Proper music theory knowledge is surely on the decline, with up-and-coming producers creating music using pre-made drum and melodic samples, the only knowledge needed is how to mimic another piece of music – the one which with high probability is made from similar ingredients. As you already might now, music theory is not an absolute necessity in making music, but should you consider yourself as a serious, intrigued musician always on the search for fresh musical ideas, there is no excuse not to give yourself a moment to learn some music theory. And who said music theory is boring? Because it’s not. Read on to learn about the book Music Theory: Simple Music Theory for Electronic Music Production by Roy Wilkenfeld.
Music Theory is on a FREE promotional period during November 2-6, 2015. Download it for free here.
At the first glance, the book Music Theory: Simple Music Theory for Electronic Music Production is a very simply yet effectively laid out book, with clear segmenting, formatting and a great visual look. Right after the forewords, we get to see the table of contents, which is interactive, and clicking a certain topic leads the reader straight to the right page in the book. Handy!
In total, there are six chapters in the book, covering everything from the basics, such as the piano keyboard, major and minor scales, intervals, musical modes, rhythm, chord and melodic basics and a clear list of all major and minor scales and modes at the end, to help in practicing scales.
Every topic in the book is supplied with not only vivid images but a clear, descriptive text, covering the subjects with formality and authority.
While scrolling through the book, I instantly noticed the excellent imagery used in illustrating all different musical concepts and terms, which might otherwise be a bit challenging to understand. I didn’t find them hard to understand at all, which was a pleasant surprise, and even intuitive.
For example, all scales and modes are visualized on the piano keyboard, letting the reader play them instantly by looking at the pictures. There’s no need to look at your hands while playing either, because the images lead you though the scales easily, and this is a huge plus. I also liked the fact that the most important chords were also visualized in a smooth manner, showing large dots on each key that form the chord on the piano keys.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better image explaining transposition, after which I was sold.
I’ve seen lots of music theory books use boring (or zero) imagery. This is definitely not the issue in this book. In short, beginners and seasoned music producers surely find the images helpful while boosting learning.
Scales, scales, scales…
The very end of the book includes full tables presenting each major and minor scale and their notes. This is a huge help in practicing scales, which I think is essential for practicing melody too. After all, every melody is based on a scale (or multiple scales).
Additionally, learning scales is great ear-practice for learning different emotional states in music, which can be used to your advantage in songwriting. Think about it, should you feel sad but a little bit hopeful and felt like writing a song, you would instantly know that “ah yes, this song needs to be written in a minor scale with a hint of Dorian in it!” And by practicing the scales with the help of this book, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did just that.
My favorite bits of the book
I was really impressed by the picture explaining all intervals, which is great for practicing all major and minor intervals. This is a must learn for all songwriters and producers. Also, the part explaining time signatures was well done, since I’ve had difficulties with them in the past myself, but this was so easily laid out there isn’t a problem.
The things I liked about the part with different chords in it, were the inclusion and explanations of chord inversions, as well as some of the more unusual chords such as the different seventh chords, which can be used to introduce a unique, richer feel to your music, aside from the basic three-note chords (triads). Also, the clear explanation of modes is something I take my hat off to.
Lastly, I enjoyed the “Pro Tips” that were supplied at the end of every topic, taking the subjects further with some great knowledge.
Excited about music theory yet?
I think this book is a great, easy-to-read and friendly introductory guide to music theory, which undoubtedly will spark a thirst to dig deeper into the world of music theory – eventually giving you all the weapons you need to make better music than ever.
You can grab the book on Amazon for the humble price of $2.99, through this link.
While you’re at it, check out my review of Roy’s other book Electronic Music: 25 Mixing Tips for Modern Electronic Music Production here.
What do you think of music theory? Is it essential, or is it not needed – or something in between? Let’s discuss below.