#1
Could anyone recommend a good, comprehensive book on music theory (specifically chord and scale theory, how they overlap etc.) done in the style of a normal, text-only non-fiction book rather than a big A4 size workbook with diagrams and stuff? I find I learn best from having to apply the theory to a guitar myself rather than copying exercises but there's so much to choose from
#2
Not a book, that I know of, but we teach it that way.

The reason we don't do it in a book, is there's no way to ensure that someone actually absorbs what they have read, and can demonstrate it before moving on. They can simply go to the next page, and what happens is there are a lot of page skimmers, and one tendency for a lot of players is they want it all now, so they zip in and just keep going rather than apply it. And to me, putting what I do in a book, doesn't effect the learning outcome the way I want to.

I figure, if I'm going to put it out there, then I want it on my terms, and that is, I don't want to be just another book on someones shelf of "stuff". I want to make sure they understand and can demonstrate that they got it before moving on. So the Academy and the format that I use allows for that. Because what I do and teach is unique and progressive, I have the ability to set those learning terms.

I have been approached approached by both Hal Leonard and Alfred music, over the years as I participate in a general learning discussion panel, at the NAMM show to publish my teachings in a book. For a while, I considered it, I also considered a managed delivery system where they'd get a section at a time, maybe on a CD rom... and have to email their test scores before they could purchase the next ones, but ultimately decided that the approach was too awkward and very unconventional for publishing. So, in 2009, I realized the only way I could facilitate that learning on my own terms was to actually bring what we do to an online version of it with quizzes and sections with homework etc, that you must pass, or you don't move forward.

But what we do wouldn't work for a text book for the reasons that I stated above. And while I don't have copied exercises, I do have specific guided homework assignments, and that may not be something you are looking for.

The problem I have with books, unless you are a person who is naturally inclined to picking things up by written word, and incredibly self-disciplined, is they are too passive, and merely convey information, rather than teach. The student is relegated to both teacher and student, and that's not a great learning mechanism in my opinion.

Most of the time, books on the shelf of those trying to learn, are milestones of good intentions that were never followed through upon, and are there for that "someday" when they get around to it, or else as "general reference" for that same "someday".

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jun 16, 2014,
#3
I've been using Douglas Baldwin's "Comprehensive Chord Theory for Guitar". It's not what you're looking for but it's an option. I don't think you're going to find a plain text theory book (for guitar, anyway).

It also has a lot of it's exercises in standard notation if you want to improve/develop sightreading.
#4
Understand Music Theory, by Margaret Richer
It's part of a "Teach yourself" series. We used it in college to get from no prior knowledge of music theory to Grade 5 in a year.
#5
You could always go to your local/nearest university book store and by the textbook/workbook package that the university forces its music students to buy.
#6
Ugh, don't take a textbook from a poor college student. They only order so enough for enrolled students, and it's a huge pain in the ass when their required text is sold out. Also college textbook packages for music theory are like $150.

"Copying exercises" is only part of learning theory. Putting on your instrument is the other side. You really have to do both to learn the concepts thoroughly. The best way to do that is with repertoire, so if you want to make good use of theory, start also learning classical or jazz music. The stuff you learn from formal theory lessons will not apply to rock/pop music in a straightforward manner.
#7
Quote by ParasiticTwins
Could anyone recommend a good, comprehensive book on music theory (specifically chord and scale theory, how they overlap etc.) done in the style of a normal, text-only non-fiction book rather than a big A4 size workbook with diagrams and stuff? I find I learn best from having to apply the theory to a guitar myself rather than copying exercises but there's so much to choose from


A very different approach to learning theory is contained in Pedler's "Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles." Big book, a real tome, and doesn't cover the very basics (or, well, it does, very briefly, in an appendix) but it works you through a practical knowledge of theory through the use of examples from the Beatles and their influences. Really great, because you can listen to the examples ... and remember, you only really know a theoretical concept if you can hear it in practice.