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Books?

Moso

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Books? For listening? Right. haha

So yeah, music books... unless you have an incredible sight-"singing" inner ear, you'll have to either play examples in music books out or hope they come with a CD. 

 

That out of the way, I wanted to ask what books you guys may have gotten a lot out of over the years for music? We could make a thread for videos, too, or add it here maybe. I'm more of a book guy. Videos tend to go too slowly for me, but some are interesting. 

 

Here are my favorite music books on my shelves: 

 

Mel Bay's Complete Book of Harmony, Theory, and Voicing  <-- This book gets really deep. Over the years, I've barely scratched the surface.

Arranging Music for the Real World  <-- I LOVE this book. It teaches incredibly useful information, and it's easy to follow. 

 

Second places would go to: 

Polyrhythms: The Musician's Guide   <-- Still haven't used everything here, but cool to come back to time to time. 

Hearing and Writing Music   <--- I got a few very useful things from this one, but you have to wade through some fluff. 

The Art of Writing Music   <-- A old TV composer basically takes you through the process as he writes a piece. 

 

And also music scores. I have a small collection of music scores. Sometimes I follow them while listening to music. Sometime I open them up just to find out how a composer got a certain sound (lookin' at you, Stravinsky). There are four I have as actual bound books as opposed to PDFs: 

 

The Rite of Spring

Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 5, 6 and 7

Nutcracker Suite

Mozart Requiem K626

 

EDIT: I want to put a little more emphasis on scores. You can find just about anything online. If you hear something you like, and you want to know how it was done, look it up. Scores can be a treasure trove, a mine of fantastic approaches and ideas that will help you grow in new directions you may not have before. From Little Shop of Horrors, to Daphnis & Chloé, it's out there. 

 

And then there are other books lying around which I think are good, but I don't have any particular love for them: 

The Drummer's Bible

The Mixing Engineer's Handbook

Sound Reinforcement Handbook

Treatise on Instrumentation

This Business of MUSIC   <-- yeah, okay, I never opened this one, hahahaha

 

Truth be told, I never finished a lot of these books, but even in those I didn't finish, I learned some great stuff. If I had really worked the books, and worked harder on writing better, heck, that could have been really interesting. Anyway, those are my books/recommendations. You? 

 

 

PS~ Oh, and MANUALS for your gear/software. That cannot be stressed enough. 

 

 

 

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I've had a few over the years, dealing with a variety of subjects.

Books on the business of music, basics of composition, songwriting, piano, theory & guitar.

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be "The Guitar Handbook" by Ralph Denyer.

Covers a lot of ground & makes a great ongoing reference!

Bought my first copy as a guitar student 25 years ago & still find it useful. :)

 

Tom

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Maybe strange to have suggestions from a non-instrument-playing lyricist, but I bought a couple of Rikky Rooksby's books a few years ago, and found them interesting. (At the time, I had visions of myself learning guitar & keyboard. ;) )

 

How To Write Songs on Keyboards (with CD)

Melody: How to Write Great Tunes (with CD)

'Lyrics: Writing Better Words for Your Songs'  Maybe handy for beginning instrumentalists.

 

He's also written How to Write Songs on Guitar (presumably also with CD)

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I found "The Songs of John Lennon: The Beatle Years" to be an edifying read.  It isn't a "how to" book, and it has no shame in analyzing the songs at greater depths that Lennon himself did.  But it was still fascinating seeing the songs broken down in ways I hadn't considered... and each new insight was another tool added to my utility belt.  :)

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Ahh, books! I seriously don't know where to start. I simply love 'em and buy as many as I can afford. Last week I got shipped 7 new ones!?! Most of my books are music related, be it "How to" books or just books about various areas of music. I have books about playing drums, harmonica, banjo, guitar, music theory, lyric writing, producing and mixing. You name it. 

 

Other books I have and/or constantly look for:

 

Lyric collections.

Poetry and/or poetry collections.

Autobiographical ones.

English language related books. (I have to have them, I'm a Swede after all.)

 

I also buy a lot of books just for the sake of sparking inspiration, about certain people, events, history or whatnot. 

 

I use iBooks for downloading the classics which are in public domain. I also can't help myself, so once in a while I buy ebooks, though I wholeheartedly believe they couldn't ever substitute for a real book that you can hold in your hands. There's a special feeling about that. It can not be replaced nor achieved by a simple ebook. Never.

 

Oh, and I haven't read a book in swedish in about 30+ years. I made a decision in my teens that if I'm ever going to be good at writing lyrics, to learn the ins and outs of the english language, I have to stop reading in swedish. I decided it'll be of no use and a waste of my time. So I haven't since. Yeah, that's how f'd up I am when it comes to music!!! :P

 

I'll check the shelves and see if I can post a few favourites of mine.

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Oh and Moso, polyrhythms?!?! Wth?!? That is some serious stuff! Do you ever use it? I came in touch with it when I studied drums in LA somewhere around the year 2 BC, other than that I've never come across it or used it in my own music. I don't see it happening either. :):)

 

Just curious.

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Poetry - yes! 

I try to read poetry every night before bed. I think it's a very important aspect of life, especially for artists. 

15 minutes ago, The S said:

Oh and Moso, polyrhythms?! ......Do you ever use it?

Yeah, I'm pretty sure we all do, whether or not we realize it. Some polys, like 3 over 2 (and vice-v), are pretty natural for most of us. There are some "weirder" ones, of course. I like to try to fit them in, time to time, but it can be difficult to do it without it becoming distracting. Depends on the piece. 

 

First lesson I learned in polyrhythms was that anything can be part of the poly. I entered with a naive mindset of "it's gotta be percussion", so that alone changed my perception quite a bit. 

 

23 minutes ago, The S said:

Oh, and I haven't read a book in swedish in about 30+ years. I made a decision in my teens that if I'm ever going to be good at writing lyrics, to learn the ins and outs of the english language, I have to stop reading in swedish. I decided it'll be of no use and a waste of my time. So I haven't since. Yeah, that's how f'd up I am when it comes to music!!! :P

Wow!

 

----

23 hours ago, Oswlek said:

I found "The Songs of John Lennon: The Beatle Years" to be an edifying read.  It isn't a "how to" book, and it has no shame in analyzing the songs at greater depths that Lennon himself did.  But it was still fascinating seeing the songs broken down in ways I hadn't considered... and each new insight was another tool added to my utility belt.  :)

Since I'm taking up some thread space, I thought I'd use it to post that this book sounds like a great read. Thanks for telling us about it! 

 

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Ok, sure, I here you. We all use it in it's simpler forms. And get in touch with it on a daily basis.

 

I meant in it's much more complex form. I guess I'm messed up because of one of my teachers at school. He showed us the real meaning of polyrhythms by letting us keep the groove by clapping our hands on 1, 2, 3 and 4 for 8 bars, during that he played whatever he felt like, in whatever time signature and beat he felt like, and he always came back right on the one!?!?! We had a hard time clapping, hehe, how he simultaneously could keep track of "our" beat while he was off to some african or brazilian country and managed to hit that one is beyond me.  I was amazed and a bit disgusted at the same time, because right then and there I realised I'll never be as good a drummer and be able to do what he did. :P

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I started out with a Mel Bay 'how to play guitar' book - probably the only one available at he little music store on Cape Cod where I got my first $40 Aria guitar (14th birthday present form my grandfather).  I only got partway through it - when it came to the finger-playing stuff, I had no interest, I wanted to rock-and-roll!

Next book was titled '10000 Guitar Chords' - page after page of different ways/inversions of fingering diagrams.  I eventually sold it to someone who was starting to teach themselves to play.

I took Music Theory classes in high school and college, but no books were used.

 

Many songbooks through the years - some of which I was able to sell on Ebay several years ago to help finance new gear acquisitions.

I've got a whole bunch of Beatles coffee table-type books, (Beatles Complete, In the Studio, etc) I've received as gifts but never done more than glance through them.

 

So other than that, my method has always been 'learn by doing (and redoing)'.

 

 

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I was a pretty nerdy guitar player when I was a kid, and was interested in weird sounds and scales from foreign cultures. I think my first book as a teen that I really liked was the original Guitar Grimoire, back when there was only one and it was in grey. That book way over did it (do you really have to map out block and extended patterns for all these scales in each key?), but I learned a few really cool scales that I still remember to this day, like the double harmonic and major-minor pentatonic. It also gave me a slight bump when I looked into Eastern European music. 

Although so saying that, I think the last time I intentionally used one of these more exotic scales to craft a motif was... 4-5 years ago? But they're still cool. :P 

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Hi M

 

    My cd and vinyl collection are my books :)The only books I have on the subject of music is maybe one on the business of songs as far as publishing rights etc. and maybe a songwriters market book(which I havent bought in 10 years:P)

    If anything, I have books about the artists I like and sometimes they give perspectives about not only their lives and careers but how they may have gone about writing a song or what inspired them. It's this tangible information I find fascinating and in some ways makes them ordinary like you and me. ^_^ So there's hope?:lol:

   Other than the obvious Beatles DVDs I own as well as Spinal Tap, I bought this one DVD on one of my underground favorites, Elliot Smith called "Heaven Adores You"DVD. Basically a rather unassuming character who went from alt college rock to acoustic folk to acoustic folk/indie pop. He had a minor hit in the movie Goodwill Hunting that was nominated for a grammy and appeared briefly on some of the late night shows when some of his critically acclaimed albums XO and Either/Or came out. He would come out with yet another crowning achievement with his last cd Figure 8. His life was cut short and the death remains open I guess. Two stabs to the chest. They don't know if it was murder or intentional suicide since he was going through a dark period in his life. And life goes on....

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Yep, I've had several editions of the Songwriter's Market over the years...the most recent being a 2003 edition..

God only knows why I hung onto it, for posterity I guess :rolleyes:

Used to own a copy of "The Business of Music"...still have a hardbound version of Rolling Stone's "Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll".

 

Tom 

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Hi T

 

   Yeah, I kept my 1994 edition of Songwriters Market because my "then" publisher mentioned my song "Vain" on page 133. You could call it my penny anti brush with fame.:lol:

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1 hour ago, R-N-R Jim said:

Elliot Smith

I have some Elliot Smith tunes in my playlist. Haven't heard them in a while, though... 

 

 

 

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Hi M

 

  I guess the songs that stood out for me by Elliot Smith were "Twilight", "Shooting Star" to name a few off of the post Elliot Smith cd From a basement on the hill. From XO probably "Tomorrow Tomorrow, Pitseleh, Waltz#1. And from Either/Or notables would be "Speed Trials" and I love the "Ballad of Big Nothing", "Rose Parade"and lastly "Cupids Trick".  Figure 8 you can almost listen to the whole thing.

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On 4/14/2018 at 12:22, tunesmithth said:

I've had a few over the years, dealing with a variety of subjects.

Books on the business of music, basics of composition, songwriting, piano, theory & guitar.

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be "The Guitar Handbook" by Ralph Denyer.

Covers a lot of ground & makes a great ongoing reference!

Bought my first copy as a guitar student 25 years ago & still find it useful. :)

 

Tom

I had that book.

 

Mostly I had songbooks.  Terrible songbooks that were often written in the wrong key and even when they did get the chord name right they choose the wrong chord diagram.  Nonetheless I did what every aspiring guitarist who couldn't afford a teacher would do.  I'd fake my way through covers and got myself a spiral bound notebook.  Jot down chord progressions without song titles and try out different rhythms and tempos.  Then I'd try to write lyrics via stream of consciousness.  Blah Blah Blah would become phrases.  I usually did better when someone would hand me lyrics.   Still they filled me with a lot of ideas but not the knowledge of terminology to express them properly.  

 

I had a few jazz guitar books as well.  Mostly relegated to playing through common chord progressions.  

 

This was a great book for me.....  

https://books.google.com/books/about/Blues_Guitar_Inside_Out.html?id=hrIEAAAACAAJ&hl=en

 

This was a book I would look at, wonder how and why.  Tried to work through the examples and it would drive me crazy.  My jazz guitar teacher was in love with it.  I honestly thought the guy who wrote it couldn't play any of the stuff inside.  It wasn't until youtube that I actually got a glimpse of Ted Greene's playing.

 

This is how I really learned to sight read notation(not tab) on guitar.  I picked up a very little book (pamphlet actually) learning the fundamentals and then try to apply what I learned using this book.

http://berkleepress.com/guitar/melodic-rhythms-for-guitar/

I wouldn't be caught dead performing the songs written.

 

This is an amazing book for learning arrangement.

https://www.amazon.com/Arranging-Techniques-Synthesists-Eric-Turkel/dp/082561130X

 

 

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15 hours ago, Tapper Mike said:

Mostly I had songbooks.  Terrible songbooks that were often written in the wrong key and even when they did get the chord name right they choose the wrong chord diagram.

This was always so confounding to me.  Why go through the effort to creating a songbook when even a beginner like myself could tell the chords were wrong?  Granted, at times it appeared to be simplified, but often they were just flat-out wrong.  

 

I still haven't gotten my head wrapped around that.

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Hi S

 

  I liked the first 4 Talking Heads Albums and even the collab with Eno, but from that point on he kinda lost me. Granted I would like selected songs from future albums, but never thought any of them would shine like the first 4. That being said, having 4 albums to talk about is quite a relevant achievement.

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29 minutes ago, Oswlek said:

This was always so confounding to me.  Why go through the effort to creating a songbook when even a beginner like myself could tell the chords were wrong?  Granted, at times it appeared to be simplified, but often they were just flat-out wrong.  

 

I still haven't gotten my head wrapped around that.

lol you guys are right! I remember now.... my very first book when I was maybe 13 or so was a songbook. I remember trying to learn "Love Me Tender", and while I was happy to be learning chords, it certainly didn't sound right. I think I remember my mom telling me it sounded bad. Of course, it could just have been me. 

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1 hour ago, Oswlek said:

This was always so confounding to me.  Why go through the effort to creating a songbook when even a beginner like myself could tell the chords were wrong?  Granted, at times it appeared to be simplified, but often they were just flat-out wrong.  

 

I still haven't gotten my head wrapped around that.

Years later I met a professional transcriber (met him in the 80's)  He worked for major publishing companies.  The goals he said were convenience and speed.  Many songbooks are geared to beginner/novice pianists or guitarists.  Preferred keys for beginner piano books are G,C,F  "It's easier" they say.  As for Easy Guitar blues, country and rock licks were always transcribed to the "easy" keys of E and A.  Songbooks always transcribed to "Comfort Keys"  E-A-D-G.   Never were references made to capo usage or altered tunings.  So the first thing that happens past the melody transcribing is that it is transposed.  The next thing that happens is "massaging" key embelishments.  If a song is in the key of C for example there is no place for a Bb it is massaged into either a B natural or an A natural.  Chords are added later.  Many times chord progressions are rubber stamped on to a song rather than the transcriber listening to the song, figuring out the chords and transposing into the "Easy Key" as it were.   Starts on a I and ends on a V  lets just make it the fifties progression (I-vi-IV-V).  Forget chord inversions or slash chords the idea is to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

 

A funny mocumentary about  "massaging" music

 

 

As a jazz player and listener I've heard many renditions of standards some so far from the original it's hard to believe it's the same song.  Changing the key is just the beginning.  Many an artist will put their own stamp on the arrangement and labor endlessly on different approaches.  Yet when heard it sounds completely natural.  A small portion of the time I'll re-arrange songs for guitar while mostly seeking credible finger-style / chord melody arrangements.  I'll often notice parts missing or obscured that I want to bring back into the song and.... It just doesn't happen.  Sometimes the original into cannot be forced into a different key and sound natural again.  Often times I like others will omit the solo section simply because when you are a one man band it becomes overkill.

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