Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

A "classroom" environment for exchanging Technical Questions & Answers, How-To's, music theory concepts, etc.
Bob Vasquez

Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by Bob Vasquez » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:56 pm

Is it appropriate to discuss music theory for classical guitarists? There are lots of books on music theory but they all start with piano and end with piano. I don't mind starting with piano but I would like to focus on classical guitar as the two will differ since I can't play 10 notes at one time. I would like to contact anyone that would like to explore this subject; again, if it is appropriate for this site.

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George Crocket
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Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by George Crocket » Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:50 pm

Hi Bob.

Welcome to the Delcamp classical guitar forum.

If you have not already done so, please have a look at our welcome page for more information about the forum and its rules, then please introduce yourself here for a proper welcome
George
2010 Stephen Eden spruce/cocobolo classical guitar
2012 Stephen Eden cedar/IRW classical guitar

Alan Green
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Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by Alan Green » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:00 pm

There are a couple of books about music theory written specifically for guitarists. My recommendation goes to "Music theory for Guitarists" by Tom Serb - he owns a music school outside Chicago - but I don't think it's specifically written with CG in mind.

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Vlad Kosulin
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Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by Vlad Kosulin » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:04 pm

Regards,
Vlad
(still testing various strings with 2006 Sebastian Stenzel and Olinda OC-300)

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Michael.N.
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Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:09 pm

Harmony For Guitar by Lance Bosman.
I also think there was a book written by John Duarte on the subject, although I've only read the Bosman.
Historicalguitars.

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Robin
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Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by Robin » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:52 am

Forum member, Larry (Lare) McDonald has authored a book on this topic called, Introduction to Harmony for Guitar with TAB. It is a basic music theory text written by a guitarist for guitarists. Completion of the text takes the student through approximately the first semester of freshman music theory from a guitarist's point of view. It can be found here: Mod edit: commercial link removed. (If the URL doesn't work, look for our friend Mel. He lives down by the bay.)

Robin

Edit: Spelling
Last edited by Robin on Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by Jeffrey.C » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:27 am

Theory books start and end with piano because it's easiest to understand in terms of where notes are and the variety of voicings possible with 10 fingers is much greater than our 6 strings. It's also very easy to produce a sound on a piano, anyone with a set of hands can do it so it just makes the book more marketable since it's not targeting specific niche markets like us for example.

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Vlad Kosulin
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Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by Vlad Kosulin » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:34 am

I do not know about other countries, but in Soviet Union every music school student had to study piano as main or second instrument along with solfege.
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robin loops
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Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by robin loops » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:13 am

I think most books on theory often start and end with piano because with it's linear format the piano (and white keys for naturals and black for accidentals/sharps&flats) makes the study of theory a bit easier. And perhaps partly because most students of music (in conservatories or universities) are also required to take basic keyboard skills (I believe this is due to the ease of studying theory on linear keys). And finally if you write a book on theory starting and ending with piano, the market is going to be a bit larger than the market for books written on other instruments (in part because of the first two reasons and perhaps in part because of greater numbers of serious students of piano).

An example of the ease of theory on piano is that it takes months for a student to learn where notes are on a fretboard, whereas on piano this can be done in 10 minutes.

Another benefit (at least for me), is the ability to play around with various ideas, 3rds, 5ths, etc. with one hand (and taking notes, etc.) while more or less sitting at a desk (the piano) as opposed to holding a guitar in your lap while fumbling with a book. Oh and when I do use the guitar to play around with this kind of stuff (theory and related) I always use my beater guitar because it's much easier to ding it up while focusing on a book. But in my case, there's a lot of flipping back and forth between different pages, because I constantly have to refer back to one thing or another.
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robin loops
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Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by robin loops » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:17 am

Alan Green wrote:There are a couple of books about music theory written specifically for guitarists. My recommendation goes to "Music theory for Guitarists" by Tom Serb - he owns a music school outside Chicago - but I don't think it's specifically written with CG in mind.
I've heard good things about this book as well. The benefit of a musical theory book for guitarists is that it should not only explore general theory but go into how it relates or translates to the guitar as well (and I've heard this one does).
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

JohnPierce

Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by JohnPierce » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:02 am

Personally, I'd recommend Basic Elements of Music Theory for the Guitar by Aaron Shearer if you need the very basics of scale and chord construction ($10 at Amazon), and then McFadden's dissertation/book mentioned in one of the posts above. That's free if you download it from (chapter three is the book): https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bits ... thesis.pdf.

The more I look at McFadden's work, the more I like it. The first part is heavily oriented toward getting you to learn the fretboard and making sure you understand the basics of theory. If you will actually do all of the exercises, you will have the fretboard down stone cold. The following theory part is extensive and guitar-specific; the latter mostly means that you can play all of the examples and that the exercises are designed for the guitar. I suspect that there's really more theory than most guitarists would ever care about.

If you finish McFadden's book and want still more theory, get yourself a keyboard and Allen Forte's Tonal Harmony in Concept and Practice. Forte is a major music theorist and the book was written as an undergraduate text. It is by far the most intelligible explanation of harmony theory I've ever seen (for art music - jazz/rock/pop/folk/etc ignores many of the classical rules). It's actually readable even if you don't have a piano, especially in conjunction with something that covers the same material in a guitar-friendly fashion. It's out of print, but is reasonably available from used booksellers on the net; get the third edition, if possible.

Timpy

Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by Timpy » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:53 pm

Although it may be confusing I think one of the most effective things you could do is translate that theory to guitar yourself. You will learn some piano along the way, and you will have an indestructible knowledge of theory applied to guitar. It's like learning one of life's lessons the hard way; even if somebody tells you all about it you won't know the depth of it until you experience it yourself.

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George Crocket
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Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by George Crocket » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:23 pm

Hi Timpy.

Welcome to the Delcamp classical guitar forum.

If you have not already done so, please have a look at our welcome page for more information about the forum and its rules, then please introduce yourself here for a proper welcome.
George
2010 Stephen Eden spruce/cocobolo classical guitar
2012 Stephen Eden cedar/IRW classical guitar

Bob Vasquez

Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by Bob Vasquez » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:35 pm

Many thanks to all that responded to my subject of Music Theory for Classical Guitarists. Not long ago, I purchased a couple of the books recommended and I just finished ordering the Serb book. I am going to keep your responses and will work off of it for future purchases. Again, many, many thanks.

jdb

Re: Music Theory for Classical Guitarists

Post by jdb » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:13 pm

Hi Bob --
May I ask where you were able to find Tom Serb's book? My Google searches came up with ridiculously expensive copies ranging as high as $17,600 through Amazon.
Thanks,
Doug --

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