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Music Theory Workbook for All Musicians, A self-study course with illustrations and examples for you to write and check your answers.

Music Theory Workbook for All Musicians, A self-study course with illustrations and examples for you to write and check your answers, by Chris Bowman. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2013.; 122 pp., $12.99.

Music Theory Workbook is a sequential, accessible and clear journey through the difficult maze of theory as seen through the eyes of an experienced guitarist. It is an excellent resource for the thoughtful intermediate student of all instruments or for the adult student who has a rudimentary knowledge of notes and who wants more theoretical understanding and hands-on analysis.

These students would do well to study this exciting presentation carefully and thoroughly. It is labeled a "self-study," with the leisurely goal of one year to complete the answers to quizzes on scales. Chords are well documented and on the staff in the back of the book. Part One is exclusively on scales, presented in 30 mini-lessons. Part Two is exclusively on harmony, intervals and chord structure.

Part One covers all scales, including pentatonic, modes, Hungarian, whole tone, chromatic and diminished scales. The students are given a formula in the beginning of each of the mini-lessons to write the scales, so they know what to write.

The directions include steps: To write it, play it, listen to it, analyze it, verbalize it and memorize it. It concludes with a quiz, and a review of all of the above. By the completion, the student has a solid grasp of the developing material and the quizzes reinforce the work.

Part Two includes intervals, harmony and chord structure, including examples and references to the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Claude Debussy. The chord usage includes the total range of sixth, seventh, suspension chords, eleventh and thirteenth chords, in addition to major, minor, augmented and diminished chords.

Chord progressions and substitutions are also explained and used in examples.

The style of the book is personal and written in a mentor-like guide to the student. It is encouraging and acknowledges that further study could be appropriate.

The ear-training component is weak, as it relies on the developing musician.

This workbook can also be used as a resource and compendium for the more experienced composers and players of instruments. There is "Something for Everyone" at most levels, and one can check from time-to-time for clarity and reinforcement of what they may have previously learned.

The new book shows that theory at an advanced level can be fun and digestible. It correlates what we play with how the music is composed and/or improvised. As such, it is a valuable and expandable guide. --Reviewed by Ellen Goldberg Shapiro, Marlton, New Jersey

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Author:Shapiro, Ellen Goldberg
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2013
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