book i've been using is called music reading for guitar the complete method. it was recommended to me by my guitar instructor since he used it recently at MI.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:50 AM   #8
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I ordered the latest version of the book. Whatever, I could go out to eat and spend that. I think it will teach me a lot. There will be plenty of time to learn jazz if I actually stay focused about this.
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Old 07-14-2012, 05:53 PM   #9
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Huh? The IV chord is subdominant. Did you mean secondary dominant?

Get the first book I posted Tomes. It's what we used for four semesters before enrolling in upper division theory courses.
Well, with classical theorists, yes, the IV is sub/predominant because it acts as a chord which leads to a dominant chord, therefore being subdominat. I forget the jazz camp teacher's exact reasoning (he played classical tuba with chicago symph before switching to jazz bass so I'm pretty sure he knows his shit) but it was something along the line of in jazz IV chords can do anything, they don't necessarily always act as subdominant chords so it's retarded to call them that.

And no, I did not mean secondary dominant, I know what that is too :P
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:55 AM   #10
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You're using the terms subdominant and predominant interchangeably when they don't mean the same thing. Subdominant is just the name of the scale degree, pre-dominant refers to a chord that leads to the dominant, such as the ii (iidim) and IV (iv). Other chords can function as pre-dominants as well as I'm sure you know.
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:31 AM   #11
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You're using the terms subdominant and predominant interchangeably when they don't mean the same thing. Subdominant is just the name of the scale degree, pre-dominant refers to a chord that leads to the dominant, such as the ii (iidim) and IV (iv). Other chords can function as pre-dominants as well as I'm sure you know.
I think now we're splitting hairs based on our different theory books. My teacher, who has a doctorate (like i'm sure yours did) in theory and theory research used them interchangeably because they're pretty much the same thing. Then again, she was also japanese and her english translations got a bit muddled sometimes.
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:23 PM   #12
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hell of a bump, but i felt like contributing again. over the past month or so i started and finished the theory and harmony book from mi, i thought it was awesome. i purchased the ear training book from mi as well, but have yet to start using it. recently i started using this book called jazzology, but i'm a bit put off by how long the chapters are.
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