Music Theory can be a chore to begin with but building a strong foundation is quite important. And even if you feel that theory is ruining music for you it is still important to learn and understand various concepts that you may then use subconsciously whilst composing. “Songwriting is different from music, although I don’t deny now that it would have been nice to have a little more background in music theory” – Neil Diamond
1. Laitz's The Complete Musician
This book explores the different concepts of melody, counterpoint, and numerous other textures. Including phrasing, chromatics, chord embellishments and basically every musical concept you can think of is included in this brilliant compilation. The result is something that is applicable to all musicians.It also Includes over 4,500 musical examples from the common-practice repertoire in the text and workbooks, and nearly twenty hours of music on MP3 files (all music is performed, recorded, and engineered at Eastman)
2. Schoenberg's Fundamentals of Music Composition
Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer who spent 40 years of his life teaching and was widely regarded as a true genius among musicians. This book is considered to be one of the best of its kind because it goes through every musical concept and does so in a way that is easy to understand. However it is also important to note that some chapters may prove difficult and unlike other books the reader may have to spend more time understanding the vast knowledge.
3. Pocket Music Theory by Hal Leonard
No music book list is complete without mentioning Hal Leonard. Although widely known for their books based on pop songs. Hal Leonard produces a few gems and this is one of them. This handy pocket-sized book is the most contemporary music theory book on the market! A step-by-step guide to harmony and theory for every musician, it includes thorough, yet to easy-to-understand analysis of: intervals, rhythms, scales, chords, key signatures, transposition, chord inversion, key centers, harmonizing the major and minor scales, extended chords, modulation and much more. Packed with info from the Harmony & Theory course at Musicians Institute!