The Music Theory Resources Thread

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by AugmentedFourth, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. AugmentedFourth

    AugmentedFourth X:1 K:C [c^f]|

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    So I'm failing to find the thread now, but I suggested a while ago that we have a master list of music theory resources so that people don't have to create a new thread every time they want recommendations or to introduce a new resource. Some folks seemed to like it, so here it is. Feel free to suggest items for the list.

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    Online resources:

    Toby Rush's Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People

    Dave Conservatoire

    musictheory.net

    Open Music Theory

    teoria.com

    eMusicTheory's interactive counterpoint drills

    For just another place to discuss music theory: /r/musictheory

    Ye olde book resources:

    m3g0wnz's recommendations for music theory textbooks: Beginner's resources (for the sidebar) : musictheory
    Note: In this post, m3g0wnz recommends against using Kostka/Payne's Tonal Harmony, and several comments below seem to agree. Take that as you will, I believe that that is the text MBN usually recommends. (I cannot myself judge as I have never read a copy.)

    Other book recommendations:

    • Kent Kennan's Counterpoint
    • Arnold Schoenberg's Fundamentals of Music Composition
    • Stefan Kostka's Materials and Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music
    • Mark Levine's The Jazz Theory Book
    • Paul Hindemith's Elementary Training for Musicians (Public domain in Canada, China, Japan, S. Korea, or any country with copyright = life of author + 50 years.)
     
  2. octatoan

    octatoan Acoustic tech-death!

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    I've seen MBN say that he's not exactly in love with the book, but that it covers everything one needs.
    I like Aldwell and Schachter's voice-leading book and Laitz's The Complete Musician.

    And I decided against Kostka/Payne after looking at /r/musictheory as well.

    Also: STICKY STICKY STICKY
     
  3. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Add this to the list, then let me moan for a bit: drill: counterpoint: eMusicTheory.com


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    I'm going to come to the defense of Kostka/Payne again.

    This is BS. K&P explicitly identify tonic functions, dominant functions, and pre-dominants, then go further to differentiate the IV chord's dual function as a pre-dominant and subdominant.

    "Most often, IV has a pre-dominant function, moving directly to V or vii, or it may expand the pre-dominant area by moving first to ii or ii6. In a very different role, IV may proceed to a I chord, sometimes called a plagal progression." (Kostka & Payne, 6th ed.*, p.111)

    * All of my page numbers will refer to this edition.

    In my experience, it's the jazz theory texts that are guilty of spelling chords and then leaving you hanging where voice leading, harmonic function, and melodic tendency are concerned.

    It's a harmony book. Harmony is the vertical organization of music. Take a look at Rameau's treatise (the book to which every succeeding harmony book eventually owes its dues) if you have any doubt that the study of harmony has ever been anything but vertical. Even in species counterpoint à la Fux, the focus is on the vertical relationship of tones. The authors are not as obtuse about it as this person would have you believe. There is a discussion in chapter 5 of the 6th edition of Tonal Harmony on what makes good melodic contour (in CPP style), which is very similar to what one would find in the beginning of any counterpoint text. Besides, the bulk of the book is dedicated to voice leading and how different dissonances resolve, which is a horizontal approach. And, where appropriate, the authors discuss counterpoint’s role in the development of harmony (p.470).

    Furthermore, while I cannot find the #viø7 in Kostka & Payne that m3g0wnz is talking about, it is a real sonority that comes from the harmonic treatment of the melodic minor scale. It is not a common sonority, but I've seen it pop up in a few places.

    Children's Album, Op.39 (Tchaikovsky, Pyotr) - IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music

    Pyotyr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Children's Album, No.7, The Sick Doll


    Measure 11, 0:30. Uncommon chord? Sure. Ridiculous chord? Hardly.

    Tonal Harmony is not the be all end all of music theory books, but it does a pretty good job of covering what it says it will cover: harmony. As for the conjecture that the analyses are poor... I hardly see how. They are chordal analyses, not contrapuntal, formal, or rhythmic analyses. As long as you are aware of what the authors are trying to do, I don't think that you'll find that they do a bad job of it at all.

    Overall, I think it is more important to do the work than it is to read the book. Remember, it's what you do with it that counts.

    Seconded.
     
  4. Aion

    Aion SS.org Regular

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    Hindemith's Elementary Training for Musicians (from no longer under copyright, or at least I assume that's why it's on IMSLP)

    Note: I have yet to actually read this, so I can't vouch for it as a good/bad book to learn from, but Hindemith was a well known composer, performer, and teacher.
     
  5. AugmentedFourth

    AugmentedFourth X:1 K:C [c^f]|

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    It seems to have good critical reception. I will add it, but I'm not going to directly link to the IMSLP because it is not public domain in the U.S. or in the EU, just Canada, China, Japan, and S. Korea.
     
  6. 7stg

    7stg SS.org Regular

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  7. AugmentedFourth

    AugmentedFourth X:1 K:C [c^f]|

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    If you don't mind me asking, what is the purpose of this resource? I ask because if I put it in the list, I want to have a note saying what it is used for, since it isn't a purely music theory pedagogy-focused resource.

    From what I can tell it seems to mostly give charts for the location of (scales/chords) notes on a fretboard, but I'm not sure that that is relevant. Given a knowledge of basic music theory, knowledge of the notes that each string on your guitar is tuned to, and the fact that every fret up makes the pitch go up a semitone, all of this can be constructed. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the descriptive, aesthetic study of music theory.
     
  8. 7stg

    7stg SS.org Regular

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    It's just all the chords and scales. The way the chords are laid out does teach intervals vs the standard block diagram which are just dots on a grid. Yes, they can be derived form the knowledge of chords and intervals, but the site does list every single one arranged into their mode/equivalent set.
     
  9. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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  10. AugmentedFourth

    AugmentedFourth X:1 K:C [c^f]|

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    Open Music Theory is already up there.
     
  11. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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  12. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    It's a great book, from the little I've used it. A lot of it is more musicianship exercises in terms of ability to play or comprehend certain things, rather than an examination or explanation of theory.
     
  13. AugmentedFourth

    AugmentedFourth X:1 K:C [c^f]|

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    Sorry if this isn't the right place to ask this, but how exactly would one go about getting a thread stickied?
     
  14. octatoan

    octatoan Acoustic tech-death!

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    Sacrifice three virgin goats and a white cow at the altar of Djod at midnight under a blood moon.

    Or maybe PM a mod, that works too.
     
  15. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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  16. octatoan

    octatoan Acoustic tech-death!

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    I ended up spending the entire evening on the site. Thank you.
     

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