5 books to hack the music

updated 14/12/16

1. Fundamentals of Musical Composition by Arnold Schoenberg 

By the greatest music teacher ever, a systematic approach to the principles behind musical composition in the common practice era (aka Tonal Music). This book can be used for analysis as well as for composition. On the one hand, it has the practical objective of introducing students to the process of composing in a systematic way, from the smallest to the largest forms; on the other hand, the author analyses in thorough detail and with numerous illustrations those particular sections in the works of the masters which relate to the compositional problem under discussion. "The work of art is a labyrinth". Do not get lost, be logical with forms and motivic development.

2. Treatise on Instrumentation by Hector Berlioz and Richard Strauss 

The art of writing for musical instruments of the orchestra to achieve maximum effect. Modest Mussorgsky had died with a copy of this book on his bed. The Treatise was closely studied by Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss, who themselves were masterly orchestrators. Strauss revision deals with instruments not available to Berlioz, with many of his own examples drawn from the works of Richard Wagner. The most influential work of its kind ever written, appraising the musical qualities and potential of over 60 commonly used stringed, wind and percussion instruments. With 150 illustrative full-score musical examples from works by Berlioz, Mozart, Beethoven, Gluck, Weber, Wagner and others. Improve your next soundtrack.

3. The Structure of Atonal Music by Allen Forte

The most important book of music theory in 50 years. In these essential work, Forte applied set-theoretic principles to the analysis of unordered collections of pitch classes, called pitch-class sets (pc sets). The basic goal of Forte's theory was to define the various relationships that existed among the relevant sets of a work, so that contextual coherence could be demonstrated. A new methodology. Textbooks on post-tonal analysis now routinely teach it (to varying degrees). Open your mind, open your ears.

4. A Geometry of Music: Harmony and Counterpoint in the Extended Common Practice by Dmitri Tymoczko

An innovative, epoch-making publication in music theory. An original synthesis of new music theory that unifies quite a large number of separate subfields, dealing with the rational basis for tonality and tonal-compositional practices in music. A Geometry of Music provides an accessible introduction to Tymoczko's revolutionary geometrical approach to music theory. The book shows how to construct simple diagrams representing the relationships among familiar chords and scales. This gives readers the tools to translate between the musical and visual realms, revealing surprising degrees of structure in otherwise hard-to-understand pieces. Tymoczko proposes that Western music comprises an extended common practice stretching from the late middle ages to the present. Using analysis to make his argument clear, he discusses a host of familiar pieces by Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, and others. (A previous mention here)

5. Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema - David Sonnenschein 

An user-friendly knowledge and stimulating exercises to help compose a story, develop characters and create emotion through skillful creation of the sound track. Psychoacoustics, music theory, voice study and analysis of well-known films expand your perception, imagination and the musical skills. Today every serious composer/musician have to understand the implications, uses and design of sound, music ane soundscapes for films, games, TV. Obi-wan's light sabre is tuned to C major, while Darth Vaders is in a minor key. You will clearly understand how our brains interpret voice, music and other types of sound and how to use that to create better sound design. After reading this book your musical mind will never be the same. Be inspired.


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