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How to Play the Piano Despite Years of Lessons: What Music Is and How to Make It at Home Paperback – January 1, 1981
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The book is wordy compared to many. But, that can be an advantage. Marx explains each concept and new step in detail so there can be no doubt of your understanding of his point before he moves onward.
I found the attempt at humor to be distracting as well as making the book longer than it had to be. This being a review of the third edition of the November 1976 issue. Also this edition has no index.
What makes the book so useful is that of all the topics that could have been introduced, only those that are relevant to the author's purpose are used and they are used immediately following a bit of theory.
At least one review faults the book since the concept of relative minor chords is not covered in detail. To that I would say that for a book of this nature one does not expect exhaustive explanations of music theory.
It is interesting that modern day popular music traces its routes all the way back to J.S. Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and others as is shown by way of example throughout.
The development uses the concept of stratification of the keyboard first in a simple way and then gradually developing more complexity until finally arriving at the use of the circle of fifths for the last examples.
If you have had problems grasping the concept of syncopation, then on this topic alone the book is worth the price of admission. I say this because that remark applied in spades to me. Marx furthers is explanation of syncopation with examples from Bolero Rhumba and others.
All and all this is a great book for self study. In spite of the somewhat strange humor, I gave the book 5 stars for good clear development; short easily mastered chapters; and good example adaptions as the book proceeds.
Now if someone would write an concise, clear and motivational a sequel for complete beginners, using the music people want to learn rather than "Merrily, we roll along" and "When the Saints Go Marching In."