#1
Hello guys
I need a book that explains me the basics of music theory because I've got a little mess in my head. I play metal on guitar, so if the book if focused on that, even better
Thanks
#4
When you mean more in depth, could you be more detailed in what you're looking for? What theoretical concepts are you looking for?

You said you were looking for something that explains the basics of music theory, in my opinion "musictheory.net" is one of the best, if not THE best, free recourse.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
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Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#6
Music Theory is not genre specific, theory it there to explain in words what you are doing musically. There is no "metal theory".

What you can do however is study music theory and learn to understand the different concepts, and then analyze songs you like. That's what it's used for.

You can use it to figure out that a I-V-vi-IV progression is extremely common in pop music, you can use it to figure out that 99% of Metallica songs are in E minor and have these common factors.

There is lots you can do with it, but there is no theory specific for one kind of music.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#7
^ True. At the same time, if he knows he wants metal buying a book which spends pages upon pages analysing jazz standards will probably bore/annoy him.

Not that I actually know of any specific metal theory type books (or even more rock-type ones) Head to amazon and do a search? If amazon doesn't have it...
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#8
Theory is just analytical tools, the musician has to apply a genre focus.

No matter what book you get, you'll probably be approaching theory from a classical standpoint. That's just kinda how it is, since that's most of history's music. The broad principles still apply, though, and you'll find it extremely useful no matter what you prefer to play.

Most of your awesome shredders are very well versed in theory, too, so that approach is a big part of the Metal sound.
#9
All of the above is correct. That website does cover all of the basics. It's not focused on metal, or even guitar, by theory is not instrument or genre centric. You can use any key/scale/mode/chord/progression/harmony/whatever in any genre. If somebody tells you they want a progression of Amin/Emaj, you can use the progression to create pop, jazz, rock, classical, metal, whatever. The tricks that make it sound like one genre or the other can really only be learned by practicing music of that genre. Any chord progression or scale will turn into a pop song if you throw it onto a synth, and acoustic guitar, and make the melody memorable enough. The same chord progression will easily turn into a rock song if you play it with powerchords on a distorted guitar and get the right drum dynamics going. That same progression will turn into metal if you speed up the drumming, or add some tremolo picking. So on and so forth.
#10
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ True. At the same time, if he knows he wants metal buying a book which spends pages upon pages analysing jazz standards will probably bore/annoy him.



Fair point!

I'd recommend what i always recommend when it comes to understanding a style theoretically (even though i am much more for understanding it aurally). Learn music from that style and then analyze what is happening in the song, that is the easiest way to figure out the "theory" of that particular style. That mixed with learning it by ear first before you start analyzing it is a good basis and will most likely yield great results, atleast in my experience.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#11
i can pretty much guarantee you that any great metal player never "focused on metal". that is to say, they never thought "i want a book, course, or curriculum that's geared specifically towards metal". why? because that limits musicianship a lot. the guys who are out there as big names on the prog rock/prog metal/whatever scene are good players because they've expanded their musicianship. i think it's also a pretty fair statement to say that no great metal player hasn't played at least either classical or jazz at some point, if not both.

my point is, don't look for shortcuts. look for ways to improve. the single most important determining factor in developing your musical identity is your thought process. because everything (how you practice, what you practice, for how long you practice) stems from that.

if you want to be a musician, you need to focus on music.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#12
Quote by cdgraves
(a) Theory is just analytical tools, the musician has to apply a genre focus.

(b) No matter what book you get, you'll probably be approaching theory from a classical standpoint. That's just kinda how it is, since that's most of history's music. The broad principles still apply, though, and you'll find it extremely useful no matter what you prefer to play.

(c) Most of your awesome shredders are very well versed in theory, too, so that approach is a big part of the Metal sound.


(a) Yeah.

(b) True, but I'm sure there are some books which are more guitar/rock/metal orientated as well. I mean blues doesn't come up much in classical (at least pre-20th century classical) while it's pretty much the foundation of a lot of rock/metal/jazz/pop etc.. A more guitar- (electric guitar) specific theory book might take more of a look at bluesier stuff, for example. Whether it's actually totally metal-focussed is debatable, but I would imagine something like that would be more useful than a totally classical-aimed theory book.

For example, I came across this one on my amazon trawling a while back:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Advanced-Guitar-Theory-Technique-Applied/dp/1478387378/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391455584&sr=8-1&keywords=metal+guitar+theory

I didn't actually buy it (so that's not a recommendation)- in fact with the little I saw from Amazon's "look inside" feature, the tone of it put me off slightly, but it may well still be what he's after. Or at least closer to what he's after than a very generic theory book.

(c) yeah.

Quote by Sickz
Fair point!

I'd recommend what i always recommend when it comes to understanding a style theoretically (even though i am much more for understanding it aurally). Learn music from that style and then analyze what is happening in the song, that is the easiest way to figure out the "theory" of that particular style. That mixed with learning it by ear first before you start analyzing it is a good basis and will most likely yield great results, atleast in my experience.


Yeah that's what I did (though "analyse" is a bit strong of a word in my case ). The only problem with that method is that you can sometimes miss things (and even if you don't it may well take you longer to work it out). There were things I was doing "naturally" (for want of a better word) without actually realising what I was doing. Maybe I'm a bit slow on the uptake But actually getting things explained in black and white can often ensure you get the right end of the stick as quickly as possible.

Don't get me wrong, trying to work out things yourself is good, too. Just a nice balance is normally the thing.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Feb 3, 2014,
#13
guys thanks a lot for everything. between a website and a book, i prefer a book. maybe one that covers music in general, from the easy note names to more complicated stuff? Would be great to have everything in one place
#15
I've recommended this book before, but Pedler's "Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles" is really amazing. Just brilliant. It's a lot of work, mind you, if you do it right - listening to examples on record, playing them, etc - but you will get the concepts.

Of course, the Beatles weren't very metal, so there's that. If you're not willing to really dig into the Beatles catalog, this isn't the book for you. But I haven't seen anything like it. (DO not be put off by the price tag - this book has far more material than the $20 Hal Leonard style books).
#16
Tonal Harmony is what my College used. It is a pretty good text book for music theory over all, but it won't have examples from metal.
#17
Quote by HotspurJr
I've recommended this book before, but Pedler's "Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles" is really amazing. Just brilliant. It's a lot of work, mind you, if you do it right - listening to examples on record, playing them, etc - but you will get the concepts.

Of course, the Beatles weren't very metal, so there's that. If you're not willing to really dig into the Beatles catalog, this isn't the book for you. But I haven't seen anything like it. (DO not be put off by the price tag - this book has far more material than the $20 Hal Leonard style books).


I must be getting suggestible in my old age. I just ordered the book based on this recommendation and I'm not even into The Beatles.
#18
Great question as I know many great players that don't know what a relative minor is~! If you get a killer player that says "it's a 1,4,2,5 with relative minor (6th m) in D & modulates to Eb)" it's great to know exactly what the chords are immediately..no time to walk you through it at gig.

Best book was the question & here is 1 out of a dozen books I have that is easiest to understand. "Everything about Chords" By Wilbur Savage. About $15 at Amazon. i have played all my life & about 8 years ago this book transformed my playing. He just has a way of taking it one step at a time & I still read through it about once a year~!
#19
Quote by HotspurJr
I've recommended this book before, but Pedler's "Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles" is really amazing. Just brilliant. It's a lot of work, mind you, if you do it right - listening to examples on record, playing them, etc - but you will get the concepts.


Wow. I was expecting a pamphlet style book when in fact it's the size of War and Peace.
#20
Saying you want to learn theory just for metal is like saying "Boy, I sure want to learn Russian, but just enough to write a horror novel". You're gonna get stuck if you try to be genre-specific.

If you can find old used college music textbooks at a thrift store, they're one of the best resources. I've been using a book my high school music teacher copied all of our exercises from, as well as a "Progressive Piano Class" book from the 80s to brush up.

When you have learned enough about theory to get by reading basic notation and stuff, try finding an official tab book from a band you like. That's where you'll start to see the more genre-specific notation. I learned a lot about metal guitar from reading tab books.
Q: Favourite Pink Floyd song?
A: The one where they get wicked high and play Emin and A for an hour.
#21
Quote by travislausch
Saying you want to learn theory just for metal is like saying "Boy, I sure want to learn Russian, but just enough to write a horror novel". You're gonna get stuck if you try to be genre-specific.


True, but that can go both ways. Continuing on with your Russian analogy, if a module about "Russian for Law Students" were offered and you had no interest or background in law, it probably wouldn't make much sense to take that module either.

Like most things, it's a balancing act and you sort of just have to find what works for you. There's definitely some basic stuff which almost everyone can benefit from learning, regardless of your preferred style, but there's also advantage in specialising too, if you know what you're doing.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?