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Music Theory For Dummies, with Audio CD, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-09550-8
336 pages
November 2011
Music Theory For Dummies, with Audio CD, 2nd Edition (1118095502) cover image
Grasp the concepts needed to compose, deconstruct, and comprehend music

Whether you're a student of music or a music lover, Music Theory For Dummies presents you with essential information on how to read, write, and understand music, as well as helpful hints on composing, arranging, and creating original melodies, harmonies, and chords.

Music Theory For Dummies gives you a friendly, unintimidating overview of the material covered in a typical college-level course and makes music theory easy to understand. It includes updated information on current teaching techniques; the newest music examples and genres; information on mastering major and minor scales, using intervals, and recognizing pitches and clefs; the lowdown on rhythms, tempo, dynamics, and navigation; how to transcribe the music you hear and transposing it to other keys; harmonizing and accompanying melodies; composing and arranging for voices and instruments; performing your own music; and much more.

  • Audio CD includes musical excerpts played on a variety of instruments
  • Makes learning music theory as enjoyable as it is useful
  • Tracks to a typical college-level music theory course

Don't get discouraged by the seemingly complicated written structure of musical theory. With Music Theory For Dummies, understanding music has never been easier!

CD-ROM/DVD and other supplementary materials are not included as part of the e-book file, but are available for download after purchase.


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Introduction 1

Part I: Getting Started with Music Theory 7

Chapter 1: What Is Music Theory, Anyway? 9

Chapter 2: Determining What Notes Are Worth 15

Chapter 3: Giving It a Rest 29

Chapter 4: Introducing Time Signatures 37

Chapter 5: Playing with Beat 51

Part II: Putting Notes Together 59

Chapter 6: Music Notes (And Where to Find Them) 61

Chapter 7: Mastering the Major and Minor Scales 79

Chapter 8: Key Signatures and the Circle of Fifths 93

Chapter 9: Intervals: The Distance between Pitches 109

Chapter 10: Chord Building 133

Chapter 11: Chord Progressions 157

Part III: Musical Expression through Form, Tempo, Dynamics, and More 175

Chapter 12: The Building Blocks of Music: Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, and Song Form 177

Chapter 13: Relying on Classical Forms 189

Chapter 14: Tapping Into Popular Genres and Forms 199

Chapter 15: Creating Varied Sound through Tempo and Dynamics 207

Chapter 16: Instrument Tone Color and Acoustics 219

Part IV: The Part of Tens 225

Chapter 17: Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Music Theory 227

Chapter 18: Ten Valuable Music Resources 233

Chapter 19: Ten Music Theorists You Should Know About 239

Part V: Appendixes 247

Appendix A: On the CD 249

Appendix B: Chord Chart 255

Appendix C: Glossary 293

Index 297

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Michael Pilhofer teaches music theory and percussions at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota. He's toured and recorded with Joe Lovano, Marian McPartland, Kenny Wheeler, and others.

Holly Day is a writing instructor at the Open Book Writing Collective in Minneapolis.

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