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Music Theory For Dummies, 3rd Edition



Music Theory For Dummies, 3rd Edition

Michael Pilhofer, Holly Day

ISBN: 978-1-118-99113-8 February 2015 336 Pages


Get more out of music with this essential guide

Music Theory For Dummies makes music theory easy to understand, with a friendly, unintimidating overview of everything you need to know to become fluent at knocking out beats, reading musical scores, and learning to anticipate where a song should go—whether you're reading someone else's music or writing your own. Whether you're a music student or a music lover, you'll learn to read, write, and understand music with this informative guide. With expert instruction, you'll put it all together as you compose, arrange, and create original melodies, harmonies, and chords of your own, with helpful tips for performing your pieces in front of an audience. This new third edition presents the most current teaching techniques, the newest music genres and examples, and updated information on all aspects of understanding, creating, and performing music.

Studies have shown that music training improves children's' verbal and spatial abilities, and it's been associated with cognitive and mathematical benefits in adults. The music job market is expected to increase over the coming years, and music theory is becoming an increasingly common part of education at all levels. Music Theory For Dummies provides the instruction you need to get more out of music than you ever thought possible.

  • 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

Whether you intend to pursue a degree or career in music, or just enjoy listening to it, understanding the theory behind it gives you a whole new appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship behind the pieces that give you goose bumps. It's a mix of technical skill, inborn talent, and plenty of practice – and now you can try your hand at it, with Music Theory For Dummies.

Introduction 1

Part I: Getting Started with Music Theory 5

Chapter 1: What Is Music Theory, Anyway? 7

Chapter 2: Determining What Notes Are Worth 13

Chapter 3: Giving It a Rest 29

Chapter 4: Introducing Time Signatures 39

Chapter 5: Playing with Beat 53

Part II: Putting Notes Together 61

Chapter 6: Music Notes (And Where to Find Them) 63

Chapter 7: Mastering the Major and Minor Scales 81

Chapter 8: Key Signatures and the Circle of Fifths 95

Chapter 9: Intervals: The Distance Between Pitches 109

Chapter 10: Chord Building 135

Chapter 11: Chord Progressions 169

Part III: Musical Expression through Tempo and Dynamics 187

Chapter 12: Creating Varied Sound through Tempo and Dynamics 189

Chapter 13: Instrument Tone Color and Acoustics 201

Part IV: Musical Expression through Form 207

Chapter 14: The Building Blocks of Music: Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, and Song Form 209

Chapter 15: Relying on Classical Forms 221

Chapter 16: Tapping Into Popular Genres and Forms 231

Part V: The Part of Tens 239

Chapter 17: Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Music Theory 241

Chapter 18: Ten Keys to Reading a Musical Score 247

Chapter 19: Ten Music Theorists You Should Know About 251

Part VI: Appendixes 259

Appendix A: Audio Tracks 261

Appendix B: Chord Chart 267

Appendix C: Glossary 305

Index 309