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Comment: Shared Knowledge is a not for profit public charity! Check us out on facebook. We provide funding for educational programs in Richmond, Virginia. PLEASE READ FULL DESCRIPTION -USED GOOD- This book has been read and may show wear to the cover and or pages. There may be some dog-eared pages. In some cases the internal pages may contain highlighting/margin notes/underlining or any combination of these markings. The binding will be secure in all cases. This is a good reading and studying copy and has been verified that all pages are legible and intact. If the book contained a CD it is not guaranteed to still be included. Your purchase directly supports our scholarship program as well as our partner charities. All items are packed and shipped from the Amazon warehouse. Thanks so much for your purchase!
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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, 2nd Edition Paperback – September 6, 2005

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, 2nd Edition + The Chord Wheel: The Ultimate Tool for All Musicians + The Complete Book of  Scales, Chords, Arpeggios and Cadences: Includes All the Major, Minor (Natural, Harmonic, Melodic) & Chromatic Scales - Plus Additional Instructions on Music Fundamentals
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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: ALPHA; 2nd edition (September 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592574378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592574377
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Miller is the author of several successful music guides, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Songwriting, Second Edition, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Solos and Improvisation, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums, Second Edition, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Composition.

More About the Author

Michael Miller is the best-selling writer of more than 100 non-fiction books. He writes about a variety of topics, including computers, online selling, business, consumer electronics, and music. From his first book (Ventura Publisher Techniques and Applications, published in 1988) to his latest title, he has established a reputation for practical advice, technical accuracy, and an unerring empathy for the needs of his readers.

Customer Reviews

Handy CD for ear training.
All i know is that Music Theory is like trying to learn another language so it will take time and a lot pf practice to get better.
I haven't read the whole book, but so far, its very easy to read and understandable.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My background is in engineering and computer science. However, I do a lot of multimedia programming, and when it came to writing code for computer music I was at a loss because I have no formal musical training whatsoever. I've never played an instrument and I probably never will. However, I found it disabling to be unable to read music or understand the language of music theory when it came to reading the many helpful works on computer music that are in print and on the web. This book appeared to be what I was looking for and it turned out I was correct in my choice. It takes you from the absolute beginning, assuming you can't even read music, and takes you from intervals through phrases through counterpoint and into composition and performance. There are very helpful exercises at the end of every chapter with solutions at the end of the book, making this a good choice as a textbook or an excellent and inexpensive means of self study.

Part one talks about the notes of a scale,the different types of clefs and staves, the intervals between notes, major and minor scales, and keys and key signatures. Part two, on rhythm, starts by teaching you what simple whole notes are and moves on to sixteenth notes and syncopations. Also covered are time signatures, tempo and dynamics, and how to navigate through a piece of music. In part three, Tunes, you learn how to put tones and rhythms together to create a melody. Next you learn how to add chords to your tunes and find out about chord progressions and song forms. At this point, you have what you need to create your own pieces of music. Part 4, on accompaniment, teaches you how to train your ears so you can write down music as you hear it. You'll be able to create simple accompaniment parts on piano or guitar.
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67 of 67 people found the following review helpful By HealthAdminGuy on January 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
I like this book, and I think it does a pretty good job of explaining music theory, but it is lacking in some areas. For example, the circle of fifths discussion leaves you not completely understanding the usefulness of the concept.

After finishing this book, I read the "Dummies" music theory book, and found that it often does a better job of getting concepts across, including a far better and more useful explanation of the circle of fifths. I recommend reading both books, as one reinforces the other... each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, but together they give you a pretty rounded introduction to music theory. If you are only going to read one and you are a beginner, I would have to recommend the Dummies book for its clearer presentation of the basics of both melody and rhythm. On the other hand, if you already have a pretty good grasp of intervals, scales, keys, and rhythm, you might find more useful information in the Idiot's Guide.

Both books have their share of errors, but the Idiot's Guide has a corrections list posted on the author's website, whereas the "Dummies" authors apparently can't be bothered to post an errata list (and believe me, there are a load of printing mistakes in the "Dummies" book).
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Gary Tooker on October 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
I feel that this is a very solid primer for people either new to music, or people like me who are returning to playing an instrument (in my case the guitar) after many years. I studied the piano/keyboard in my childhood and early teens, but ultimately stopped and are now getting back into music after many years. Needless to say I had pretty well forgotten all of my previous music theory, and needed to start back at the beginning. Mr. Miller's book thus far has been invaluable in helping me get started, and it has done so in a way that isn't threatening or overwhelming.

There are a couple of areas that I have run across that need to be addressed however.

1: Do not recommend attempting to work through this book without either owning or having ready access to a keyboard or piano. Keep in mind that I'm writing this from the standpoint of the beginner when I say this. Although this book is supposed to be geared for all instruments, starting with Chapter 2 the material may prove to be confusing without being able to reference an actual keyboard. While the author does make this point in the introduction, this is something that I notice has been skipped over in the book's description and likewise would likely be missed by someone who is simply browsing for a book on the subject.

2: The ear training disk. Good in concept, but weak in execution. The way Mr. Miller approaches the subject is to play a note on the disk, then have the student copy the note on the piano, then write it down on music paper. Personally I like the approach as it not only develops the ear training but also sight reading and reinforcing where the notes are on your instrument.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By G. melhaff on February 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've attempted to read many theory books - this is the first one that makes sense. It doesn't spend half the book talking about time signatures and then jump into chord progressions. It spends just enough time on each area, building up so that the pieces fit together. I think everyone should start with this before they move up to The Jazz Theory Book by Levine - the more definitive guide but which is too heavy for me still.
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