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Basic Music Theory
Genre: Non-fiction, music theory
Greetings everyone! The Review Board here to give our take on Basic Music Theory.
First, we will gather what Nikki sees in this book.
I thought that the book began well, with concise and easy to understand instructions. The tone of the narrative is down to earth and practical, so I didn’t feel that I was being talked down to. I responded to the matter-of-fact information and thought that the transitions between each level were balanced and not too much of a leap. Some of the diagrams were a little bit daunting for me as a relative beginner to reading music, but I soon got the hang of how to read them and follow their meaning.
The step-by-step approach that Joe Procopio uses would suit a total beginner as well as someone who is a little familiar with musical notation. Because the ‘voice’ was friendly and knowledgeable, I was tempted to try out more challenging musical exercises. This gave me the confidence to want to practice more often than I do. So I think this is a good thing especially for those of us who don’t have a regular tutor at hand. Although, I would suggest that some one-to-one tuition is very important, especially to a beginner.
As a companion book to lessons, this would be very beneficial. The progressions to more difficult musical notations are dealt with through easy to understand explanations and visual references, which made sense to me! The exercises were clear and helpful, and I did see an improvement in my ability to understand and play music and harmonics that previously I struggled with. So I was very happy about that.
Harmonics are dealt with very well, as was the section about intervals and chords. All explained clearly and without too much jargon that can confuse. Interspersed with diagrams and actual musical scales that complimented each ‘chapter’.
I liked the review sections at the end of the exercises, as this helped to reinforce what was learned. This repetition was a good way of remembering and putting into practice the previous lessons.
All-in-all this is a very comprehensive guide to musical notation, and covers all the basic aspects of how to understand the workings of written music. For a beginner it is great and a useful addition to any budding musician who wants to understand how to play and read music. I highly recommend it.
Now time to get Unleashed:
I had to treat this review slightly different for this reason: It’s a textbook of sorts, so it doesn’t have the guiding factors like plot, pace, conflict and the like to take into considerations.
Therefore, I will base my score on the following characteristics:
(1) Spelling, grammar, punctuation
(2) Ease of following and understanding
(3) Use of visual aids along with text
(1) Spelling, grammar, and punctuation: There were a handful of spelling errors and one instance of misplaced punctuation but overall, a terrific job on syntax.
(2) Ease of following and understanding: Although I haven’t had music classes since my early school years, a lot of what I learned reminded me of that particular time in my life. The dust was flicked off my light bulb for just a moment as I revisited the different notes, clefs and meanings. The instructions were clear and very easy to follow. The recaps (repetition) did help a lot but in some areas, it almost bordered on being a bit too much.
(3) Use of visual aids along with text: The visual aids were presented beautifully and there was a nice balance between print and diagrams. This method is beneficial not just to the student that likes relying on text but also the student who likes being hands on and is a fan of visual aids more so than merely print.
I would definitely recommend this. It has been a while since I’ve looked at music yet if I had an instrument on hand, I would be open to using this guide to get back in the swing of things.
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