Howard Goodall's top 10 music books | Books | The GuardianThese are my top book recommendations for all composers. I have personally read or used as a reference all of these books and can highly recommend them. Collectively, they have made the biggest impact on my composing. Analyzing Classical Form by William Caplin is will give you a solid toolset for understanding musical form. I cannot overstate the impact his book has made on my compositional thinking.
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Virtually any paragraph written about its theory, its history, its analysis, its ethics or its science will be met with a hailstorm of contradiction and outrage, so I am nervous suggesting any books about music since such a list would undoubtedly infuriate as much as intrigue. The music itself can be enough, without comment, of course. But how boring life would be without the debate. The 10 books I've chosen here are simply ones that I have enjoyed reading about the subject I adore; they do not cover the subject comprehensively or even fairly, they are just ways of looking through the kaleidoscope at different angles. Mostly, these authors come at it from the perspective of preferring one type of music over another: yes, they are as opinionated and tribal as all of us fellow listeners. So explore and enjoy. I am not sure how the deft Prof Cook manages to squeeze so much intelligence, cultural reference and perspective into so short a book.
All the aforementioned books just teach you about scales, chord construction, progressions, cadences, transposition, harmonics, tuning, metering etc. However, I am unaware if there is a good book that teaches you the tricks of composition. This is when you've got to listen to a lot of music and follow it with a score, with a pencil at the ready. This is what any aspiring composer must do, just as student artists study the paintings of the masters in art galleries in great detail, trying to copy them so as to understand the techniques used, and successful writers will all have spent hundreds of hours reading the best books by the best authors, again with pencils at the ready for annotations. This link seems to confirm that.
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My Recommendations: Music Theory Books
By danuniversal , November 10, in Composers' Headquarters. I have tried to search on libraries and it is very hard to find a book in the music category that be not a "history of music" book. It seems as somehow it were very mysterious the "secret" to compose music, but I am sure that it is not a secret, and that it is not a mystery. Yet, I have very hard times finding any book to learn to compose, maybe I am too unwise to search, maybe there are actually very few books about this topic. Whatever it is, I now request you to please give me some bibliography about composition, it does not matter if it is something to advanced or something for beginners, I would like to make the bigger bibliography of composition books that I can. But, of course, try to mention only the ones you actually recommend, not the bad books, and try to mention if it is something for beginners or for advanced. I will travel soon to another place where I could get the books if I preorder them, and I don't always have this chance to get music books, so I would like to take advantage and try to get the best ones I can, according to the ones you recommend me here.