The 5 Music Theory/Composition Books That Most Influenced Me

36 thoughts on “The 5 Music Theory/Composition Books That Most Influenced Me

  1. Gargoyles was something I'd hear during the climax of a noir murder mystery movie. Like right as the detective finds the dead body of his friend or something.

  2. Hey Adam, great channel. Here´s my 2 cents. I've read a lot of great books about music, and i want to mention two. First, on the topic of non 12-tet harmony William Sethares: Tuning Timbre Spectrum Scale Even if you don´t have a practical application for this approach to harmony, it still is excellent ear training that you won´t get in any other way. Also great for hearing completely different emotions expressed in harmonic language. And David Huron´s Sweet Expectation. An evolutionary approach to musical sensation. Changed the way i heard music overnight. Check it out if you can. Keep up the great work.

  3. Adam: G# is not Ab.

    Me: Listens entire orquestra playing Thy Licc while God and Jesus Christ descend to Earth

  4. Good work Adam! Also, Nicholas Slonimsky may be worth mentioning (Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns)

  5. I have a basic understanding of music theory and I want to buy 20th century harmony. Could anyone tell me if its really difficult from the get go or does it start relatively easy in order to get to more advanced stuff. Thanks

  6. watching this again. Love hearing you talk lol. Also taking not of these titles to help my writing

  7. Ed Friedland's book is really good. It gets from the most basic concepts about walking bass to more advanced ones and gives you listening and writing excercises. It's truly self-sufficient. If you have a jazz gig coming up and never did any walking bass, just grab it and in three weeks you'll walk yourself through the perfomance free of embarassment.

  8. Do you think you could record a separate, complementary video of your favorite books by world-renowned classical and jazz composers? It’s not an elitist thing, it’s a dilettante thing: I think such a list would be interesting to non-musicians who might be interested in theory and performance and rehearsal stuff, but don’t need super nitty-gritty “prescriptivist” stuff, and may be more interested in getting a general glimpse into a great musician’s mind, maybe a Coltrane or a Hindemith. Thanks! (Note I left out rock, although I love rock, rock is my preferred idiom … I was just trying to avoid being recommended Crazy from the Heat 100,000 times.)

    At the opposite end of the spectrum, it’d also be neat if you outlined and uploaded somewhere an entire curriculum for autodidacts, like a year-by-year schedule with syllabi, sort of “If I had it to do all over again, knowing what I know now, what I would tell my younger self to do if he couldn’t attend Berklee is as follows: year one, spend (x) hours a day practicing (a,b,c) and read (y) and focus on (z) for six months, then start a band and for the next six months concentrate on” bla bla bla, but that’s probably too intense and detailed and insane, and people’s learning styles vary so much that you might wind up annoying most of your nit-picky audience. I guess it’s sort of a fantasy of mine to open my front door and find a “Berklee at Home!” package wrapped and neatly bundled and tied up with a bow on my stoop one day, like a musical Hogwarts owl but for agoraphobe shut-ins. 😢

  9. Hi! Really enjoyed this video but I am just a starting musician. I got basic ideas of notes, scales, how to read sheet music, played acoustic for couple years but nothing serious and that's all.

    I started learning music and theory because I always had the tendency to compose melodies in my head (sometimes with full orchestra, drums, bases and all), and I thought at first this is just something I heard somewhere but I realized that I am actually "composing". So, for a newbee like me, what books will you recommend. I really don't like overanalysing and "studying", but I always want to grasp things completely (e.g. when I started learning music theory I ended up in physics of how sound waves work, frequencies, overtones, amplitudes). I have more or less proper setup – a DAW, an electric and acoustic guitar, midi-keyboard and a nice mic, I just want to write down stuff I already have in my mind and try to analyse different songs and how are they structured.

    So pls any hints of where to start?

    Thank you for all your work!

  10. I love reading this … now that my kids are both in college I am getting back to putting time into my music – bass playing and general music theory and composition skills, which have really not advanced since my own college years. I have already discovered new things by approaching things very differently, letting go of ego and what skills I ‘used to have’ and forcing myself through beginner level stuff again with dedication (and a patience I would never have had even when I WAS a beginner). I have been doing some music reading, looking forward to checking some of these out.

  11. Im looking for books which allow me to develop my vocabulary
    and learn how to tastefully phrasing depending on the genre I play.

  12. That's a very interesting video, and it made me wonder about something: what books or materials would musicians with an academic background recommend to a "do-it-yourself musician", in order to improve on, say, melody?

    This question may sound weird or too generic, so I'll elaborate a bit 🙂

    My question comes from my experience, being an electronic music producer: I found myself being blocked several times on certain aspects of music creation (creating an atmosphere, balance, mastering a tune, playing on tension, etc.). Of course, trying over and over did help me to overcome some of my difficulties, but I've been really struggling with melodies a lot during years and I strongly have the impression that including complex and meaningful melodies to my work would help me to elaborate on aspects I neglected too much (or had to neglect too much, because I was really not proud of the result).

    I'd really like to understand more about melodic aspects of music, but I really don't know where to properly start. If anyone has ideas about how to learn, please tell 🙂

  13. I'm reading shoenberg harmony his aproach is to make you compose music in every chapter i recomend it.

  14. oh my god! you are so funny, concise and awaken. you blew my mind. this video may have altered the path of my life. let's all thank god as he keeps monetizing pure gold content like this video…

  15. The Book "A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony and Melody" is no longer being sold at Amazon. However, there is a PDF of the full book. It may be the old edition, but I figure it can help anyone out:

  16. Jacob Collier plays with that last concept a lot – that enharmonic notes aren't actually the same notes. He'll sing a "C" at slightly different pitches depending on how that C relates to the chord and the chord's harmonic series.

  17. The importance of the difference between the 5th harmonic overtone and the interval of a 3rd in the twelve-tone even-tempered system cannot be overstated. It is that tiny asymmetry in our system of music vs. the actual physics of the real world that generates a great deal of the human emotional experience of music, in my opinion. What a wonderful, strange and beautiful world.

  18. I have been studying all of the mentioned books for decades. However, I’ve yet to come across Harmonic Experience. Thanks for mentioning it!

  19. Hey man would recommend this list of books to a Electronic Dance Music Producer Who Wants to learn Intermediate to advance music theory??please comment thanks

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