Far beyond "every good boy does fine"
October 23, 2014 4:51 PM   Subscribe

Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People Toby W. Rush's "Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People" covers a massive range of topics like pitch, rhythm, scales, intervals, and harmonics. The online book itself is arranged as a collection of about 50 PDFs that offer diagrams, notes, and tips for everything music theory related. posted by Lexica (26 comments total) 263 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh god.

Someone DL this, bind it and sell it to me plz. Otherwise I will be hurting my eyes tryin to read PDFs on my phone for weeks.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:54 PM on October 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Welp, now I know what I'll be reading during my flight next month.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:00 PM on October 23, 2014


This is excellent!!!
posted by stinkfoot at 5:07 PM on October 23, 2014


This is so great. I've had basically no musical education at all, and I've always felt too intimidated by all the jargon to try and learn more about it. Gonna check this out for sure.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:16 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


[This is good]
posted by drezdn at 5:17 PM on October 23, 2014




ZenMasterThis - you can see that page in the combined complete pdf

Thanks to the OP - this is great!
posted by coleboptera at 5:34 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know someone always hits a thread like this and says something like this, but... I was just wondering today if a site like this existed, and even thought about doing an AskMe, so thanks.
posted by Red Loop at 5:40 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Many years ago, a young student of a friend of mine came up with the mnemonic Everything George Bush Does Fails, and now every time I teach the staff to a new student I wish I could use it on them....

Also, if they ever make something like this for rhythmic modes or hexachords, I will die happy.
posted by Thomas Tallis is my Homeboy at 5:47 PM on October 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


I have been wanting something like this! Yay!
posted by ocherdraco at 5:48 PM on October 23, 2014


This is indeed nifty.
posted by lagomorphius at 6:01 PM on October 23, 2014


Zen Master: thank you. Thank you.

How come you weren't the first commenter, huh? How come?
posted by mule98J at 6:10 PM on October 23, 2014


Great! My daughter, the performer that struggles with theory, will love this. Thank God for people that understand that people learn in all kind of different ways.
posted by salishsea at 6:19 PM on October 23, 2014


This is super cool.
posted by uraniumwilly at 6:53 PM on October 23, 2014


The information looks solid so far (I read up to secondary dominants).
posted by umbú at 7:13 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is linked on the sidebar at r/musictheory over on Reddit. You may wish to bookmark it because he's been adding to it from time to time. It is a nice resource.
posted by CincyBlues at 7:52 PM on October 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Maybe now I will finally learn some theory in a way that sticks!
posted by rtha at 7:53 PM on October 23, 2014


This looks neat. I swear the absolute hardest Army correspondence courses I took were music theory. You get to fail three times and after the third time you have to write off to some central authority to get them to reset your account (after notifying your NCO that you are a fuck-up) and let you try again. I think it took me 4 times to pass the first course. Most correspondence courses are pretty straightforward, you open the test in one window and the text of the course in the other and ctrl+f for the answers as you go along. Not music theory, you actually had to internalize rules and apply them and shit. I remember printing out the course and meticulously going through it with pencil and paper in bed over about three nights, then printing out the test and meticulously working through all the problems before entering them in the computer. I still only barely passed on my last attempt. Of course, I can't remember anything from it any longer except that marches contain a dogfight strain.

The second hardest Army correspondence course was baking.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 7:55 PM on October 23, 2014 [11 favorites]


I wish there was some more support for learning piano via software. I can't really swing lessons, but everyone's like LESSONS ARE THE ONLY ANSWER ALL IS LESSONS ACCEPT NOTHING LESS THAN LESSONS and I just blarg out. Maybe I can at least pick up music theory.
posted by adipocere at 8:12 PM on October 23, 2014


adipocere wrote:
I wish there was some more support for learning piano via software. I can't really swing lessons, but everyone's like LESSONS ARE THE ONLY ANSWER ALL IS LESSONS ACCEPT NOTHING LESS THAN LESSONS
It's not quite the same as personal lessons, but Garageband's lesson mode, along with a $10 midi to USB adaptor (and a midi capable keyboard) is surprisingly good. It got me over the hump to being able to play simply from chord sheets, which is all I was looking for - and it seems to continue on quite far beyond that.
posted by curious.jp at 9:07 PM on October 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm glad to see this has better hosting now - it used to be on a site where you needed to make an account to get at it

adipocere, there is a lot of instructional material on Youtube, of varying quality and over various styles, but some of it is really good.
posted by thelonius at 5:05 AM on October 24, 2014


I sent the link to my guitar teacher. He's bound to enjoy it as well.
posted by tommasz at 6:58 AM on October 24, 2014


adipocere, you might want to check out Gibson's Learn and Master Piano course. It's not software, but DVD instruction. I can't speak to the piano course specifically, but their Learn and Master Guitar series is absolutely top-notch, and one of the best 'teach yourself X' resources I've ever used (and I've used a lot.)
posted by Bourbonesque at 7:11 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is a really good primer.

I sort of disagree with the way it teaches Sonata Allegro form, but that's only because I sort of disagree with the way EVERYTHING teaches Sonata Allegro form. I mean, sure it gets the form right, but I think it misses the spirit of the form. It's the musical equivalent of an essay. The composer is stating their case about how the two music themes tie together. It's about the showing off developmental chops. That's what makes it special, and different from other ternary forms.

Of course, I can't remember anything from it any longer except that marches contain a dogfight strain.

Dogfights are the reason I love playing marches.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:02 AM on October 24, 2014


Thanks! I've recently been trying to learn theory using the "Everything Music Theory Book" by Marc Schonbrun, which I've had for a while but only recently tried. It breaks everything down according to intervals, which makes the most sense to me in describing the basic structure of scales (and chords, etc.). Most of what I've learned playing my instrument has been how to read written parts for a drum kit, generally, like rhythm and time signature, but not really chords, progressions and key signatures. Think I'm starting to understand how it all works, finally. This looks to be pretty ambitious for a free resource. I'll be printing out some of these PDFs for sure.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:46 PM on October 24, 2014


basicmusictheory.com is also a good resource, more of a searchable music theory reference than lessons, but great for looking up almost anything.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:10 PM on October 24, 2014


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