Reddit reviews: The best books about classical music

We found 395 Reddit comments discussing the best books about classical music. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 164 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

Top Reddit comments about Classical Music:

u/Yeargdribble · 12 pointsr/piano

Here's my obligatory write up of people in your position.

Beyond that short treatise, I figure I should touch on another thing having to do specifically with something you mentioned.

>Additionally, I do have the discipline to do scales/arpeggios.

This is great, but be careful about the approach. It's easy to get extremely technically focused as you try to "catch up" technically on a secondary instrument, to the point that you become obsessive about the scales themselves rather than their application. These also can feel very comforting and eventually... comfortable.

All to often people make the mistake of focusing on one scale to the detriment of others, say focusing on getting C major from 110 to 120 while there are other keys that are barely at 60. I suspect you know better than that, but the pitfall you're more likely to run into is trying to get all of your scales to a point... and then push that tempo rather than focusing on music.

You really need to read... a lot. You need to work on actual songs even though they will be children's songs and silly crap. At the very outset you likely won't be doing any true sightreading, but you should push to be working on that ASAP.

I think for piano more than most instruments, there's more to be learned by progressive pieces of music than with pure technical work. For monophonic (and mostly monophonic; e.g. bowed strings) instruments, you're mostly covered if you have scales, arpeggios and maybe some advanced sequences. That literally is 95% of music... fragments of scales, arpeggios, and sequences.

With piano, that doesn't even scratch the surface. You'd need to add cadential patterns to that list and those are almost infinite in a way that the rest are not. And that's still not even tackling the real issue... composite rhythm and the coordination issues it causes, especially when complicated by all of the other technical barriers.

Experiencing very small, approachable hurdles like these by working through lots of childish books really helps deal with these issues that are relatively unique to harmonic instruments.

It's easy to get complacent and feel like you're making progress by plopping down to run your scales and arpeggios daily, but I'd recommend strictly limiting the amount of time you allow yourself to spend on these. It's easy to feel like you're making real progress when really you're just mindlessly repeating them. Drills are comfortable for some of us. It sounds like they are for you and they definitely are for me, but we have to be careful not to let them be a means unto themselves.

It's much harder to sit down and really mentally work on simple songs that have small coordination hurdles for you, particularly when they don't feel inherently musically rewarding, especially to those of us who previously had a lot of experience being very virtuostic and musically expressive on our primary instruments. But this is the true path forward.


I like this book for scales. I'd strong encourage you to avoid doing all of the scale variations it has. Simple HT 2 octave in every key should be the goal long before you worry about some of the others and I'd argue that the real value isn't even in any of the variations. You'd get more out of doing single hand 3rds and 6ths than the separated versions which you'll very rarely run into in reality. They are nice coordination parlor trick, but I don't feel like they have a lot of value and like I said, you'll get more practical stuff from working on simple songs in method books than you will bashing your head against some of these. Save them for much later (like years) if at all.

Likewise, I wouldn't agonize over the dom7 arpeggios either. There are much more common and useful patterns found in all sorts of music. However, DO focus very intensely on the cadences and triad arpeggios.

I like this method book overall. I'm not even saying it's the best... it's just one and it works. I'd honestly recommend visiting a used book store and just buying a lot of beginner books of all different series. Focus less on pushing hard toward progression in on series and more on just consuming a huge volume of different music. Or, you might work through this series of Alfred books and then use other such books are sightreading practice once you start getting better.

Get this book for sightreading as a start. It's offensively easy, but it's really where most people should start and I wasted far too much time trying to poorly sightreading much harder stuff for too long because I just didn't realize the collection of small deficits that were tanking my ability to improve despite my fairly solid technical facility.

Read with a focus on keeping your eyes on the page and reading a bar ahead. You obviously know how this works from violin whether you think of it or not, but there's a lot more notes to drink in on piano. You've got to learn to know what your pace is for reading and accurately playing. Carry these concepts over to the children's books that will be more complicated than this particular book.


I will strongly caution you not to try to play hard music. It's such a waste of your time. Lots of people get very good at playing a handful of very hard pieces, but they are based on pure finger memory. These people have no functional skill at piano and can't prepare almost anything new with less than several weeks or months of brute forcing it into their hands.

When you let yourself jump from hard song to hard song, spending weeks or more on each, you'll eventually realize years in that you haven't actually gotten any faster at learning new material. It shouldn't be that way. I'm sure you can sightread (and would be expected to) for tons of gigs on violin. You could probably throw together some fairly advance solo rep in a week or two. Meanwhile, many pianists who've been playing for decades couldn't play an arrangement of some song they heard on the radio in less than a month. It's a sad state of affairs. It's just part of piano culture and many only end up learning maybe 5-10 pieces of new music every year.

Be mindful of the fact that much of your growth as a violinist is due largely to the ensemble experiences you've had... constantly reading tons of new music that's not at the bleeding edge of your ability. You've probably had times where you learned more music in a month that some pianists learn in an entire year, but it has made you a functional player... not someone who has to hide away and practice for 3 months to come back and have your part of the string quartet music learned.

Read! Read a ton and read easy. Your reading skill is the the specific skill that lets you be able to learn new music faster. The better you read the more music you can consume...the more you consume, the more you improve on lots of tiny thing that let you consume even more faster. Unlike almost anything else in music where improvement tapers off, with reading, you just get faster and better at it.

It's definitely a case I make for anyone wanting to make a living (or even side money) playing piano, but honestly, even just for people who want to really enjoy piano as a hobby, putting in the (fairly enormous and painful) upfront investment in good reading is what leads to a point where you can really just sit down and enjoy music.

u/Garathmir · 2 pointsr/GetMotivated

Sure! Here are the following book's I've used for exercises:

Brahms 51 Exercises: link

Cortot Chopin Studies: link

The Cortot ones definitely are a little more advanced, but he has a LOT of comments written along with in his book to help you guide in how you're supposed to perform the exercises. These exercises would help you eventually lead into playing some of the chopin etudes. As you said, this is based off Chopin, but quite honestly, Chopin was one of the first composers to really implement pretty much every kind of hand movement/technique at the piano into his pieces. If you study chopin and his exercises/etudes, you cannot go wrong, and you will enjoy being able to do more technical things as well. It's a struggle, I know, but that's the point!

I'll add more to the list later but I'm on my phone lol, if you're just looking for 'advanced sight reading', why not just pick up some good sheet music and play it? When I was starting out, I was a huge fan of the Final Fantasy Piano Collections stuff and honestly just played extremely slow through it while sight reading. Where you're at right now, you should be able to read any of Nobuo's stuff. The general strategy for sight reading is to NOT slow down/stop playing when you make a mistake. If you have to, then you need to slow down so you can read what's going on. If you're fumbling through a particular section of a piece while sight-reading, you've hit a gold mine! This is something you have no idea how to handle, so you can just work on that section repeatedly before moving on.

There are honestly hundreds of hand exercises that help you do different things depending on what you're trying to work on. If you're looking for something a little bit more modern, Jordan Rudess has some great exercises floating around, but they're just as good as the classics too. Really playing the piano and sounding great is the product of you working hard and LEARNING TO PRACTICE CORRECTLY. If you learn to practice efficiently, then you can honestly become an amazing player. There's actually quite a good story about how Rubenstein (one of the greater pianists of the last ~100 years) was terrible at practicing in his early years and just had a raw talent. He eventually started to practice in his later years and became the legend that he is today.

I've got a bunch of misc exercises around my study somewhere, I'll have to get them and put them up sometime. PM me if you ever have questions!

EDIT: Forgot to say, definitely pick up a Bach fugue/prelude or two. They are literally written to not give a shit about your hands, so they can be quite the good challenge to figure out how to play well. Also you play them without your pedal, so you learn to not be so dependent upon it. :)

u/17bmw · 16 pointsr/musictheory

Normally, I would try to (somewhat) annotate stuff I link/mention but I'm tired on all levels of my being so forgive me for making this reply less detailed than I'd like it to be. Keep in mind that I don't know sht and half the time, I'm talking out my ss.

Mostly I hope this, at least, helps you guide your search. Or the things I write here are so horribad that it prompts someone to viciously correct me, thus giving you the real info you need! :p

I might circle back after some time to add notes here and there. Maybe. Also, this first reply will be focused on quartal harmony but I should be able to muster up the spoons to write up a search guide for minimalism later.

First, there are some really neat proto examples of quartal/quintal harmony in Medieval music. The starting search term for this would be organum. There were/are more than a few kinds^A of organum but examples of parallel organum should be most interesting to you.

David Fenwick Wilson has a book on Early music called Music in the Middle Ages: Style and Structure. It's admittedly an older book but I mention it specifically because there's a lovely youtube video^B with examples from the related anthology. As always, I'm a sl*t for Norton's music history books^C so check those out as well, imo.

Outside of the realm of "classical" music, most of the quartal harmony you'll encounter will be in the form of quartal voicings^D for otherwise tertian chords. It's a favorite trick for more than a few jazz giants so naturally, there's an absolute glut^E of resources for this.

When we get to classical music though, we start to get some actual spicy stuff, like fully formed quartal harmonic systems and languages. Paul Hindemith was a BIG fan of quartal stuff. You can check out his own writings^F about his musical system in his book on composition. Arnold Schoenberg also devotes a section in his book on harmony^G to the newer quartal sounds cropping up (well "new" when he wrote it at any rate).

From there it's really a matter of doing the grunt work of either analyzing composers you find writing quartal harmony OR researching analyses of said composers. Sure, quartal harmony (and the related term "interval cycle") gets mentioned in more than a few books on 20th century harmony like Vincent Persichetti's^H or Richard Strauss's^I books; both might be good jumping off points on your journey.

Seemingly, every composer and their mother (Hindemith, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Copland, Cowell, Ives) experimented with quartal writing in the 20th century. So while definitive guides might be hard to track down, specific examples aren't. I'll include an analysis or two that you might find helpful in the list below. Be on the look out for any edits I might sneak in!

Beyond that, perhaps the most concrete way we could help you would be to analyze specific pieces/instances of quartal language you find and walk you through any questions you had about the piece. When I'm not tired, I'm usually down to dig into some cool music. Drop a score, ask something, and let's analyze something together! Still, I hope this helps. Have fun on your compositional journey and take care!

A.) https://sophia.smith.edu/~rsherr/earlypol.htm

B.) https://youtu.be/SgHzH5iDcGQ

C.) https://wwnorton.com/books/9780393929157

D.) https://leadingtone.tumblr.com/post/8203279125/quartal-voicings-in-jazz-here-refers-to-an

E1.) https://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/quartal-chords-harmony-voicings-for-guitar/

E2.) https://www.thejazzpianosite.com/jazz-piano-lessons/jazz-chord-voicings/quartal-voicings/

E3.) http://greglui.com/blog/quartal-voicings/

F.) https://www.amazon.com/Craft-Musical-Composition-Theoretical-Part/dp/0901938300

G.) https://www.amazon.com/Theory-Harmony-ANNIVERSARY-Arnold-Schoenberg/dp/0520266080

H.) https://www.amazon.com/Twentieth-Century-Harmony-Creative-Aspects-Practice/dp/0393095398

I.) https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Post-Tonal-Theory-Fourth-Joseph/dp/0393938832

J.) Berg's Lyric Suite has plenty of quintal yumminess. Check out Perle's analysis of its interval cycles: https://www.jstor.org/stable/741747?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

u/tyrion_asclepius · 1 pointr/piano

I'm not too familiar with Handel's works, but progressing through Baroque music can be fairly straightforward and programmatic. This is especially true when it comes to Bach, who happens to be excellent for developing hand independence! I would recommend going starting with this book, then his Little Preludes, then his two- and three-part inventions, and then WTC I and II. The progression in difficulty isn't completely linear, as you'll find there will be a couple of pieces here and there (like the WTC I Prelude in C you learned) that are easier than the pieces from the book before. For the most part though, the pieces do get progressively harder. You probably won't find a lot of hand independence exercises until you get to the inventions, but there's plenty of great material to start with from the first two books alone that will prepare you. The inventions require you to voice multiple independent melodies, which can be pretty difficult for any beginner pianist.

I also agree with the other poster, keep practicing your scales! There's a lot of different ways to improve your technique from playing scales alone. Learn all your major and harmonic/melodic minor scales. Learn to play them across multiple octaves, in parallel and contrary motion, starting from any key, in thirds, sixths, and tenths. Mix them up and play different scales in each hand at the same time. Play one scale in one hand at half the speed of the other hand. Play them at different dynamics, play them legato/staccato. The variety of ways you can improve your technique from just scales is staggering, not to mention it will be of immense benefit for improving your music theory and will help you run through scales much more quickly when you encounter them in a piece later on :)

u/mrutssamoht · 7 pointsr/composertalk

Hey man,
Same thing happened to me a few years ago. I just started writing on paper with piano if I needed help with pitches. I'd write as many pages as possible and then put what I did on finale just to hear what I wrote. It seems like a good method because nothing really beats the formatting of a good notation program but as many of my Comp. Prof.'s have said, "Midi isn't real. It will trick you." I think that's the most important part of this whole process. Something you write on midi might be very impossible (or uselessly difficult). Also, feel free to bring some music to someone who actually play the instrument you are writing for and asking them to play through it. Most performers I know are always willing to do this if they aren't too busy already!

When I started composing microtonaly (year or so ago) this became an even bigger problem for me and I started having to rely on my ear and experimenting with different types of synthesizers to determine an approximate sound. It gets better as you write things out though. Just by working things out from your head to paper for a while you develop a stronger ability to compose without midi crutches.

Some benefits of doing this you might not have thought of:

  1. When composing on paper you have the opportunity to see a line through without being controlled by bar lines or staff division (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004FEF4CG/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I use these). Often times I'll just compose rhythms and melodies without bar lines and then add them in later. This really helps me focus more on readability of a part (I've almost eradicated using too many time signature changes and my rehearsals/performances have gotten much better)

  2. You get to really step back and look at the overall image of what you have done. Just open up to a sheet and observe the aggregate image (much more difficult on a program).

  3. I get headaches looking at a screen for too long so if you have this problem this is great!

  4. It's easier to transport music you are working on.

  5. Composing can move faster because you aren't inhibited by changing note type and then clicking it into a spot etc.

  6. You focus much less on making your score look nice.

  7. You can interrupt a system with notes/visual representations of what you think might happen next (I use different shapes often)/commentary.

    Hope this convinces you this is a good idea.

    Make sure you have a strong hold on proper notation/orchestration (A useful resource - http://www.amazon.com/The-Study-Orchestration-Third-Edition/dp/039397572X, bit pricey though) And also, this site has been a miracle for me - http://www.music.indiana.edu/department/composition/isfee/. This will save you a lot of time.

    Best of luck! Also, just trust yourself and your ear. This stuff takes time, patience, and practice (like all things music).

    Edit: Some Trivia - many composers of the past (those without the miracle/curse of notation software) would just sketch things out and short hand things ("repeat this here", "ostinato bass" etc.) and then hand it to a publisher to put together when it was done. For example, Beethoven. I mean look at this crap - https://www.google.com/search?q=beethoven+hand+written+music&client=firefox-a&hs=fUD&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=8kpKUqyCL4fi2AXV0YGQBA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=701&dpr=1#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=MP65Ypeh4KL_nM%3A%3B-WsvncUQEMICJM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fclassicalmusicblog.com%252F2007%252F09%252Fimages%252Fmvt1-facsimile-s.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fclassicalmusicblog.com%252F2007%252F09%252Fbeethoven-sonata.html%3B580%3B463. Think of the notation software as your robotic publisher. That's what I do.
u/keakealani · 3 pointsr/musictheory

Ahh, that makes sense, sorry \^\^;

There are books on a huge variety of subjects in music, so it does depend a little bit on what you are interested in specifically. For a broad overview, I liked A History of Western Music - the current edition is the 8th, but much of the materials from the 7th edition are available online. Another book I recommend is Harold C. Schonberg's The Lives of the Great Composers. It is less in-depth, but is written in a more narrative style while still hitting on a lot of the "who's who" in classical music from the Baroque to the 20th century (although it's maybe a tad outdated in the later 20th and 21st century).

Besides those two, I actually don't have any others on the top of my head that are good overviews. /u/m3g0wnz does have a guide to music theory textbooks on the sidebar that details out some of the main texts in that area. And, of course, there are books that specialize on a variety of subjects within music theory and history - Ebenezer Prout's book on fugues is one such example that I've looked at, as well as both the Kennan and Adler on the subject of orchestration. (Actually, Kennan also wrote a book on Counterpoint.)

On the subject of sight-singing, I've used both Rhythm and Pitch and A New Approach to Sight Singing in my aural skills classes - I like the Berkowitz a little better in the way it's organized, but both offer plenty of examples for practice. Alternatively, picking up a hymnal is possibly an easier alternative to sightsinging that gives you lots of tonal material for practice.

With most of my other suggestions, though, you don't really need a book. Print out some scores on IMSLP or pick up a cheap study edition (like this one of Mozart piano sonatas) and work through a harmonic/formal analysis.

With transposition, I think probably just working through some scores on IMSLP would be a good start, as well - I can't think of any other better way to get exercises for that. It's one of those topics that's pretty easy to quiz yourself with as long as you keep yourself honest. :)

Edit to add: As far as specifics of literature, that is obviously pretty instrument-dependent. I am a vocalist, and I usually choose language first and then begin exploring pieces that might work with my current technical goals. I know a lot of instrumentalists treat genre/time period the same way. So depending on your instrument, you may have a different approach, but it helps to narrow things down to a few composers you might like to explore for your instrument, and then seeing if anything works for you. Although be wary - for me I end up getting so involved in lit studies that I have a list a mile long of pieces I want to study in the future. It's a double-edged sword for sure.

u/Snuug · 1 pointr/piano

I know it's a contentious group of pieces, but I've had incredible luck with Hanon. If you can read music and play hands together, I highly recommend it.

I took lessons for 13 years, but since I've been in college I've been self teaching. I've always really loved piano and I have decent technique, but I never really learned things in a way that wasn't sloppy. I decided I wanted to change that, and I sat down and learned all 3 parts of Hanon exactly as instructed in the book. It's not a perfect method, but I play through it every day now and honestly my technique is miles beyond what it used to be. I wish I had learned as a beginner so badly it hurts.

So my suggestion to you is this: buy this book (http://www.amazon.com/Hanon-Virtuoso-Exercises-Complete-Schirmers/dp/0793525446/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414561983&sr=1-1&keywords=hanon), play through it every day (no matter how boring it may get) exactly as instructed. It takes a little under an hour to play the whole book at tempo, and I imagine you'll be preoccupied learning all of the etudes for quite a while.

I'm a firm believer that we can all craft ourselves into excellent pianists, and all I think you need to do that is repertoire and a will to practice and make a sound that you like. Once you have the technique from the Hanon down, you can get started on any number of pieces. Another very good method is Bela Bartok's Mikrokosmos, which my mean, Hungarian teacher made me slave away at for years. It comes in 6 volumes, the first of which is (http://www.amazon.com/Mikrokosmos-Pink-English-French-Hungarian/dp/1423493044/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414562208&sr=1-1&keywords=mikrokosmos).

If you were to learn a significant amount of the material from either of those methods, you would be a significantly better pianist. If classical piano isn't necessarily the route you want to go, you'll still be well served by either/or.

The most important thing is to play whenever the urge strikes you, in my experience. It becomes a bit of an addiction, but there's such a huge world of piano music out there that you'll never grow bored with it, and you'll certainly never run out of things to do. Best of luck.

u/klaviersonic · 7 pointsr/piano

>Just for encouragement, is it safe to say that those 5 years actually gave me something?

Yes, of course. You're 5 years ahead of zero experience.

>Can I say that I started to play the piano at an early age?

I guess. Who do you need to prove yourself to?

>I’m worried that it was more like a waste of time.

Don't worry.

>What should I make my priority for now? Should I learn a bunch of theory? Should I play scales all day? Should I focus on ear training?

In terms of theory, you should understand the following:

  • 4 chord types with all inversions: Major, Minor, Dominant 7, Diminished 7 (in all 12 keys)
  • Major & Natural Minor scales (in all 12 keys)
  • The Circle of Fifths & The Key Signatures
  • Chord progressions like II-V-I or IV-V-I (in all 12 keys)

    That's just a start, but it should take you a few weeks of an hour practice daily to master the above. You don't need to "play scales all day". Once you've memorized them all, it should take 30 minutes of daily maintenance work to keep them in your fingers.

    >I currently pick pieces above my skill level and learn them slowly. I take around two-three days with three hours practice each to memorize them and be able to play without mistakes in every bar. After that I spend up to two months bringing it to desired speed and just polishing overall. Is that okay to do it? Perhaps it’s better to learn a lot of easy pieces instead?

    I think it's wise to look for quantity over quality in the beginning to intermediate stages of training. Spending a ton of time and energy on a single piece leads eventually to a certain dullness and falling out of love with the piece (and sometimes the piano!). If you're constantly exposing yourself to new pieces daily, that are more manageable in difficulty, you're exploring a lot of variety in musical ideas, learning to prioritize rhythm and spontaneity, and overcoming "perfection paralysis".

    Look at some of these interesting articles on the "40 piece challenge": http://sightreading.com.au/free-resources/40-piece-challenge.html

    >I’m thinking of buying one of those sight reading books. Do they really help a lot? Is that really important to focus on it now? At first I thought I’d wait until my sight reading improves naturally but I’m getting too annoyed with the slowness.

    Yes, Sight Reading is the most important thing to focus on. I like this series by John Kember: http://www.amazon.com/John-Kember-Piano-Sight-Reading-Approach/dp/184761132X

    >Any tips on ear training? Is that ok to start by transposing easy G1-G2 pieces?

    Transposing is more of a mental "theory" thing, IMO, than an ear training practice (although really ALL music study is ear-training). This site has lots of notation/theory/ear-training exercises (the app Tenuto is really good too): http://www.musictheory.net/exercises
u/Keselo · 3 pointsr/piano

>But for all other pieces that can't be played prima vista, how are you supposed to learn without memorising it? No matter how you use the sheet, past the first few playthroughs of a piece (or section of a piece), you will develop muscle memory for that piece (or section).

Muscle memory is not an inherently bad thing. It's bad if it's the only thing you have to rely on, which is the case by memorizing something by just repeating it over and over and over again until it sticks. What happens when you learn while keeping your eyes on the sheet, however, is that you link this muscle memory that you build to visual cues. The muscle memory is triggered by you reading a certain shape or passage on the page. This is much more reliable than is the case with rote memorization, when the muscle memory is triggered by the last notes that you played.

Not only is it much more reliable to create these visual cues, it's also very beneficial in how it allows for future growth. The next time you'll come across a shape or passage on a page of music, the muscle memory that you linked to that visual cue gets triggered, and you can either play it instantly without thinking, or you refresh that which you've learned earlier, which allows you to execute it with very little additional practice required.

See this as building a (piano playing) vocabulary. This is what will eventually allow you to prima vista sightread. You can't expect yourself to just do something if you never learned how to do it.

>So even if you're looking at the sheet the whole time, you're not actually sight reading it, in the prima vista sense, but simply using the sheet as a reference whilst your muscle memory does the work.

Yes and no. You are relying on the muscle memory that you built over your last days of practice, but that doesn't mean you aren't reading. You're not identifying everything like you would when you're prima vista sight-reading, but you're still reliant on the sheet to play the correct notes. That's enough to gain future benefit out of it.

>Yet when I learn pieces, I generally look at the sheet whilst playing. I just inevitably find that, past a point, I stop reading the sheet and just use the general shape of the sheet as a sort of visual cue for my muscle memory.

Welp, that perfectly summarizes what I just said. This is good! This is what you want! It's like when you're reading a book, as you get better you stop reading individual words and instead start (automatically) grouping certain words, or reading while being mindful of the general context of the text.

>I'm under the impression that this is a bad way to learn.

I understand that you think this, but I think you needn't worry. For a bit of personal context, I've been playing for 1 year and 9 months now, and only yesterday started practicing my prima vista sight reading. This has been the first time I've ever focused on playing something first time, in tempo, without preparation, and without pausing for mistakes. I learned my pieces (and still learn) in a way which is similar to the way you describe. For my prima vista sight reading, I use this book (which is often recommended here), and I could play the first 40 pieces effortlessly. That's material that would've taken me at least a few days to get down a year ago.

Even though I'm just two days in, I dare conclude from this that the method that you describe works splendidly for improving both your reading and for preparing you for prima vista sightreading. You might be trying to sightread material that's too hard, or you might simply be starting on it too soon. From what I've gathered from some teachers online (whose opinions I greatly respect), prima vista sightreading is something which you should start after 1 or 2 years of study. You've still got plenty of time to get more comfortable with reading, which will automatically happen as long as you keep learning while keeping your eyes on the sheet.

u/m3g0wnz · 2 pointsr/musictheory

I posted this in our still-being-created FAQ, hope it helps!


I always recommend Robert Gauldin's books on 16th- and 18th-century counterpoint, mostly because they're just what I used as an undergrad. I realize there are others out there that are just as good, but I do think Gauldin is extremely smart and knows what he's talking about.

I've also used Evan Jones's book on modal counterpoint. It's newer so not as time-tested, but it seems like a nice book. It quotes some passages directly from Fux's Gradus where they are relevant, which is nice.

Speaking of which, I don't recommend learning straight from Fux's Gradus. It was written nearly 300 years ago (in 1725) and you are not its target audience! It's an extremely important treatise in relation to the history of music theory and music in general, but it is not flawless and there are other books written with a more updated style of pedagogy that will be easier to learn from. Feel free to read Fux to supplement your work, but I would not make it my primary text.

Turning now to species counterpoint, I'd like to plug what I think is a fascinating book for academics and beginners alike: Counterpoint in Composition by Carl Schachter and Felix Salzer, two brilliant minds in music theory. The book does teach some counterpoint, but what I think the interesting part is is where they relate counterpoint to "free composition"—i.e., pieces by Beethoven, Brahms, and others who were not literally writing species counterpoint, but composing freely. Every student I've assigned readings to from this text has loved the readings and it encouraged them to keep working at counterpoint since the relationship to "real music" became that much more tangible after reading this book.

u/discount_timetravel · 7 pointsr/jazzguitar

I hear you man...same boat. I hear a lot of recommendations for the Leavitt berklee guitar method books. These books

I'm personally working on adopting a fingering system similar to Leavitt and it's helped my playing a lot. My practice routine is:

  • Warm up with scales and arpeggios and sing along to the notes to train my ear for about an hour, and warm up my voice if I'm going to work on folk music or songwriting for the day.

  • Then I get some noodling out of my system by playing along to an album.

  • Then if I'm working on jazz, I'll work on a basic song out of the fake books (Autumn leaves, Beautiful Love, Summertime all have good progressions with some typical jazz changes in them and are at a beginner level), and try to play the chords in different positions, inversions, subs voice-leading etc..

  • Then I'll loop the chords and play the head a few times and start to improvise around the melody. Then I just play the 1-3-5-7 of each chord in different positions, to lock in on the chord tones, and then I improvise for a while until I get bored with myself and move onto another tune. Each time it gets a little better, more fluid.

    You have to take it one step at a time. Learning something new will help you recognize where the holes are in your playing/knowledge. You probably have picked up a lot over the years, but if you're anything like me it's good to start over with some basics, because your knowledge is unstructured and there are a lot of holes. Adopt a fingering system like Leavitts or similar and you will start to connect things you already know. Make sure you know all the notes on the fretboard. Learn triads all over their neck and then learn the 1st and 2nd inversions of those triads.

    Check out Frank Vignolas modern method course on truefire, it's very helpful for unlocking the neck of the guitar. He goes over basic scales, arps, intervals, and pretty much holds your hand while you learn it. So if you have ADD like me, it helps. Reminds me I need to finish that course..

    Good luck, and have fun.
u/stanley_bobanley · 7 pointsr/musictheory

While you're considering the absolutely necessary chord tone advice on this thread, also consider jazz rhythms. They are essential to improvising a good solo. Try playing straight 16th note runs or quarter notes on the beat over changes. Your bandmates will perk up immediately re: how non-jazzy your playing is. You can nail all the right scales over the right chords, but if your phrasing is all over the place, robotic, and/or not-at-all in a groove, your solos aren't going to feel right.

A fantastic resource on jazz rhythms (besides listening to great players):
Melodic Rhythms for Guitar

In my experience, knowing rhythms while not knowing all the notes has proven very helpful. You could be playing mostly outside (melodically) while hitting chord tones on rhythmically important accents and play jazz rhythms throughout and your soloing can sound totally convincing.

That said, re: chord tones I've been working on arpeggiating chords in a single position for a given standard, and working my way through a variety of positions over a number of standards. This sounds like a lot of work, and it actually isn't. If you consider trying four positions (say 3, 5, 7, & 9), you could arpeggiate all the chords in a standard in four different ways in a single hour if you were efficient. You walk away with interesting realizations like "What does a 5th position Gmaj7 arpeggio look like" and so on. Do that enough and your fluency re: chord tones grows very quickly.

Just remember that groove matters a great deal in making your solos sound like jazz.

u/allemande · 6 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

For anything that involves advanced music theory, or more technical elements of music, your best bet (IMHO) is to stay clear from jazz/rock books or anything "popular" and read from traditional academic/classical composers. That is, if you're looking to understand music from a more historic point of view of how is was used, and how it worked for hundreds of years and how it still works today.

There are tons of good books out there, but off the top of my head I reccomend:

Regarding the art of counterpoint:

Preliminary exercises in Counterpoint - Schoenberg

Also, you could check out the traditional Fux's Study of Counterpoint, but I think Schoenberg's book is far more complete and incentive.

Regarding the art of Harmony:

For a long time I've always thought that books could educate you in any way, until I met my harmony teacher. After studying with her for a couple years I find it hard to believe how much information, technique, and art is missing from almost every book on the subject, some are exceptions, obviously, but my recommendation is that there is no better way of learning this but with personal intruction. Also, the teacher needs to be someone who has had a strong education in music from well-known masters of the past, as was my teacher.

Anyways, regarding harmony in the more poetical and theoretical sense I reccomend :

Rameau's Treatise on Harmony

and of course, Schoenberg's Theory of Harmony

For a more technical approach to harmony I haven't found any books I'm really fond of, but I do think that Paul Hindemith's book is a very good option.

For something in the middle I recommend this

Regarding form and structure in music:

Once again, I have never seen information and instruction similar to that which I received with my professors, however here are a few good picks...

Schoenberg's Fundamentals of musical composition

and 2 books that I found very useful were...
(these I didn't find on amazon.com)

from German composer Clemens Kuhn: "Formenlehre der Musik" (this is only in German)

and from Spanish composer Joaquin Zamacois: "Curso de Formas Musicales" (this is only in Spanish I believe)

Well, surely there are more books, but I think these are good options for you to start. However, always with a grain of salt

u/nanyin · 1 pointr/CasualConversation

There are a lot of resources online - youtube etc, but I prefer books so when I decided to teach myself how to play around 2 and a half years ago I used Alfred's Adult all-in-one, progressive sight reading, and Easy classics to moderns.

Once I felt comfortable enough with sight reading, I just started buying whatever I liked. I also sit down and transcribe the music I like. Just got done learning this track from pride and prejudice, and it barely took a week to learn! It's so wonderful to see my fingers flying across the keys, I can't even describe it.

You might also like flowkey.

Good luck, and I'm sure you'll thank present you for starting - say 5 years from now, when you're sitting at your piano and feeling generally amazing after a particularly good improvisation :)

u/fettyman · 3 pointsr/piano

I had been practicing for about a bit less than a year before I decided to take up sightreading seriously. Similarly, when I was younger, my teacher didn't really ever teach me to sight read, so I mostly used the sheet to figure out how to move my fingers then never looked back.

That being said, I want to say that noticeable results were actually pretty quick. Within a week or two I was actually following and reading notes much better. At this point, I had bought a small sightreading book with about 50 or so small 5 bar pieces. I don't recommend this one, it's not very good in my opinion. I started on Bartok's Mikrokosmos next. This is where I saw the most improvement in a short time. This was the most helpful because his music tends to be pretty dissonant and doesn't sound how you'd expect. When you can't really predict the next note easily, it really forces you to read the sheet. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It works really well on a lot of levels. It's good for beginners and gets progressively more difficult as you go. It does spike in difficulty somewhat fast, so so use some of the other resources I linked below.

Though when I say improvements I don't mean I could sight read a Liszt concerto. I just mean that I had begun a mentality shift away from muscle movements and looking at the keys to actively looking at the sheet.

Here's another thread with a bunch of useful materials. A lot of these can be found online for free as well. I used the Gurlitt pieces as well, which were helpful. I can't vouch for it all, because I haven't played all the pieces, but if you worked your way through all those pieces in a week or two, you would see massive differences.

After using a lot of those pieces I got into the Bach Chorales because I had somewhat of a foundation for reading sheet at this point. I wouldn't really recommend it as a starter book. Go to Mikrokosmos for that.

Some materials I am using now is a big book of Chopin works. I take it pretty slowly and make a bunch of mistakes, but it's pretty helpful for recognizing chords which is a skill in it's own.

Some tips for practice:

  • Try to consume as much music as possible. Online, hard sheet, anything. Just make sure you aren't retaining any of the music and if you do play it again, you shouldn't be able to remember the specifics of the piece.

  • Sight reading is mentally exhausting, which is good to keep in mind. There's a lot of days where I really don't want to do it because it is one of the most mentally strenuous activities I do. You have to push yourself a bit.

  • Take it slowly. You don't need to play up to the recommended tempo if you cant play at that speed. Play at a speed where you make the least mistakes. That's where you retain the most. Use a metronome as well. Don't play at different speeds, keep a consistent tempo.

  • Sight reading is not much more different from the actual reading of words. Your brain does some pretty interesting things when reading. It clumps a jumble of letters into a word (notes in a chord), and reads ahead of what you are actively processing. It's very hard to read ahead with sheet, so don't worry about it too much. It comes with time and practice. Just keep both of these in mind.
u/Acreator1 · 5 pointsr/composer

Hey friend. You ask great questions!

The issue you’re having is a great illustration of why music conservatory training is so essential. You say you’re willing to dedicate much time and effort; have you considered enrolling in a composition program? There’s much, much more to this than reading a book (or watching some YouTube videos). Deep training in several overlapping fields – theory, aural skills, music history, instrumental performance, choral singing, keyboard skills, score study, composition, etc. – all contribute to developing high level composition & orchestration skills, regardless of your styles/genres of interest.

Anyway, one place you can start on your own would be to dig into a good counterpoint treatise. Counterpoint training is about the craft of melody and of combining individually-compelling melodies to create harmony. There are many great treatises/books spanning literally hundreds of years, and everyone will have their favorites.

Knud Jeppesen’s Counterpoint is fantastic; old-fashioned, but excellent for basic principles. You can find a pdf online easily. The Salzer & Schachter book is more modern and also great. Thorough, well-organized, and I’ve found it to be effective with students who don’t have very deep musical backgrounds at the outset.

Above all, have fun with it and dig deep. Sing and play (at the piano/keyboard) everything you study and write!

u/vanillaholler · 1 pointr/Composition

If possible, look into taking a class at a local college.
Otherwise, check out an orchestration textbook like https://www.amazon.com/Study-Orchestration-Third-Samuel-Adler/dp/039397572X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1467290384&sr=8-1&keywords=the+study+of+orchestration+samuel+adler

That's what a lot of schools use when teaching orchestration. This will help you learn how to write for specific instruments and covers many techniques. Another great way to improve your orchestration is to study scores. If you are looking for a specific "rich sound" like what you hear in whomever's symphony no. 2, then get a score for it and listen to it! I advise listening to it once without a score or listening but not looking too closely at it and following along.
Stick a page marker in the book on a page you find interesting or when you hear a sound you like, then come back to it and try to figure out what you like about it! The textbook will help a lot because it can inform you of a technique you may be unfamiliar with: what it's called, and how to notate it correctly. If you get a copy of the book with CDs you can hear some examples of everything in the book.

Another way to help if you can't find or afford the book is to find someone who plays the instruments you're writing for and go to them with pen and paper and ask them "show me every interesting trick or technique you know how to play." have them spell out whatever it's called and show you how you would notate it as well.

And like composing any new thing, the more you do it, the better at it you'll be.

u/9rus · 1 pointr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

Well the first issue you talk about-- the assignment of notes in your chords to instruments of the orchestra-- is orchestration. Here are a couple of good textbooks that cover that:

u/dawnoftheshed · 9 pointsr/Guitar

If you're new to guitar, don't worry about a 'routine'. Buy a classical guitar songbook, or better yet, a classical guitar lesson book. A really good one is by Noad, and has good classical pieces to learn: http://www.amazon.com/Solo-Guitar-Playing-Frederick-Noad/dp/0825636795/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317996077&sr=8-1

Rather than focus on scales (which are very uninteresting), try working through a book, or pick a few classical guitar pieces to work on. I think this is the best way to hone your chops, but also keep your interest. You want to be motivated to practice, and scales just don't do that for me.

Classical guitar, if you work at it enough, will naturally build your finger dexterity. In contrast to scales/fingerboard exercises, you are able to see improvement in very definable ways--that is, from one piece to the next. That's where the excitement and drive to play comes from for me.

Good luck!

u/drumstix576 · 7 pointsr/piano

Chopin's Etudes are robust compositions whose focus is more on development of a particular style or character than any one specific skill. Op. 10 No. 3 emphasizes maintaining an expressive, legato style while exploring a handful of complexities. It is much more strongly focused on tone and phrasing than the other etudes in this set.

The 'A' section layers several melodic lines on top of one another, which presents a few challenges. The left hand's voices, while simple technically, provide a texture that is both internally disparate and independent from the right hand, while the right hand must use the weaker 3-4-5 fingers to project the primary melody over the accompaniment in the lower ones. All four of these lines then must be balanced against each other and the rise and fall of the dynamics in the melody must be executed without affecting the underlying voices. Several passages require the portamento technique to maintain the legato style without overuse of the pedal.

The 'B' section that follows introduces a melody that consists of sequences of chords played with one hand; finding a fingering that works for you can be difficult. While I don't believe the left hand in the section's opening bars was intended to be truly staccato, it should certainly be more disconnected than the right. The bars that follow, again, present several melodic lines that must be balanced against each other. Fingering is definitely a challenge in the diverging chromatic tri-tones that come next. Make sure you find a fingering that allows you to practice in a relaxed fashion without tensing up and placing undue stress on your wrists.

Use of the pedal is an interesting component throughout, as well. Chopin avoided placing pedal marks in his scores, preferring instead that his students figure out what works best for them. Take a look at a few different editions to get some ideas, and make sure to avoid leaning on the pedal to accomplish the legato style that characterizes this piece.

I'd highly recommend picking up the Cortot edition of these etudes. He includes an extensive introduction to each etude, providing context (much more thorough than what I've written here), technical direction and exercises for studying the more difficult passages. The introduction for this etude is as long as the etude itself and I found it to be an invaluable resource.

TL;DR: Legato, voicing, pedal, rubato and expressiveness

u/ILikeasianpeople · 5 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

Hey, I’m kind of a book junkie when it comes to common practice stuff, so I’m gonna throw a bunch of em at ya. The common practice era of composition can be broken down into 3 major fields of study: Form/Composition, Harmony and Orchestration. Form/composition is about how music develops over time harmonically and melodically. Harmony is about how vertical sonorities interact with one another, this is one of the most fleshed out aspects of music theory. Orchestration, usually the capstone discipline, dives into how groups of instruments interact with one another on a harmonic level and a melodic one. Harmony+composition can be studied simultaneously considering there is so much overlap, orchestration usually comes after you have a middling understanding of the other two subjects.

There are a bunch of free online materials on these subjects, but here is my personal favorite:

There are also a few free books on harmony, orchestration and composition, but most of them were published a very long time ago. As a consequence, you may run into outdated or poorly explained concepts.


Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony


Principles of Orchestration


Fundamentals of music Composition

Exercises in Melody Writing

Most of the stuff with comprehensive+up to date information on these subjects is going to be something you pay for. Here are my favorite textbooks. One thing I value in a textbook is an accompanying workbook and/or some sort of exercise based learning, so I’ll be listing the workbooks (if applicable) as well.

Melody in Songwriting

Craft of Musical Composition Parts One and Two

Models For Beginners in Composition

Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music

Workbook for Harm Practice

The Study of Orchestration

Workbook for The Study of Orchestration

This isn’t an exhaustive list but it’s pretty solid.

Recording orchestras is out of reach for most, so you’ll probably need some good VSTs to use and some knowledge of how to make them sound ‘real’. Building an orchestra template is key to making music quickly and efficiently. It’s a massive headache to have to wait for Kontakt to load and instrument every time you want to add a flute or violin to your score. Here are the basics of what you’ll need:








French horns




“Low brass”


1st Violins

2nd Violins




First chairs of each









Orchestral percussion

Concert Toms



Concert bass drums

Here are some places to get all of that:

Audio Bro (the ARC system is awesome)



Orchestral Tools (my favorite)


EastWest Sounds

Heres a resource to make all of that stuff sound ‘real’. It’s a lot more difficult then you may think.

The Guide to MIDI Orchestration 4e

u/snow-clone · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

If you want to go about it like the old masters, study counterpoint, which is basically the art of combining multiple melodies together to form harmony. Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven studied Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum for their basic training, but I would recommend a more updated method. I always tell people to get Salzer/Schachter's Counterpoint in Composition, which essentially modernizes species counterpoint, focusing on just major and minor modes (which is probably what you'll want to start with).

It might be good to pick up a copy of Kostka's Tonal Harmony to have around as a supplement. If you start from harmony, rather than counterpoint, your music is always going to be a little directionless and meandering.

The idea of being a "classical" composer today is a bit weird, in and of itself. From a historical perspective, we usually think of the Western European classical period being from 1750 to about 1825 or so. Clearly we are not living in that era now. This sub-reddit tends to lump in all Western "art music" (maybe roughly equivalent to notated polyphonic music) under the appellation "classical" as well, spanning from Perotin and Leonin writing some of the first polyphony at the Notre Dame cathedral in the 13th century to Kaija Saariaho's recent premiere in LA.

Western "art music" composers today, or composers of notated music indebted to the Western classical tradition, come in a huge variety of stylistic flavors, and they live in a huge variety of cultural ecosystems.

On one hand, you have composers in (and following) the German (Marxist) avant-garde, railing against the commodified nostalgia for Romanticism, completely breaking with tradition by abandoning everything, even pitch. On the other hand, you have an endless spiral of nostalgia plunderers, skillfully (even masterfully) dressing up the disinterred corpses of nineteenth century orchestral cliches as puppets to tell pastiche Hollywood tales. Is there a middle way between these extremes that is not totally bland? I hope so.

u/toysmith · 5 pointsr/classicalguitar

Almost. There are other differences between "classical" nylon string guitars and steel string. Neck width (I mentioned space between the strings, which it's related to) is one, for sure.

Another "family" difference is modern steel strings tend to have the neck intersect the body at the 14th fret. Classical guitar necks join the body at the 12th fret. This matters somewhat if you sit and play "classical style" with the guitar balanced across your left leg (if you're playing typically right handed), neck inclined at more than 45 degrees, with the headstock level with your chin. See here for examples A steel string neck will be a bit longer than the classical neck, and the guitar will balance differently. Not a huge deal (I play my steel string in a classical position), but another difference.

Here's a huge difference - the sound. The steel string guitar was engineered with steel strings in mind. The tension exerted by steel strings on the bridge is about twice that of nylon strings. The bracing, thickness of the sound board, etc., are all designed with that in mind. Lower tension nylon strings just won't drive as much sound out of your guitar as they would a classical guitar (with much lighter bracing and thinner top). Also, you'll run into a technical problem with where/how to tie off nylon strings on your bridge. Unlike steel strings that terminate in a little round thingy that is trapped under the bridge pin, nylon strings just... end. On a classical bridge they're looped around and tied off in a fancy knot.

So my original advice stands, I think. Play your guitar just as it is. If you really like playing the classical pieces, consider getting a used classical guitar.

Now, as far as your complaint re: damping strings near the top of the neck. I hate to say this but that's your technique, not the guitar itself. Yeah, it's a bit easier to not interfere with strings on a wider classical neck, but there are plenty of steel string players that need to play clean chords without any thumping or buzzing. One thing classical lessons are good for is learning efficient techniques with left and right hands - practicing from the get-go on getting your left hand fingers pressing down vertically on the strings with the tips of the fingers, not slanting the fingers, keeping the thumb low behind the back of the neck, the curve of the hand, keeping it all relaxed and ergonomically sound... There really is a reason the "classical posture" evolved to what it is - it's about as ergonomically neutral (i.e., not holding lots of unnecessary strain or twisting) as you can get playing a guitar.

I started learning on a steel string guitar, too, using Noad's Solo Guitar Playing. I played on a steel string for a couple of years in high school before getting my first classical guitar, so it's possible!

Edit: fixed link.

u/SirPringles · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

Oh, I see. I understand that might be a problem. I only study music, so it's no problem for me, but it does take up a lot of time... If I were you I'd pick it up again! There's few things as wonderful as being able to play an instrument!

Honestly, it was easier than I'd thought. I had played a little piano before, but only for backing up pop songs and such. Never anything classical. I started off with Burgmüller's op. 100, and I think that's a really great place to start. They're simple fairly simple etudes, but they are pleasant to listen to as well.

u/Inman328 · 15 pointsr/Guitar

I'm guessing since you are learning all this theory and stuff that you want to be a good musician. Any good musician will want to possess the skill of reading music. I know us guitarists generally don't want to read, but it REALLY comes in handy when you want to communicate between other musicians (especially non-guitarists). I recommend this book for reading. Not only does it teach you to read, but it introduces concepts of music theory as you go. I'm currently on Vol. 2 and it's rough, but I can tell you right now that I know SO much more since starting this book than if I hadn't and just kept trying to do things by ear.

As for classes and sequences, it's a lot of theory, ear training, sight-singing, and melodic/harmonic dictations. I know sight-singing seems kind of trivial or even inapplicable, but it is honestly one of, if not the best things to be good at musically. To be able to sight sing well means that you can internalize notes in your head (relatively); i.e. you can hear in your head what's supposed to be playing. For that I would say that this book would be the best, it's the one that I'm using and will continue to use for some time. For theory I would recommend the guitar book (I was never assigned an actual textbook in my theory courses). For ear training I would recommend this site. And the dictations will come once you've gained some mastery in the previous skills.

Sorry for the long post, I kind of got ahead of myself there. But one last thing - if you just keep drilling the theory and reading, even when it gets hard, you'll progress. There were times when I just looked at a piece of music that I had to have down by the following week and thought to myself, "there's no way in hell I'm going to be able to play this." But some determination and time will get you there.

u/r2metwo · 2 pointsr/composer

In no particular order, here are some things that come to mind:

Modes of Rhythm

Anthony Wellington teaches slap bass and rhythm using the "Modes of Rhythm" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asYfvMzjk7M

This is an interesting approach to working with rhythm.

Arranging for Large Jazz Ensemble by Dick Lowell


Good resource for jazz arranging

The Study of Orchestration by Samuel Adler


I have the 3rd edition. Get it used rather than new. This is a popular choice when studying instrumentation and orchestration for orchestral/chamber music.

Other good orchestration online resources:



The Secrets of Dance Music Production


I haven't checked this one out completely, but it's an interesting resource for electronic music with great visual analysis

And if you're looking for things to improve your composing skills, definitely study counterpoint. Start with Species counterpoint then move to other styles/eras. Learning this completely changed my perspective of theory and why we learn it.

Hope that helps.

u/Xenoceratops · 5 pointsr/musictheory

> Add the E flat clarinet to the piccolo if you want some extra punch/piercing/volume.

Does anyone really want "extra punch/piercing/volume" from a piccolo?

> Add the oboes or clarinets to the flutes if the flutes sound too thin. Consider doubling these in octaves. Harmony can serve a similar purpose and provide a different timbre than exact doubling.

Writing flutes and clarinets/oboes together definitely brings the flutes closer to the sound of the reed instruments. I'd think unison is the best bet. Octave doubling is an effect all its own, and shouldn't be used without purpose. However, if done, doubling should occur over the highest voice or under the lowest voice.

> Clarinets and violins or violas can sound almost identical if scored creatively. They blend very easily.

In my experience, clarinet gets masked by strings if they're in the same register. You're the clarinetist, though. What's your take?

> These are just a handful of ways to spice up your sounds. There are infinitely more, and you'll just have to experiment with them to figure out what you like.

"Experiment" is a strange word to use for an expensive ensemble that requires a lot of manpower and a huge amount of skill to write for. Assuming OP even has access to an orchestra, I would be incredibly surprised if the conductor or any of the musicians tolerated repeated experimentation with bad orchestration that wastes their rehearsal time. Better and cheaper is to get a couple of books on orchestration (Rimsky-Korsakov, Piston, Adler, Gerou/Black), do exercises, have a composer who knows what they are doing critique said exercises, and study the shit out of scores. And no, sound libraries are not the same thing as a real orchestra.

>Don't underestimate the value of letting an instrument stand on its own though. Don't double everything or else you'll get a machine instead of an orchestra. That said, the best way to figure out what sounds good is to pick up some scores you like, listen to them while you read, and figure out what sounds you like.

Solid advice. Overscoring is the most common mistake of composers unfamiliar with the orchestral medium.

u/funky_old_dude · 2 pointsr/jazzguitar

What isnoreyoudrive and landonllama have said is correct. For now you've got to take those charts home and woodshed the crap out of them. Reading music on guitar can be super frustrating at first but it's better that you learn to do it now rather than later.

I recommend you get a copy of a book called Melodic Rhythms for Guitar by Wm. Leavitt. and start practicing from it daily. It's going to sound obvious but the only way you improve is to practice daily for a period of at least a few months, but realistically for the next couple of years to get it solidified. Even as little as 15 minutes daily will go a long way towards that goal of being able to read fluently. Also, when learning the rhythm groups and studies in the Leavitt book (or any other music you're learning) it's super important to count the rhythms. Do this as slowly as you have to - it doesn't even need to be in time at this point - just plug away while audibly saying the rhythms, such as "one and two, three and four" for two 8th notes, a quarter note, two more 8th notes, a quarter note, etc. If this is confusing talk to your band director or a good reader in your jazz band to help you with it.

u/owentuz · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

I see you found it, but I'll just throw in a word if I may for Frank Koonce's edition of Bach's lute works. It's only really worth it if you're interested in learning more Bach on the guitar but the fingering and editorial notes really are fantastic. The pieces are the most guitaristic transcriptions of Bach I'm aware of, whilst staying historically aware.

Edit: also, the Segovia performance on YouTube - Segovia normally takes such liberties that I won't recommend him for anything except his own music, but he nailed this one.

Hope that helps you, anyway. I love this piece.

u/tritonesub · 1 pointr/Guitar

http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Method-Guitar-Volume/dp/0876390130 I really recommend looking at this series of books here. It will teach you fundamentals in scales and harmony (not just the standard chord shapes, but harmonic voice leading), as well as get you used to reading music, and thus fully understanding what it is that you are doing on the guitar. If you can get through the first volume at all, it will have you set for jamming with just about anyone if you're playing rhythm, the other volumes will just simply get you to be a better player.

EDIT: If you're going to pick up this book, I recommend getting the berklee jazz song book to compliment it so that you have some real songs to apply what you've learned. You don't have to tackle the songs right away, but once you feel comfortable it is a definite plus.

Practice everything at all different speeds on the metronome

u/[deleted] · 6 pointsr/jazzguitar

Sight reading has been my Achilles heel for most of my guitar playing life, so I can offer some suggestions based on what has helped me.

One is you need to stay in regular practice reading music, which is not necessarily the same as "sight reading." Experts say you're supposed to sight read to better your sight reading skills, but most music students (brass and woodwind players, pianists, percussionists) have been steeped in daily reading practice on their instruments for literally years before they get to college. Only rarely are they sight reading; most of what they read are pieces they're preparing for performance, so they're having the basics reinforced on a constant basis, and if they're in band, orchestra, or choir they have not only a director/conductor correcting them, but peers to help reinforce their learning.

For the most part guitarists don't encounter these situations until much later in their journeys, and by then everyone is a much better reader than they are, so it's pretty intimidating.

So, one solution is to get a fakebook and begin reading melodies every day, and not just sight read them, but learn them, and then reread them on the regular. This runs counter to what the experts say, but see above. You've got to have that regular grounding to get to the fluent sight reading stage.

Etudes are another way to reinforce this. Again, you're actually learning these to performance level, and not just "sight reading practice." An excellent book for this is Sam Most's Jazz Improvisation, which is 217 one chorus etudes on the changes to different standard tunes.

Another book which has helped me a lot and I've used with reading practice in college guitar classes is Wm. Leavitt's Melodic Rhythms for Guitar. The premise here is learning all of the common rhythmic combinations of basic note values - whole notes, half, quarter, eighths, and triplets - there are both isolated studies of each rhythm and etudes that make use of them.

Last, see if you can get together with other players and read through tunes or whatever. If you're in a large enough pool of guitar players to find a reading group it's a great way to share your pain and progress.

My 4 and 1/2 cents (adjusted for inflation).

u/clarinetist001 · 1 pointr/piano

If you've only been playing for 6 months, this piece may be too difficult for you. I learned the Waltz in b minor by Chopin (Op. 69 #2) before I learned the c# minor waltz. I found that what I learned from the b minor waltz transferred very easily to the c# minor waltz.

For both Waltzes I've mentioned here in general, start off as slow as you need to, and make sure that you get all of the nuances right. This c# minor waltz was the first time where I had to deal with repeated notes, and it's quite awkward at first, but if you practice slowly and keep a metronome going and build up your speed, you'll notice that the technique will eventually develop. The metronome is particularly important so that you maintain a rhythmic pulse, can keep your notes as even as possible, and can gauge where your progress is.

If you've only been playing for 6 months, you will probably have to practice either waltz (the b minor one I mentioned previously or, if you dare pursue this c# minor one) hands separate. Again, practice slowly with a metronome.

Another thing to take into account is that improving your sightreading ability helps for learning these pieces, and in my experience, made learning the c# minor Waltz a much less painful experience than for the b minor waltz (I had done a lot of sightreading practice after learning the b minor waltz). I had finished the three Kember series books (Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3 ), making sure that I didn't look at the keys for each exercise.

Hope this helps.

u/Lee_Uematsu · 1 pointr/musictheory

We have similar taste so here's what I used when I started:



You may already know him but Joe Hisaishi is awesome and you can get a lot of his scores. He has a similar vocabulary to Uematsu, but with more of an orchestral edge. If you can transcribe all of this (I've done a good bit of it) and get it all right, then I'd go ahead and transcribe Uematsu's score to Lost Odyssey. It's so good and will stretch your ear muscles for sure. Just a quick suggestion since you're bumping the awesome soundtrack to FF8 haha.

u/npcee · 2 pointsr/piano

I highly recommend doing some keyboard practice by transposing! I'm currently going through this https://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Sight-Reading-Exercises-Technique/dp/0793552621

There are 500ish examples that are quite easy I spend about 10 minutes on it everyday and I transpose the exercise i'm reading into all keys going up semitones. This forces you to read and feel hand positions and read in intervals rather than notes as you're transposing. Instead of thinking G > C> D in the original key of C you think I'm playing a perfect 4th and a major second after that and then you play it in every key from sight. I think it would be of much benefit to get into this kind of thing early.

u/eaglesbecomevultures · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

Sure! Here are a few that have helped me out:

The textbook that my school uses for beginning theory classes is The Complete Musician by Steven Laitz. It is a pretty comprehensive look at tonality, covering the very basics through 19th century theory. Isn't too pricey either: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Musician-Integrated-Approach-Listening/dp/0199742782

Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum is a great place to begin working on counterpoint: http://www.amazon.com/Study-Counterpoint-Johann-Joseph-Parnassum/dp/0393002772/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368896313&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=gradus+ad+parnasam+fux

Samuel Adler's The Study of Orchestration is my current go to book when researching the basics of different instruments and orchestration techniques: http://www.amazon.com/Study-Orchestration-Third-Samuel-Adler/dp/039397572X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368896395&sr=1-1&keywords=samuel+adler+orchestration

Lastly, once you feel you have developed a solid foundation with your theory knowledge, I can't stress enough the importance of studying/analyzing scores. It is (in my opinion) the best way of learning how to compose. One can learn so much from one score!

u/MaxwellMrdr · 2 pointsr/Guitar

If you're serious about fingerstyle playing, enough to spend some money, I recommend picking up Solo Guitar Playing Vol. 1 by Noad. I haven't come across a more comprehensive analysis of technique, down to hand placement and individual movement of the fingers. I picked the book up after 8 years of playing and was learning fundamental techniques described within the first few pages. It's also a great introduction into reading sheet music, not quite as fast paced as Modern Method for Guitar, the other commonly recommended book.

I second the JustinGuitar recommendations. His Practical Music Theory and Chord Construction Guide eBooks are great introductions to music theory.

u/tapworks · 1 pointr/Guitar

I recommend Noad. There are two volumes. This is a classical guitar book, but covers almost everything.

You'll also need a dedicated fingerstyle blues/folk book. These tend to be more fast and loose, and hence they can be light on actual instruction. Best is probably the Tommy Emmanuel technique book.

I also really like Pumping Nylon by Scott Tenant.

The all-time best right-hand exercises are by Mauro Giuliani and Fernando Sor. Some of these are included in PN.

u/gpit2286 · 2 pointsr/musictheory

There are some great books about writing melodies, but I would recommend starting to study counterpoint. Grab Fux's book and start there. Not only does he give great guidelines for learning to write counterpoint, but in the process, you start learning what makes up good melodies. From there, I would start looking at the Salzer book and applying those principles.

"Harmony" comes from counterpoint... Remember - Music theorists didn't start writing about functional harmony until the 19th century.

u/ArsCombinatoria · 3 pointsr/musictheory

I would recommend going to your theory teacher's website/class website and look at what book they want you to get. This is a big sign of the approach the university will take in teaching from Theory I and upwards. This way, you will know the "common language" professors will use at your school regarding theory. What I mean are specifics, ranging from calling something an "accented passing tone" vs. making no distinctions between a regular passing tone, to various systems of abbreviations, and to differences in how the cadential "V^6/4 - V^7 - I" is viewed. Some people interpret this as " I^6/4 - V^7 - I." Basically, do you call a cadential^6/4 chord a V or a I chord? One use is not universal. Little clarifications like these, which can only been gleaned from your actual theory book, will make you better prepared and less confused on day one than learning one book's method, only to be presented with a completely different approach.

I think, given your background in theory, you will be surprised how far ahead you are compared to many people. A lot show up to their freshman year with a low level of theory competence.

I went to a university that used the Laitz textbook, so its about all I can recommend.

I've also been exposed to the Straus book for post-tonal theory.

For Species counterpoint, you can't beat the Schacter and Salzer book: "Counterpoint in Composition,"

For Schenkerian analysis, there is the Salzer book: "Structural Hearing." That is a bit more specialized, but it may pique your curiosity.

Great theorists like Felix Salzer and Carl Schacter, students of Heinrich Schenker, along with the acclaimed Steven Laitz, are good to learn about and be knowledgeable about. Looking into them, their associates, and their teachers can lead you to other good books.

u/I_luv_harpsichord · 3 pointsr/musictheory

I took an arranging course for my music degree and I really love the textbook they made us purchase. It's this! http://www.amazon.com/Study-Orchestration-Third-Samuel-Adler/dp/039397572X/
I personally think it's very helpful. :) I know it's expensive, but I think the investment is worth it.

As for counterpoint, I like Joseph Fux! There was a textbook that I used, but unfortunately I don't remember it. (It's at home and I live at an off-campus apartment) http://www.amazon.com/Study-Counterpoint-Johann-Joseph-Parnassum/dp/0393002772

I hope this helps :) But if you want somethiing free there's this .... http://imslp.org/wiki/Principles_of_Orchestration_%28Rimsky-Korsakov,_Nikolay%29

u/seis_cuerdas · 3 pointsr/classicalguitar

My advice for the BWV 999 is to stay true to the rhythms that are notated in the music. Too often I hear people try to play this as if it were a romantic piece and it won't sound right unless you play it with a very consistent tempo. If you haven't already purchased sheet music for this, I would suggest checking out The Solo Lute Works of Johann Sebastian Bach by Frank Koonce. IMO this one has the best fingerings (I'm not saying the others are bad, but Frank is really well known for his Bach transcriptions). If you want a good idea of how this should sound I would check out this video, though I would probably play it a tiny bit slower (not by much though). Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to be able to start at any spot in the piece. Since there are no pauses in the music it's easy to get lost or have a memory slip, so if that happens you need to be able to pick up from that spot without starting over.

Also, I agree with /u/crwcomposer, you really should not be using any tab for this or any other piece. A university professor will expect you to read music.

u/scottious · 2 pointsr/piano

> How do you practice sight-reading?

Get a book like this and make your way through it slowly.

> Read it through, play it, and never sight-read it again?

Pretty much, yeah... playing through it too many times means you start to memorize what it should sound like.

> Is it okay to bring down the tempo than from the marking?


> What if I'm just making too many errors?

The goal is to choose something easy enough and play it slow enough that if you make an error you can continue playing the rest of it. Error recovery is it's own skill, and you need SUPER easy pieces to start out with. The book I linked to starts off very very simple.

u/taj_bass · 1 pointr/Bass

+1 to the Reading Contemporary Electric Bass Book.

Also check out the Chord Studies for bass book (bass clef edition) https://www.amazon.com/Chord-Studies-Electric-Bass-Technique/dp/0634016466

Not saying this because that's my alma mater, but the Berklee Press has a fantastic array of reasonably priced method books.

Ray Brown transcriptions are great exemplars of jazz vocabulary on bass (http://www.jazzcapacitor.com/pages_bass/raybrown.html)

That's all the technical stuff. Beyond that, jazz is communicative and requires that you build up your experience by playing with diverse players in diverse situations. It's just as much about the nuance of negotiating the dynamic underlay of spontaneous music-space as it is addressing the technical overlay of the chart, so go out and jam as much as possible.

u/GermanSeabass · 1 pointr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

Try it out. Dive in, see what works, what doesn't. Back it up with theory. I'm fond of these as resources:

u/twangdinger · 0 pointsr/Guitar

Silk and steel strings may help you achieve your technical goals. You don't need a nylon string guitar to learn the method. The most significant gain of going that route is the generally larger string spacing.

If you do go for a classical guitar, a pro setup on the least expensive solid top guitar you can find, with some really good strings should hold you over for a long while. Just make sure it has an adjustable truss rod. Upgrading to a bone saddle/nut will improve the tone of the best or worst guitars for a very low price.

This book: Solo Guitar Playing - Book 1, 4th Edition https://www.amazon.com/dp/0825636795/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_6XrmDbNG3FF0H

Probably the most commonly(successfully) taught/learned classical method book ever to have existed and is geared towards a total beginner.

Rock on dude. \m/

u/flowm3ga · 1 pointr/Guitar

The GuitarCardio tip is golden. It's really good at getting you away from a plateau because of the random nature of the exercises. So, I'd definitely recommend that. It'll give you a really wild variety of things to do.

Other people mentioned a lot of great videos/books, too, but the one that helped me a lot (not a natural musician by far), is Melodic Rhythms for Guitar:


It's useful both for learning to read music and getting used to offbeat timing, both of which I had problems with. Doing exercises from it to a metronome is great.

u/greed_is_good · 2 pointsr/Guitar

I would suggest you print out blank sheet music and put dots all over it don't worry at all about what it's going to sound like in fact the worse it sounds the better. Don't worry about rhythms at this point. Now play the "wild notes" that you made over and over again everyday, when your comfortable with it, play it backwards make sure to use all the different keys and all of the neck positions this will familiarize you with all of the notes on your fretboard. The next step is to buy this book. It will teach you any rhythm that you will need to play, use a metronome to practice. You can work on your jazz band piece while you do this reading a piece is like anything, it's mostly about practice.

u/SocialIssuesAhoy · 1 pointr/composer

An orchestration book sounds like a VERY good idea... is this the one you're talking about?

There's a fair chance that no one will ever have to touch the stuff I've written. We did our performances (for the shows we didn't get an orchestra together so they were just piano/keyboard/guitar), and we're wrapping up studio recordings of the show, which is what I created the orchestrations FOR since I had the chance to have them be heard (digital orchestrations, yay!). Anyway, I'm putting together a master score at this point mostly for my own education and satisfaction. There's a slight chance that perhaps the show will be rented out someday, but who knows. Either way I'd like an accurate score of everything :). Thanks!

u/j39m · 1 pointr/ghibli

Short of buying the original scores and creating your own piano reductions, you're likely out of luck: the crowd that wants to play the music often doesn't have conservatory-tier technique, so most arrangements are rather poorly done or over-simplified.

I know Hal Leonard published the Melodyphony score (you can get it on Amazon), but I am not aware of other works (especially not Poppy) similarly available. Best of luck finding these, though.

u/Grobles87 · 2 pointsr/piano

I actually have been self teaching myself the basics of jazz using two good resources with some input from my teacher (which does not focus on jazz). First of all Improvising Blues Piano by Tim Richards is really good, with a focus obviously in improvisation. After doing part of that book to understand the basics he recommends moving up to Exploring Jazz Piano 1. Since you have 18 years of classical experience you're probably going to be familiarized with most of the concepts and you can just focus on understanding the style and ideas for improvisation. Honestly I find it very helpful and throughout Richards has "assignments" you can do to further expand. Also in the songs themselves there is a reccomendation of notes you can use within the scale you're working on to improvise. Very complete overall.



u/spoonopoulos · 19 pointsr/musictheory

There are a lot of courses. Any specific topics you're interested in?

Edit: I'll just list a few anyway that I've used in classes (this may not reflect all professors' choices for the same subjects).

Tonal Harmony: Kostka-Payne - Tonal Harmony

Counterpoint 1: A Berklee book by the late professor Rick Applin. Some also use this Fux translation/adaptation

Counterpoint 2: Bach Inventions & Sinfonias (any edition, really)

"Advanced" Counterpoint: The Well-Tempered Clavier (again, any edition)

Early Twentieth-Century Harmony: Persichetti - Twentieth-Century Harmony

Post-Tonal Theory/Analysis: Straus - Intro to Post-Tonal Theory

Instrumentation/Orchestration: Adler - The Study of Orchestration &
Casella/Mortari - The Technique of Contemporary Orchestration

Western Music History - Burkholder/Paiisca - A History of Western Music (8th or 9th edition)

Conducting 1 - Notion Conducting

Conducting 2 Notion + Stravinsky's Petrushka

Berklee's own (jazz-based) core harmony and ear-training curricula use Berklee textbooks written by professors which, as someone else mentioned, come unbound and shrink-wrapped at the bookstore. You can find older (PDF) versions of the Berklee harmony textbooks here. Of course this list only represents explicit book choices - there are a lot of excerpt-readings, and there's a lot of instruction that isn't found in these books even in the associated courses.

u/kolkurtz · 2 pointsr/musictheory

Hi. I'm sight-reading at a reasonable level now on both guitar and piano after 2 years hard work. I've done it by looking at LOTS of sheet music and analysing how it works. That has mostly been following along with the textbook The Complete Musician. I've read it cover to cover nearly twice now. It IS expensive and I'm sure there are alternatives to it. I also can't really recommend it as it has a LOT of errors in its exercises and text. Either way, get a good theory textbook that goes from scales -> chords -> harmony -> counterpoint. Follow and PLAY all the exercises on keyboard.
I should add that it was a real uphill struggle starting that way, especially as it doesn't have guitar music in it!
As far as guitar focus goes, try the Berklee Guitar Method. https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Method-Guitar-1/dp/0876390130 That helped me a lot. Other than that Guiliani's 120 arpeggio studies are a good starting point.Free -> http://www.classicalguitar.org/freemusic/exercises/Giuliani120.pdf
Over all this I want to add a massive disclaimer that is sure to open a can of worms for some. I don't actually recommend using traditional sheet music for guitar at all. TAB is superior especially if you can have the sheets alongside it for the rhythm notation. The way the fingerboard works and how fingering works on guitar does NOT lend itself well to sheet music. TAB was actually invented before sheet notation in the middle east somewhere in fact!

u/NeverxSummer · 1 pointr/TwoXChromosomes

Do it!! And dude, high five for being a jazzer.

Composition resources... I have a few things that I enjoy using: The Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns (sidenote: the best shed dictionary ever), an orchestration book or wikipedia the instrument you're looking for a range on, IMSLP also known as "so that's how that works", and jazz theory/harmony... though I don't have a book to recommend on that one, as I learned it in a trial by fire sort of way. As far as notation software goes, I'm a big Finale junkie, though there's little advantage to Finale over Sibelius until you get to doing weird things with the software. I've heard some really good things about Reason, though haven't tried it personally because my computer doesn't spec for it. Since you're probably more theory minded, I'd suggest starting with jazz and reverse engineering yourself a tune/chart from a progression you like. It's sorta like writing a solo, but with an eraser. //rambling...

Theremin?! That's so awesome.

Yeah. I totally hear you on that one. I have like nothing to add to a discussion about some fancy new microphone or being in a cover band.

u/Metroid413 · 3 pointsr/piano

You can find more recommendations in the FAQ, but I would personally recommend taking a look at the Alfred series if you need to brush up on the basics (maybe start on Book 2 or something). If you feel you made it past the point of needing method books to the get the basics down (again?), I recommend the following:

  1. Start going through your major and minor scales (hands parallel, for now). This book is essential for this and many other things.

  2. Work on sight reading (I can't recommend these exercises enough)

  3. Start with some lower level classical pieces, this is a book a like.

    Happy learning!
u/gtani · 2 pointsr/Cello

(Since you'll have to read tenor clef too) here's Klengel etudes in all 3 clefs, e.g. page 12. I don't have any advice on bass clef, except to play scales, arpeggios and easy scores slowly. The first step is muscle memory. I don't read bass clef anywhere near as well as treble, even after decades of piano playing.



This would be good for bass clef reading, and a book many sax players would recognize (in treble clef): http://www.amazon.com/Chord-Studies-Electric-Bass-Technique/dp/0634016466


There's more resources for tenor clef, like this trombone book:


u/tommyspianocorner · 2 pointsr/piano

You might want to get hold of Czerny Op. 599. I was quite recently introduced to this and whilst they are more 'studies' than 'pieces', they have the benefit of being very short and progressively introducing different parts of the keyboard and different basic technical skills. For some of them, you could likely learn one in a day or two and perhaps as you progress through the book you might need a week to properly get something under control.

Another option is Burgmuller. These are more complete 'pieces' and a pleasure to play.

u/BlindPelican · 3 pointsr/Guitar

It's quite possible to teach yourself, of course. The question is really how quickly do you want to progress? A teacher is your single best resource as they can give you feedback that a book or video just can't. So, if you can find a teacher in your area that teaches the style you want to learn, I would definitely go that route.

With that being said, as far as books are concerned, anything by Fredrick Noad will be helpful - especially his 2 book series on solo guitar playing.

Here's the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Solo-Guitar-Playing-Book-4th/dp/0825636795

As for playing the classical guitar using an acoustic guitar approach, keep in mind you're conflating a couple of different things. A "classical" guitar is the instrument - nylon strings, wider neck, lighter body. Classical guitar is a style of music (and differs from Spanish guitar, but that's another conversation practically).

So, yes, you can learn to play folk, blues, jazz and any other sort of genre on a classical guitar. And you can learn classical guitar music on an accoustic (or even electric) guitar, though it won't sound the same and might be a bit more difficult.

u/GustavMeowler · 2 pointsr/Guitar


I've been playing classical for about ten years, and I'm currently studying it at a conservatory. This is what I learned out of, and I think its a great method. There are plenty of methods out there if you don't like this one: Shearer, Duncan, Tennant, and others. If you want something older look at the methods by Sor, Giuliani, or Carcassi. There are tons more, just look around for what you like. All of these require being able to read music, if you want to really do classical guitar, you have to start reading it. Don't let that discourage you, though, classical guitar is well worth the effort.

u/lwp8530 · 1 pointr/Guitar

sorry for the late reply! well nearly all books will have some rhythm learning which is excellent. [Berklee's A Modern Method for Guitar - Volumes 1, 2, 3 Complete] (http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Method-Guitar-Volumes-Complete/dp/0876390114/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410004474&sr=8-1&keywords=Berklee%27s+Modern+Method+for+Guitar+123) By William Leavitt
as for more books focused on rhythm some good ones are:

[Rhythm Guitar: The Complete Guide] (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rhythm-Guitar-The-Complete-Guide/dp/0793581842) by Bruce Buckingham and Melodic Rhythms For Guitar

u/MeanderingMinstrel · 2 pointsr/musictheory

In my experience, it's just a lot of playing. Do you read music? If so, that's the way to go. It's definitely going to suck at first and it'll be really slow, but it's worth it. Just find some melodies to read through.

I've been working through this book over the past school year (I'm at college for guitar) and I've noticed so much improvement in my reading and just knowing what notes I'm playing.

A Modern Method for Guitar - Volume 1 https://www.amazon.com/dp/0876390130/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_kJH0AbDWK011W

It starts out low on the neck, but I think by the end it goes all the way up to the twelfth fret (I'm not all the way through it yet). A page a week is what I've been doing and I think that's a reasonable goal.

My other advice would be to learn octave shapes. This is how I check myself when I'm not sure about the note I'm playing. You probably know a lot of the notes on the fifth and sixth strings from playing barre chords. If you know what an octave looks like, you can take any note you're not sure about and move up or down and octave to a note you know so that you can check it.

Hope this helps! Learning notes will take a while but it's so satisfying once you start to get it.

u/SiriusBeatz · 4 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

If you want to get into large ensemble stuff rather than chamber music, I strongly suggest you pick up a book on orchestration. Here is one that I've read and would recommend. It will teach you some of the typical textures that each section of the orchestra is known for and gradually work you into bringing them together, starting with solo strings, to ensemble strings, to the entire string section, and eventually the whole orchestra.

If you've written prog-rock before, then I trust you know your fair share of theory, or at the very least, some degree of harmony, so you're probably fine on that end. What's more, you likely have some experience writing outside of the typical, pop-oriented verse-chorus structure, though you might want to also study a bit of the traditional forms used in classical music.

Beyond that, as was mentioned before, listen to a lot of the big names in orchestral music and steal whatever you can get away with.

u/jseego · 2 pointsr/musicians

It depends on what you are trying to do.

Definitely scales, major and minor, hands together, four octaves up and back.

Definitely arpeggios, of both major and minor, triads and sevenths.

If you are trying to do improvisation, learning pentatonic scale exercises are really important. I do one like:

1235 2356 3561 5612 6123

Up the piano separately as well as hands together, major and minor.

(Going down would be: 5321 3216 2165 1653 6532)

(And those are scale degrees, not fingerings.)

And then there are classical exercises such as this and this

u/NinjaNorris110 · 7 pointsr/piano

I went through a phase of playing like this for a few months, it's definitely fun.

I reckon a logical next step is fake books: You can clearly read chord sheets really well so look into a book like this to get a grasp on reading melodies on the spot, then buy a fake book to play from. They're essentially a book of lead sheets for various pop/rock/jazz songs which feature the melody and the chords for you to mess with. Give it a go!

u/Rhaps · 3 pointsr/musictheory

It's interesting, but it's getting a little old now...

Of course, it's still important as a historical document, but some of the informations are outdated (some of the techniques, registral qualities) since orchestras, and instruments themselves, have changed since Berlioz wrote his treatise.

I, personally, use Adler's Study of Orchestration, which I think the best orchestration book for modern orchestras.

u/rmonik · 1 pointr/piano

Reading music is a habit more than skill, so i don't think you need any resources on that apart from the basics you'll find anywhere on the internet. As for learning actual jazz piano, i really liked Tim Richards' "Exploring jazz piano" vol 1 and 2. They're "project" based, every new song introduces a new concept and has basic to advanced exercises to build on those concepts. It also introduces improv and music theory straight away, which is a much more fun approach in my opinion.


u/john_rage · 1 pointr/composer

[The Study of Orchestration by Sam Alder] (http://www.amazon.com/The-Study-Orchestration-Third-Edition/dp/039397572X/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1396568479&sr=8-5&keywords=orchestration) is a good one, although a bit expensive.

Fundamentals of Composition by Arnold Schoenberg is one I really enjoyed, and goes from simpler forms and melodies to much more advanced areas.

u/patropolis55 · 2 pointsr/piano

I like this book, it's pretty informative.

It's pretty theory heavy, so you should still try and listen to a lot.

u/benide · 6 pointsr/classicalguitar

The Frank Koonce arrangements of the lute suites are generally well respected. You can get it on amazon. I'm a big fan of this one.

The other recommendation you'll generally hear a lot is to look at the original and arrange it your self. This definitely has its merits, but it really depends on what you want to get out of it.

u/curator · 3 pointsr/Guitar

A classical guitar book would start from the ground up in notation rather than tab and have lots of sight reading exercises.

Personally, I think Frederick Noad's Solo Guitar Playing is awesome. It's how I got started.

If you already have a theory background and already have some of the mechanical techniques of the guitar down, you could probably move at a good clip through it.

u/auditormusic · 2 pointsr/musictheory

I highly recommend this book https://www.amazon.com/EXPLORING-HARMONY-TECHNIQUE-IMPROV-Schott/dp/190245524X

It is better than the Levine book for a beginner/early intermediate because it goes deep into theory with exercises and has you improvising from the jump. The Levine book is great, but it's more of a reference book for advanced players.

u/MapleToothpick · 3 pointsr/composertalk

Cellos have a huge range of sonic possibilities through many different techniques. The range of pitches available is nothing to scoff at either. But bowing on different parts of the string (Sul tasto/sul ponticello etc) or with different parts of the bow (al talon etc). And then there's the wealth of different sounds that are available with harmonics (natural/artificial).

To put it simply, string instruments can make lots of different sounds. I suggest looking at a book on orchestration for a more in depth look at all the possibilities (I use Adler ).

Somewhat off-topic; Boulez wrote a piece for 7 cellos that you may want to listen to.

To answer the second question, I'm personally not very adventurous with my instrumentation. There's a lot that can be done with standard ensembles and it's enough for right now.

I'm currently working on the second movement of a piece for chamber orchestra. Fourteen musicians (15 with conductor).

Flute/Picc, Oboe/Eng Horn, Clarinet/Bass Clar, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, 1 percussionist, harp, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass.

It's essentially a standard orchestra with 1 musician to each part.

u/SomeFuckinLeaves · 2 pointsr/classicalguitar


You may find it a bit tedious, having played steel string for a while, but I have enjoyed it.

u/singlefrequency · 2 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

If she doesn't have it already, I highly recommend Samuel Adler's "Study of Orchestration" book - http://www.amazon.com/Study-Orchestration-Third-Samuel-Adler/dp/039397572X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1323789264&sr=8-2 If she's going to school for music composition, she'll more than likely need this any way. Might be good to get her a head start!

u/2kidsandabbq · 7 pointsr/piano

My last teacher recommended "Exploring Jazz Piano" by Tim Richards as a great book to get into Jazz. The author has a similar book on Blues (Improvising Blues Piano).

u/musiktheorist · 1 pointr/musictheory

That's the best one for instrumentation. Very thorough.

EDIT: Here's the amazon link to the book

u/Korrun · 3 pointsr/musictheory

I found the Craft of Tonal Counterpoint to be very helpful.

And I would recommend starting with 2-voice Bach style inventions if you want to write fugues.

u/maestro2005 · 8 pointsr/piano

First, I would highly recommend a teacher if at all possible. Piano technique is a lot more subtle than it would seem.

Get a decent piano method (I recommend the Alfred Adult Method) and some technical studies (Hanon and/or Czerny).

u/DatOrganistTho · 2 pointsr/piano

What you need is a progressive sight reader, one that starts below your ability and moves up steadily as it challenges you more.

If you are looking for something online that fits this, you likely won't find it, but here's some things you and "search" around (and maybe find something you can use):

  1. Bela Bartok, Mikrokosmos - Goes from absurdly simple to complex college-level recital pieces.
  2. Progressive Sight Reading Exercises by Hannah Smith. This is good, though not technically diverse.
  3. http://www.soundswell.co.uk/pages/swsightr.htm Goes through some progressive work with emphasis on real music.
  4. http://sightreading.com.au/free-resources/free-examples.html Sampling of various books for sight reading.

u/u38cg2 · 2 pointsr/piano

I got this book a few days ago and it looks very solid. I'm still at the level where the first few pages are giving me grief, but it all looks achievable.


The two volumes of jazz material in the same series are intended to follow on from this book as well.

u/Ranalysis · 1 pointr/ottawa

pick this book up :


If you go through it, and its other volumes, you will be an AMAZING guitarist.

u/Conquestadore · 4 pointsr/classicalguitar

Pick up the Noad book (https://www.amazon.com/Solo-Guitar-Playing-Book-4th/dp/0825636795). It covers all you need to know about rhythm and notes and comes with a lot of exercises. Learning to read music and actually being able to play from sheet are two entirely different things and takes lot's of practice. It can be quite frustrating to start out doing the simple exercises when you're able to play more advanced pieces but if you want to play classical guitar you'll need to bite the bullet eventually since a lot of pieces are only written in standard notation.

u/dannydorito · 1 pointr/Guitar

My teacher before I came to college used this book with me, and it was great.

u/elektra25 · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

I love the Adler but only because I'm a huge geek

u/Minkelz · 1 pointr/piano

Aflred All in One - A reliable go to for the complete beginner to get them using both hands, reading music, understanding chords and keys etc.

Improvising Blues Piano - Great book for intermediate to later beginners looking at exploring contemporary styles.

Exploring Jazz Piano - Similar to the blues one but using jazz which requires a higher level of complexity.

u/NickWritesMusic · 6 pointsr/musictheory

The reason you can't find any is that you're searching for melody. Search for counterpoint instead. This is my favorite book to teach it from: http://www.amazon.com/Counterpoint-Composition-Study-Voice-Leading/dp/023107039X

Though the standard for the last ~300 years has been Fux's Gradus Ad Parsanum, which is now public domain. I myself learned from Knud Jeppesen's book, just called Counterpoint.

Also check out Thomas Benjamin's The Craft of Tonal Counterpoint.

u/FatFingerHelperBot · 1 pointr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

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u/redvinesnom · 1 pointr/piano

Strangely I've never really listened to his compositions, though I've used his piano solo book excessively. Thanks for posting this!

u/byproxy · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Right. Though, I was referring to this statement:
> sheet music for guitar is ridiculously hard to learn,

That is, if you wish to learn to read for guitar, it's not that bad if the music you're reading from is arranged for guitar. For example, I started with took a few classes with this book and I'm able to read the later stuff just fine. I might not sight-read perfectly, but I'm usually able to get it within a couple of reads.

Anyway, I wasn't advocating for sheet music or against tabs. Just mentioning that learning to read guitar music isn't too difficult if the music is indeed arranged for guitar.

u/rollingRook · 2 pointsr/piano

This book has been recommended many times on this sub and it's full of ideas for both hands:


u/BSinZoology_LOL · 2 pointsr/Guitar

Frederick Noad [Solo Guitar Playing] (http://www.amazon.com/Solo-Guitar-Playing-Book-Edition/dp/0825636795) is all you need. Start with Book 1 and you'll be reading music and playing Bach before you get to Book 2.

u/Zatch_Gaspifianaski · 2 pointsr/classicalguitar

If you can get your hands on Frederick Noad's Solo Guitar Playing 1, or Christopher Parkening's Guitar Method 1, you could go a long way. If money is an issue, I know my local library has the Parkening book, so that might be a resource to check into.

u/dmajoraddnine · 1 pointr/musictheory

Forget all the other books: Sam Adler's is the one you want to read & reference. Highly comprehensive, and it uses a ton of examples (not just Rimsky-Korsakov works). Plus, the third edition is updated for 20th century writing.

u/Jiboudou · 3 pointsr/Guitar

Buy a real book and learn some standards, also, listen to a lot of jazz and learn your scales. scales and modes
if you have no experience in sight reading, i would recommend Berklee guitar method 1.

u/ChuckDimeCliff · 1 pointr/musictheory

The Craft of Tonal Counterpoint was the textbook I used when I studied counterpoint.

u/Slab_Heap_Pout · 7 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

Northern Sounds has an interactive version of the classic Rimsky-Korsakov Principles of Orchestration. I often find myself referring to it when I'm arranging and/or orchestrating along with my hardcover Adler text.

u/agemolotta · 3 pointsr/Guitar

I took a couple courses in classical guitar and we used this book. It's a very traditional, bottom-up way to learn, starting with open strings, then 1st position and so-on. You get out of it what you put into it. That means taking as much time as necessary with each section, even if it means spending 2 or 3 weeks on a single chapter.

u/amliebsten · 1 pointr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

Never heard of the Russo book till now, but this is what I used and still use - Samuel Adler's The study of Orchestration.

u/aWildSurimi · 1 pointr/piano

Mikrokosmos: 153 Progressive Piano Pieces : New Definitive Edition https://www.amazon.fr/dp/1423493044/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_IxKUCb045MNEP

Here is the link

u/anteaterhighonants · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

Can't find a video of it, but a duet called Sea to Sea from this book

u/m1stertim · 5 pointsr/musictheory

This is the standard orchestration text that will cover this stuff more in-depth.

u/SuperheroChuck · 1 pointr/composer

If you're going to be a music major in the fall, make damn sure that there's a counterpoint class on your roster. If there isn't, find someone in the department who can give you private instruction. If you're at all serious about composing, you must understand how counterpoint works. This book is basically my bible:


u/cratermoon · 3 pointsr/classicalguitar

Any of the old jams posted in the sidebar will give you a selection of pieces of varying difficulty. You could also pick up the Noad book, Solo Guitar Playing vol. 1 for exercises and shorter pieces.

The classical guitar pieces not in standard tuning are few. Off the top of my head I can only think of one in drop D, and it's an arrangement of a piece originally for another instrument.

*edit to add link for the book.

u/ILoveKombucha · 2 pointsr/musictheory

Hey there, - no, the book is by Salzer and Schacter, if memory serves!

Here it is: https://www.amazon.com/Counterpoint-Composition-Study-Voice-Leading/dp/023107039X

u/Mako2100 · 1 pointr/Guitar

I would heavily recommend the book Noad's book for classical guitar.

He does a really good job covering a lot of the basics, but you really want to pay attention to technique here. Classical can be a little more rigorous than modern and a bad habit now can really hurt you in the long run.

Otherwise, check out /r/classicalguitar for more resources and discussion. The subreddit is a little slow, but more activity would be greatly appreciated.