Best books about classical music according to redditors

We found 395 Reddit comments discussing the best books about classical music. We ranked the 164 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Books about chamber music
Orchestral songbooks

Top Reddit comments about Classical Music:

u/Yeargdribble · 206 pointsr/piano

Let me guess. Your sightreading is a weakness. You sound like one of the panoply of stories I hear of students who can play amazing pieces of music, but basically have been taught like trained monkeys their whole life. Look at the page... decode where your fingers go... repeat until perfect and memorize very quickly. You likely are always working on difficult and impressive music. There's just something that seems almost unique to piano culture that students are often taught to sprint before they can crawl. Move from one ridiculous difficult piece to the next... maybe learn 3-6 pieces of incredibly dense music a year.

People seem to get pissed at me when I recommend avoiding this approach... avoid overly difficult music even if you love it... avoid constant rote memorization, even if you're just a hobbyist.

Sure, some people manage to pick up the other skills along the way by accident or osmosis, but all too often your situation is what results from this approach to music.

I've been playing roughly half as long as you and didn't start seriously until my late 20s and I'm making a career of it. I can prepare a lot of music somewhat quickly and I get better at it all the time. I don't do this to make you feel bad, but to give you some perspective. Don't feel bad... it's not a lost cause. You probably absolutely trounce me in many areas of technique. You have huge advantages so if I could do it, you certainly can do it.

If you want to fix all of this you first need to drop any ego you have. You need to not care what other people think about how bad you sound or how childish the stuff you practice is. The constant one-upmanship in the classical piano community is what has gotten you in this spot. Stop caring what people think and work on what you actually need to work on to make progress.

Start at the beginning and don't try to tell yourself that you're above anything. In my opinion, no piece of music is too easy. If you can't sightread it effortlessly with good musicality then there is something to be learned from it. That might mean you're playing the simplest songs out of the most childish books... so-fucking-be-it.

You obviously are willing to work at it, but like many people, you're putting all your effort in the wrong places. Some of that may be that you're just misguided, but some of it might be the human tendency to avoid things that are hard and toward things that are an easier path.

Like I always say, it's exactly why people seem either be good readers or good at playing by ear, but rarely both. Once someone finds one way of doing something that works for them, they start avoiding the other one. In so doing, they get even better at the one and even worse (relatively) at the other and eventually they are completely unwilling to try the other because they have their easier path.

"Why am I trying to play this by ear... I could just sightread it easier?"

"Why am I trying to decode these stupid dots... I could play it by ear easier and make a better arrangement?"

Both fall into the groove of the path of least resistance.

Additionally, people with some background are far more resistant to actually starting at the beginning and fixing their foundation. They gloss over the stuff they think they already know never bothering to actually put it under their fingers and find out. They read something sloppily and "close enough" they say before jumping to reading something way too hard. They think that by just throwing themselves at harder problem, they will somehow magically get there. I tend to use the analogy of someone going to the gym every day and attempting to bench press 300 lbs. They never work up to it, they just try and fail every day hoping that some day they will magically have figured out how to do it.

It doesn't work that way. You have to build yourself up to that point. Likewise, you have to build up the musical muscles that will allow you to actually accomplish the lofty goals you keep throwing yourself at. You can say you work really hard, but if you just spend 2 hours every day trying to move 300 lbs. fruitlessly, what are you actually accomplishing?


Get this book. It's offensively easy. Deal with it. Worst case scenario you read effortlessly and breezily through it's 500+ exercises in 5 finger position and you're out 10 bucks, but most likely you won't absolutely nail it. You'll find some tricky rhythm or some weird issue with accidentals.

Every tiny thing like that is a weakness... work it out and it becomes a strength. You just need to weed out the 100s of these you likely have in technique, decoding, theory, etc. and slowly work up to the point where they are like breathing.

When you're done with the book... read it again if you feel like you need to. Then go grab some beginner books. Surely in your position you have access to tons of them. Sightread those. Keep your eyes on the page and force yourself not to check your hands. Learn to know where they are. Learn to associate what you see on the page with what you're playing.

From there you can just work your way up. Go to a used book store and find shitty old songbook collections of stuff that looks about at you level and read. If something is a bit too hard, maybe learn it. Either way you should be finding easy-ish stuff that you can digest and polish in a few days to a week. Optimally you should be learning several small pieces like this in parallel. These are the pieces that are nearly sightreadable but contain small weakness. Maybe a rhythm that's difficult, or a chord you're not comfortable wrapping your fingers around, or maybe a brisk tempo that tests your technique. Work these out... weaknesses become strengths and eventually you'll just be sightreading this stuff... expose yourself to as much different stuff as you can. A variety of styles will also really help if possible.

Read. Every. Day!


Play simple songs by ear. Just force yourself to do it. Either turn on some simple pop on the radio, or find a bunch of children's song on Spotify or whatever. You should be able to bring in at least the most basic theory to this. Most songs will be diatonic, so out of the 12 note available, you've already eliminated 5 and only have 7 to choose from. You can probably hear when something is tonic. You should eventually be able to hear if something is stable and part of the I chord (do-mi-sol; 1-3-5). Ultimately everything else just wants to lean to those. Over time you'll start associating these things with chord and chord tones, but for now, just try to do it.

Find the key by locating the tonic, then pick out he melody. Stick to simple things. Hunt and peck to start as needed, but quickly transition to not taking blind stabs but instead listening and making educated guesses before hitting a key. You'll progress quickly from a lot of mistakes to pretty good accuracy so long as you stick to simple music.

Eventually move to picking out the bass line. You said you're good at theory. From the bass line of simple nursery rhymes or pop music, you should be able to figure out the chord progression. Most of the bass notes will be roots, though occasionally they will be inversions. You'll learn through a bit of trial and error to recognize common motions of this stuff. In simple music there aren't that many progressions and you'll learn to recognize them quickly enough.

At some point you might want to try transcribing them first with the aid of the piano, but eventually without... just being aware of the pitch relationships... sketch the melody... figure out the bass (solfege is helpful if you know it) and make either a lead sheet with chords or a simple arrangement by filling in the middle. This will work your ear and force you to make associations with music that will improve your reading as you puzzle out things like rhythm from the reverse end.

Once you're good at this, you'll likely naturally move to more and more complex stuff and much like with reading practice, you'll notice the parts that you identify quickly (Oh, that was V-I) and maybe find some things that catch you off guard (was that I-bIII?) You'll learn it... put in your back pocket and once again weaknesses become strengths. The more ideas you're aware of, the better you'll get at doing it unaided.

Chords and Improvisation

I've been meaning to make a video about chords for a couple of weeks now. I guess I need to buckle down and do it because I just don't think I can adequately explain to you what you need to do in text. I'll give you a spoiler. The first step is to play up and down your diatonic triads in every key. Say them out loud as chords... say them out loud as Roman numerals. Internalize them. At the very least you should be able to instantly tell me the V and IV of any key I call out... hopefully the vi too. Make flash cards if you want to practice this away from the piano. Then start playing progressions in every key. This will force you to think about them quickly.

Improvisation needs to start simpler... like everything you're trying to do. Don't give yourself no limits... make strict limits. I made a video that honestly needs some updating at this point but it will get you started.

I wouldn't even worry about jazz at this point, but if you really want to get started, start working through this book. Also use this video to help guide you though some things you need to start with. The book will lay all of this 3-7 stuff out to you on the page, but internalize them and make a leadsheet to play them from.

u/ILikeasianpeople · 16 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

I find it frustrating that there are so many comments responding to this question, and may others like it, that go along the lines of, “it’s just you’re intuition/your natural expression”, “just learn scales”, “study Bach chorales”, etc. Those sorts of answers are either completely unhelpful, counterproductive if practiced or, at worst, completely untrue.

What you’re looking for is not under the title of “theory of melody” but “Counterpoint”, and “Form” and/or “Composition”.

The study of counterpoint covers the use of multiple melodic lines that occur simultaneously. The desired outcome of counterpoint is to create a set of melodic lines that all have their own individual character and retain independence from one another. This is achieved by using a very large set of rules for each voice. Studying counterpoint will also cover an understanding of structure tones, and their importance within larger structural frameworks (Schenkerian Analysis). Their are two types of counterpoint, “Strict”, which is like a set of basic musical exercises and extremely limiting, and “Tonal”, the latter is the kind I’m talking about.

The study of Form and Composition covers the construction of musical forms on a macro level (Sonata Form, Ternary, Rondo, etc), the construction of individual phrases on a micro level, and the specific functions (presentation, continuation, cadential, how these functions can be expanded upon or edited, and more ambiguous functions) of certain phrases.

Both subjects require an advanced knowledge of harmony and voice leading, most of the discussions on the sites and in the books listed below assume this.


(The web)

^ Look under “Form”


Analyzing Classical Form: An Approach for the Classroom

Formal Functions in Perspective: Essays on Musical Form from Haydn to Adorno (Eastman Studies in Music)

The Craft of Tonal Counterpoint

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!












J.) Berg's Lyric Suite has plenty of quintal yumminess. Check out Perle's analysis of its interval cycles:

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/Keselo · 14 pointsr/piano

That is exceptionally inspirational, and the timing is great as well, as I've just ordered Progressive Sight-Reading Exercises to get started on my own sight-reading practice. Great job on your progress!

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:

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/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/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/MapleToothpick · 7 pointsr/composertalk

It helps to get a book on orchestration. I have Adler's and in it he examines each instrument and family. Helps familiarize yourself with their idiosyncracies.

Edit: Added link.

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 ( 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 -, bit pricey though) And also, this site has been a miracle for me - 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 - Think of the notation software as your robotic publisher. That's what I do.
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/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/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/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/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":

    >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:

    >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):
u/PrinceTrollestia · 7 pointsr/ShigatsuwaKiminoUso

There is a novella that is essentially this. Your Lie in April: A Six-Person Etude

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:

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/m3g0wnz · 6 pointsr/musictheory

Maybe you would enjoy Counterpoint and Composition, also by Schachter? It's in the same pedagogical tradition, but is about more long-range connections, rather than the chord-to-chord level.

Counterpoint in Composition: The Study of Voice Leading

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/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/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

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/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/m1stertim · 5 pointsr/musictheory

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

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/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/seis_cuerdas · 4 pointsr/classicalguitar

I suggest getting a copy of Frederick Noad's guitar method, It starts our pretty simple but it should help you transfer your prior knowledge over to the classical guitar. It includes etudes as well as repertoire pieces.

u/Conquestadore · 4 pointsr/classicalguitar

Pick up the Noad book ( 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/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/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!
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)

I hope this helps :) But if you want somethiing free there's this ....,_Nikolay%29

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/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:

Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum is a great place to begin working on counterpoint:

Samuel Adler's The Study of Orchestration is my current go to book when researching the basics of different instruments and orchestration techniques:

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/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/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/aeropagitica · 3 pointsr/Guitar

William Leavitt has authored some useful material for sight reading practice:

u/Mbjguitars · 3 pointsr/Bass

Hugely helpful book for me. Not for the faint of heart!

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/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/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:

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/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/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/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/tritonesub · 3 pointsr/Guitar

I've been plugging the shit out of this book because it's the one I've found most useful, but try and find william leavitt's berklee method book

Right from the beginning its solos and exercises really get you in the mindset of playing harmonically even when you are soloing

u/LITER_OF_FARVA · 3 pointsr/Guitar
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/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/HashPram · 2 pointsr/musictheory
u/ILoveKombucha · 2 pointsr/musictheory

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

Here it is:

u/singlefrequency · 2 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

If she doesn't have it already, I highly recommend Samuel Adler's "Study of Orchestration" book - 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/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"

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/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/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/gtani · 2 pointsr/Trombone

Here's a couple Berklee books that are widely available in music stores since many colleges use them, they cycle thru all the important arpeggios, all 12 keys, major, minor, dom, dim, half-dim, avail in treble and bass clef, I've used these a lot.

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/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. Goes through some progressive work with emphasis on real music.
  4. Sampling of various books for sight reading.

u/npcee · 2 pointsr/piano

I highly recommend doing some keyboard practice by transposing! I'm currently going through this

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/EntropyOrSloth · 2 pointsr/piano

Is this the same Hannah Smith?

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/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/BSinZoology_LOL · 2 pointsr/Guitar

Frederick Noad [Solo Guitar Playing] ( is all you need. Start with Book 1 and you'll be reading music and playing Bach before you get to Book 2.

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/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/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/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/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

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/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. That helped me a lot. Other than that Guiliani's 120 arpeggio studies are a good starting point.Free ->
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/rollingRook · 2 pointsr/piano

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

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/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/clarinetist001 · 2 pointsr/piano

Mikrokosmos (as mentioned) and the Kember series have been the best sources I've found.

u/auditormusic · 2 pointsr/musictheory

I highly recommend this book

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/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/xDarKraDx · 2 pointsr/LightNovels

There are some that have physical release and have only one or two volumes: Another, Your Name, The Boy and The Beast, and Your Lie in April

These are the ones that I have on top of my head right now.

u/RebornEmperor · 2 pointsr/ShigatsuwaKiminoUso

Have you watched the OVA? Can't remember if we've discussed it before. It's the story of the piano competition that takes place before the show. There's also a collection of side stories for most of the characters but it's in manga form only. It's called A Six-Person Etude. I just ordered mine and can't wait to read it.


Edit: Adding to this there's another collection of short stories called Your Lie In April Coda/ Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso Coda, that I'm currently trying to find in physical form. It was a special inclusion with the first launch of the DVD.

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/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/john_rage · 1 pointr/composer

[The Study of Orchestration by Sam Alder] ( 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/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/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/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/vanillaholler · 1 pointr/Composition

If possible, look into taking a class at a local college.
Otherwise, check out an orchestration textbook like

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/elektra25 · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

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

u/musiktheorist · 1 pointr/musictheory

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

EDIT: Here's the amazon link to the book

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/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/ChuckDimeCliff · 1 pointr/musictheory

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

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] ( By William Leavitt
as for more books focused on rhythm some good ones are:

[Rhythm Guitar: The Complete Guide] ( by Bruce Buckingham and Melodic Rhythms For Guitar

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/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)

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 (

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/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/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/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.

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/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/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/Ranalysis · 1 pointr/ottawa

pick this book up :

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

u/dannydorito · 1 pointr/Guitar

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

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/FatFingerHelperBot · 1 pointr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

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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/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/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 (, 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 (

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/aWildSurimi · 1 pointr/piano

Mikrokosmos: 153 Progressive Piano Pieces : New Definitive Edition

Here is the link

u/tmichal2 · 1 pointr/piano

I'm also a little beyond the 1 year mark. I use the Faber books with my teacher, and they have many graded pieces that are interesting yet challenging. I highly recommend buying these two books and working on them with your teacher:

You can also get the Book 3s of the same title for more repertoire. There is such a variety of classical genres and periods in these books that you can really find meaningful and authentic works that both stretch your ability while also providing authentic sounding music.

u/tzmudzin · 1 pointr/piano

Please check

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/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/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/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

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/