20 Best Music Theory Book Reviews 2020 (Best Books to Learn Music Theory)

Best Music Theory Book

Best Music Theory Book

Music enthusiasts who desire to know the fundamental of music will find a music theory book helpful and rewarding. These are books that are specially packaged for music students as well as those who quest for a deeper understanding of the theory of music. In addition to that, instrumentalists who want to enhance their playing skills can go for any of the comprehensive books on music theory. Music theory books feature exercises and lessons that are geared towards improving the musical knowledge of the reader.

Read Also: The Importance of Music TheoryJazz Piano TheoryMusical Sentence and PhraseMusic Composition Vs Music TheoryHow To Compose MusicDiatonic HarmonyComposing Music Without InstrumentsChord ModulationCounterpointFunctional Harmony

What are the Best Music Theory Books to Buy?

2) Alfred’s Essential
of Music Theory

  • Easy-To-Use Self-Study Material
  • Ear Training CDs
  • 75 Concise Lessons
  • Enhance Music Reading & Writing Skills

1) Music Theory
in
Practice

  • Easy to Follow & Comprehend
  • Clear Explanation of Music Notation
  • Worked Examples & Practice Exercises
  • Ideal for Students

3) Music Theory: From Beginner to Expert

  • Better Understanding on Music Theory
  • Listening Skill
  • Develop Technique & Create New Neural Pathways

Getting a perfect music book might not be as simple as it seems because there is an overwhelming number of books on the market. As such, you need to have an idea of the book you want to buy. We have come up with 20 best music theory books. These books were chosen based on so many factors. Some of these factors are content of the book, its relevance, simplicity, the topic covered, author's reputation, among others. If you are looking to buy an excellent, well-written music book, you can choose from any of our top picks.

You will find information pertaining to the publisher, the date of publication, the number of pages, the dimension of the book, the content of the book, and lots more. This will help you in making the right choice. Remember, the books do not have the same content, so you need to consider the content, simplicity, practicality, and many other features before you pay for the book.

20 Best Music Theory Book Reviews

1. Music Theory in Practice

Are you looking for an excellent book on music theory that comes at a pocket-friendly price? If that is the case, then you should give the Music Theory in Practice a try. The book employs a simple approach to difficult topics. This makes it easy to follow and comprehend. The book is written in English, and it was published by the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music.

The dimension of the book measures 9 x 0.1 x 11.9 inches. The book is ideal for students studying music in the university as well as anyone who desires to know more about the fundamental of music. Are you a music tutor in need of a good teaching tool? You can make use of this practical book to teach your students the theory of music. If you need a book with practical exercises that will enhance your understanding of music theory, then you should not underestimate the Music Theory in Practice.

2. Alfred’s Essential of Music Theory

Alfred’s Essential of Music is a practical book that is easy to follow. The book is ideal for all music enthusiasts. It is an excellent self-study course packaged for composers, guitarists, pianists, instrumentalists, vocalists, and arrangers. This is the right book for all music lovers looking to improve their knowledge of music. The book was published by Alfred Music on August 1, 2004. The dimension of the book measures 8.8 x 0.5 x 11.5.

Furthermore, the book comes with ear training CDs. It features about 75 simple lessons where you will learn the basics of music. Also, you can improve your writing and reading skills through the exercises in the book. The answers to all exercises, reviews, and ear training are included at the back of the book. Alfred’s Essential of Music book is a must-have for all lovers of music.

3. Music Theory: From Beginner to Expert

If you desire to have a deeper understanding of the theory of music so that you can become a better player, then you should consider this unique music book. It unlocks the mystery of chords, keys, chords progression, intervals, notes, as well as the circle of fifth. Apart from that, you will know more about tonal harmony, and the relationship between rhythm, melody, and harmony. The dimension of the book measures 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches, and it contains about 224 pages.

Furthermore, the music book was published by CreateSpace Independent Publisher on March 17, 2018. It is structured in a manner that makes it easy to follow, comprehend, and internalize all basic concepts of music theory. It is worth mentioning that you don’t have to be a college degree holder to understand the concepts in this book. They are carefully written for beginners. You can get all your problems with music theory solved with this excellent music book.

4. Music Theory for Dummies

The Music Theory for Dummies gives you a deep explanation of the concept of music. The book is easy to follow, and it comes with everything you need to know about reading music scores, knocking out beats, among others. Whether you are a music enthusiast or a music student, the book comes with an informative guide that will help you master how to write, read, and understand music. It was published on March 2, 2015, and its dimension measures 7.3 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches.

Music Theory for Dummies features the current teaching techniques, examples, and diverse music genres to enable you to understand, create, and perform music with ease. With this excellent music book, you will have a good understanding of the basic notation, navigation, tempo, time signals, and dynamics. Apart from that, you will learn how to compose harmonies, and make use of progressions, chords, melodies, and phrases to create music. The Music Theory for Dummies is the right book for you if you desire to master music as a player, analyzer, or writer.

5. Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory (1st Edition)

This book is designed for everyone that desires to have an in-depth understanding of the language of music. Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory is ideal for all categories of music lovers, whether you are a performer or a listener. There are lots of things to learn in this unique music book. You will learn the basic concept of music, enhance your music writing and reading skills, and also develop your listening ability via the ear-training CDs.

Alfred Music published the book on January 1, 1998. It is written in English, and its dimension measures 9.2 x 0.5 x 12 inches. Alfred’s Essential of music is available separately or you can buy it together with a Compact Disc. The Student complete book comprises books one to three. Book one comprises lessons 1 to 25, while book two starts from lesson 26 and ends at lesson 50. Book three contains lesson 51 to 75.

6. How to Read Music in 30 Days Theory for Beginners

If you desire to learn the fundamental of music using a simple, easy-to-follow technique? Then you should take advantage of this great music book. With this unique book, you will know how to read music notation without stress. It is a highly recommended book for music students as well as those who want to stand out in their music careers. When you get the book you will learn how rhythm works, the fundamentals of music theory, details of music notations, as well as how you can use expression marks to express your musical ideas.

The book is written in English, and it was published by CreateSpace Independent publisher. The dimension of the book measures 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches, while it contains 171 pages. The book has the answer to all your questions on music theory. And, it is structured to teach you how to write and compose your own music, and it also enhances your learning of your favorite musical instrument. With this unique music book, you are sure to build a solid foundation for an advanced study in music theory.

7. Music Theory for Computer Musicians

Are you a musician willing to learn the basic concept of music in a simple and most practical way? If yes, then you need to go to the Music Theory for Computer Musicians. With this excellent book, you will take your music composition to the next level. If you desire to compose tracks that are truly professional, the best way to go about it is to understand the theory of music. One of the ways to achieve this is by picking up this helpful music theory book. The dimension of the book is 8.2 x 1 x 9 inches, while the book contains 336 pages.

The Couse Technology PTR published the book on April 2, 2008. Do you want to upgrade your music knowledge as a musician or producer? You have to make the Music Theory for Computer Musicians your companion. It explains the fundamental of music in a simple way possible. You will learn different music concepts using the latest computer recording and composing software. When you read and follow the exercises in it, you will make tremendous progress in your effort towards utilizing the fundamentals of the music language. This will be evident from your ability to compose and write original music on your own.

8. Basic Music Theory 4th Edition

If you need a music book that is perfect for beginners, then you should go for the fourth edition of the Basic Music Theory. The book is designed to take you through all the confusing aspects of music theory using a clear and concise approach. The Basic Music Theory is written by seasoned and experienced music teachers. The author used the approach and method that had been refined over 30 years of private as well as classroom teaching.

The book is ideal for all categories of music lovers, whether you are a musician, student player or a beginner, you will find the book valuable, and you will be proud to recommend it to others. It is worth noting that the lessons contained in the book are well-spaced, fun-filled, and enjoyable.

9. Berklee Music Theory Book 1

The Berklee Music Theory Book 1 is described as an ideal book for anyone who wants to excel in music. It was published on March 1, 2011, by Berklee Press. The book features rigorous practice exercises that are aimed at enhancing your understanding of scales, rhythms, and notes. The book contains about 120 pages. The book will give you a strong foundation in music theory with listening examples and written exercises. Apart from that, you will have access to ear training exercises.

The book is perfect for musicians, students, as well as music directors. It comes with online audio lessons to enrich your knowledge and give you a solid musical foundation. If you need a book that is designed to teach you what you are supposed to know in music, then consider the Berklee Music Theory Book 1.

10. Barron’s AP Music Theory

Are you in search of a music book with which you can prepare for the AP Music Exam? If that is true, then the Barron’s AP Music Theory is an excellent choice. Some of the features of this music book are aural and non-aural sections, useful strategies to succeed in test-taking, questions, and answers, among others. The book covers visual score analysis, music fundamentals, harmonic progression and organization, melodic dictation and composition, and many more.

The dimension of the book measures 8.4 x 1.3 x 10.9 inches. It is written in English. The Barron’s Educational Series published the book. The content of the Barron’s AP Music Theory includes Music Fundamentals; Meter Rhythm, and Metric organization; Keys, scales and modes; Aural Skill Part One; Harmonic Organization I; Harmonic organization II; Harmonic Organization III; Melodic Composition; Key Relationships; Aural Skill Part II, and many more.

11. Music Theory in One Lesson

The Music Theory in One Lesson is a great place to start your musical journey. The book is perfect for any musician or music enthusiast willing to understand the fundamentals of music. The book was published on August 11, 2015, by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Apart from that, the book dealt with the most basic and important topics in music. It employs a straightforward approach using an easy-to-comprehend visual aid.

The dimension of the book measures 8.5 x 0.1 x 11 inches, while it comprises 52 pages. The book is written in English. The book is recommended for any musicians and anyone who plays a musical instrument. In Music Theory in One Lesson, you are going learn how to use scales to create sweet sounding melodies, how to use letters to develop your scale, how you can create a chord progression, and many more.

12. Berklee Music Theory Book 2

The Berklee Music Theory Book 2 is written based on the wealth of experienced gathered through more than 40 years of practical experience at Berklee College of Music. The book was published on May 1, 2011, by Hal Leonard Corporation. The dimension of the book is 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches, and it contains about 80 pages. This book focuses on harmony, which includes inversions, triads, seventh chord, and voice leading for blues, jazz, and other famous styles of music.

Furthermore, the book comes with everything you need to start writing melodies. Apart from that, you will be able to create an effective accompaniment using a lead sheet. It comes with answer keys for all lessons and exercises in the book. This will enable you to keep track of your progress. If you need an effective music book that is designed to bring out the best in you, then you should take advantage of the Berklee Music theory Book 2.

13. L173 –Master Theory Book 1

Do you find it hard to comprehend the music books that you have bought in the past? If that is the case, you need to give the L173 – Master Theory Book 1 a try. The book offers a unique, effective way to teach the basic concepts of music. It is designed for all music lovers, especially music students, young musicians, composers, instrumentalists, voice students, among others. Kjos Music Company published the book on June 1, 1963. Its dimension measures 9 x 0.2 x 11.8 inches.

Furthermore, the L173 – Master Theory Book 1 is written in English. It is a perfect independent study, group performance, as well as general music classes, thanks to its interactive workbook format. Some of what you will come across in book one are Dotted Notes, Review pages, and Lessons on Staff, Time Signature, Slurs, Dotted Quarter Notes, among others.

14. Woody Morgan: Music Theory

Do you need an audio book that is thorough, and comprehensive? If yes, then you should take a look at this unique audio book. It covers all essential areas of the basic theory of music. This book is unique because it deals with topics that are often omitted in other music theory books. If you have been trying to learn music but you couldn’t find the right resources, you should consider this excellent book as it comes with everything you need to become an excellent player.

You don’t need to have a musical background to use this audiobook, it explains each topic in the simplest way possible. This way, you will learn the theory of music effectively. When you get the audio book, you will learn how to create melodious songs and beats, set the basics for any of your chosen musical instruments, collaborate with other professional musicians, among others.

15. Music Theory, 3E (Idiot’s Guide)

Are you in search of a music book that simplifies all the complicated aspects of music theory? If that is true, then you should not overlook this excellent book by Michael Miller. The book approaches the subject in a clear and concise manner. It is designed to teach you how to read musical notation through the understanding of the fundamentals of composing and reading music.

In Music Theory Idiot Guide, you will learn the basics of tones, the basics of accompaniment, arranging and composing, and building units of rhythms such as time signature, note values, navigation, dynamics, and tempo.

The book was published by Alpha publisher on July 12, 2016. Its dimension measures 7.7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches. It contains about 368 pages. It is also worth noting that the book comes with helpful appendixes like instrument ranges, chord charts, and glossary.

16. Jonathan E. Peters: Music Theory

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publisher, this excellent music book is the best choice for all music students who desire to be the best at what they do. One of the benefits you stand to gain from this book is that it comes with free permanent access to online exercises, quizzes, and examples. In this book, you will find answers to all your questions pertaining to music theory. You will understand why some pitches sound better than others.

This book is ideal for anyone that wants to learn music. It is concise and easy to understand. Therefore, no musical experience is required for anyone willing to take up the book. The book was published on May 9, 2014, and its dimension measures 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches. The book is authored by an award-winning composer, Jonathan Peters. He has over 20 years of experience as a composer, music teacher, recording artist, and director.

17. Music Theory 101 By Brian Boone

With Music Theory 101, you will learn the basics of music theory using a comprehensive and easy-to-follow method. The book is designed for everyone who wants to understand the fundamentals of music better. When you understand the basics of music, you will find it easy to achieve your goals in music. Furthermore, the dimension of the book measures 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.1 inches, while it contains about 256 pages. Adam's media published the book on August 8, 2017.

When you get this book, you will be exposed to everything you need to know as a musician and music lover. Some of what you are going to learn from the book is the difference between time signature and rhythm, how you can read sheet music, identification, and organization of keys, among others. The book is authored by Brian Boone and Marc Schonbron, they are both experienced writers.

18. Music Theory and Composition: Practical Approach

If you are looking for a music theory book that employs a simple and pragmatic approach, then you should consider the Music Theory and Composition. It comprises concise and digestible chapters that present complicated ideas in simple terms. The book was published by Rowman and Littlefield on January 26, 2018. The dimension of the book is 8 x 1.2 x 10.1 inches. It is a voluminous book with 546 pages. Furthermore, the music book is perfect for both beginners and experienced students. Not only that, musicians that want to enhance their skill can also take advantage of the book.

Some of the features of this guide book are the detailed curriculum for first year music theory courses, more than 500 examples to enhance learning, as well as large pop music section for practical applications. The Music Theory and Composition is designed for college students in their first year. It comes with different pedagogical approaches as well as curricular schedules. This excellent music book is packed full of helpful features for all student musicians and those willing to learn the theory of music.

19. Music Theory Remixed

This is an excellent book by Kevin Holm-Hudson. It is designed for undergraduate students that are studying music. The book was published on December 1, 2016, by Oxford University Press. It contains about 912 pages, and the dimension of the book measures 9.7 x 7.9 x 1.5 inches. The book is easy to comprehend as it employs a practical approach.

The book presents music theory using examples from well-known music like a film soundtrack, jazz, world music, and techno. It strikes a balance between the development of important skills and the traditional part-writing. Each of the chapters of the book comprises guided activities that have to do with improvisation, composition, analysis, as well as blending the practical application with learned material.

20. Edly’s Music Theory for Practical People

Described as a book that adopts a humorous, conversational, and unique style, Edly’s Music Theory is an ideal book for all those who have a genuine interest in music. The dimension of the book measures 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches. Edly’s Music Theory for People was published by Musical EdVentures on September 1, 2010. It contains about 196 pages. This is an all-encompassing theory book that every music enthusiast will like to read. It features a full-color layout with workbook exercises, diagrams, charts, and illustrations.

The topics included in this unique book are keys and key signature, ear training, natural and chromatic alphabet, scales, and many more. Also featured in the third edition are advanced topics like voice leading, melodic harmonization, chord extension and alteration, harmonic analysis, and voicings.

Choosing the Best Music Theory Books

It is nice taking you through our list of the top music theory books. By now, you have understood the features of the best music theory books on the market. Based on this knowledge, you can select the right music book that will help you attain your desired height in your musical career.

2) Alfred’s Essential
of Music Theory

  • Easy-To-Use Self-Study Material
  • Ear Training CDs
  • 75 Concise Lessons
  • Enhance Music Reading & Writing Skills

1) Music Theory
in
Practice

  • Easy to Follow & Comprehend
  • Clear Explanation of Music Notation
  • Worked Examples & Practice Exercises
  • Ideal for Students

3) Music Theory: From Beginner to Expert

  • Better Understanding on Music Theory
  • Listening Skill
  • Develop Technique & Create New Neural Pathways

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