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Edly's Music Theory for Practical People
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Peter Reynolds

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Edly's Music Theory for Practical People:

General Info | Page Samples | Contents | PDF Edition
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Comments from:
| Teachers | Press | Dealers | On-line Forums, etc.

Edly's books have been glowingly recommended by players of instruments as diverse as piano, guitar, bass, ukelele, mandolin, hammer and Appalachian dulcimers, trumpet, clarinet, blues harp (harmonica), tuba, and keyboard (and more), and styles as diverse as classical, jazz, rock, blues, folk, world, and electronica (and more).

Edly's Music Theory for Practical People 3rd Edition Cover

Comments from Students

Dear Edly,
   Your book "Edly's Music Theory for Practical People, Edition #3" is phenomenal! I have tried reading music theory books before. I never came near to reading a full one. They were just too textbook, too dry.
   Your book cracks me up! I never imagined I'd have to explain myself when someone asks "what's so funny?!" as I'm reading about music theory! The characters feel like little, supportive friends on every page. The descriptions and teachings are so rich and spot on.
   I truly, truly, truly adore the book. I have finished reading the whole thing now! It will stay on my shelf and will stay my favorite theory book. I'll refer to it before any other. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your talent!
Alexandra H.

I just want to say thank you, 
thank you, thank you! I've spent many years trying to get even just a little bit of understanding of musical theory and your book, in the first few chapters, has been more understandable and taught me more than anything I've ever read before.
~Jeff A.

I am going to be a High School sophomore. Your book is just what I was looking for. It makes it easier and goes a lot deeper than our theory class did. Your book is wonderful and should be shipped to high schools around the country. Thank you for writing it.
~Anthony H.

I'm a mostly self taught 75 year older who was looking for something understandable on chords etc., and about a year ago I found your book. Wow! I just wish I had had it several decades ago. I showed my teacher the book, and last week he bought a copy for himself. Thanks to you I think I am on the way to becoming a self confident pianist.
~Sincerely, Frank D.

The book is great! It has provided a much-needed refresher to get me up to par for Analytical Techniques class. I must say, your book is much more fun than Schenker!!
~Jessica L.

I've started other music theory books and died consistently at about the third chapter. Thank you for your readable tome!
~Peter O.

I was filling out college applications [and found] I had to take a music theory test. I went right to the bookcase and pulled out a copy of Edly's Music Theory for Practical People. It saved me.
~Erin S.

In my opinion, your theory book is groundbreaking. I tell everyone about it... it's like a bible to me!
~Elizabeth S.

I was trying to wade through a course in jazz theory at the Conservatory, and it was about eight times harder than law school. When I found your book, at least some of it began to make sense, and I kept a few strands of hair.
~Pamela C.

I'm a 40-year-old writer, trained in classical guitar as a kid, these days writing songs for theater. Your books are not only accelerating my grasp of the keyboard, they're also loosening me up, helping me feel potential sounds and patterns through my fingers and in my ears. What great books! I'm telling everybody about them. Also, I teach writing at the college level. You're a terrific writer. That's rare and much appreciated too. Really good instruction books, in any art, are such a find. And yours are tops!--useful and clear and stimulating and engaging. Congratulations!
~Michelle C.

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Your book was an incredible aid for me in preparing for my masters program in liturgical music. I would praise most your accessible language coupled with a logical, funny and practical approach.
~Carolyn P.

Finally, I believe I'll be able to understand theory.
~Susan S., dulcimer player

Imagine my surprise when my guitar teacher showed me your book and it was all done in my font! A lot of people use my typeface, but your book rocks my world! Not only is it a dream to see it used so thoughtfully, but the content unlocks a world of music theory I thought I would never understand without dropping big bucks at Berklee. It's an honor to have my handwriting grace your pages!
~All the best! Marydale A.

I absolutely LOVED "Edly's Music Theory for Practical People"!! I played trumpet as a child, but my theory was limited. I couldn't believe how straight forward your explanations were. Being an engineer, building things from the bottom up was perfect! Just a note of thanks from a guy who learned a lot from your book.
~Bob V.

Love your book and recommend it to everyone I see. It's the best, most readable and easiest to understand book on the topic I've ever seen.
~Dan S.

I recently bought your music theory book and love it. After 29 years of playing guitar I am finally able to tie it all together. THANKYOU!!
~Terry D.

You can't believe how much your book is encouraging me and helping me. I never even considered learning any music theory because people always told me theory was very difficult to learn. HA! Not with your method! In short, you've managed to pull a bit of heaven closer to earth in this book! And I want to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU for publishing it.
~With best regards, Brenda C.

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A music theory book that's hard to put down (Imagine that!)
This is by far the most entertaining book on music theory I have ever read. It is one of the most understandable and easy to read, too. I would wholeheartedly recommend that anyone new to theory read the book cover to cover. Experienced musicians will find it useful as a reference.
~Amazon.com review

Your book has been a life saver. My instructor is now buying the book for many of his students after seeing what a great book it is.
~Ken T.

One of my bass player friends uses your theory book as a basis for an informal music theory learning group. They get together once a week and try to play new stuff applying what they learn from your book!
~Bonnie J.

Edly makes music theory charming, funny, and interesting with a combination of explanation, practical example, and humor. Believe it or not, this book is hard to put down once you get going.

I'm currently working my way thorough your music theory book and I love it. It's the first book to really bring the subject alive in a way that allowed me to stick with it.
~Stephen M.

Your organization, allusion logic ("twelve eggs" vs. "one dozen"), and overall implementation look to be the Rx for some of my music theory novice friends, and several chapters will make for handy review before I jump back into some other books. [Later] I've given away all my copies of the theory book and will be picking up some more. Your work has proven a very gratifying and engaging review of essential theory foundation and I'll look forward to the nourishment of your forthcoming keyboard stuff. Thanks, man, for the solid work.
~Hal H.

I feel like 'Bones' from the old Star Trek episode where he has to put Spock's brain back together. Some how or other he finds this big round metal hat with lights all over it and rods shooting out here and there. Well, this hat contains all the knowledge in the universe. Yes. And you know what Bones says as he's got his fingers in the middle of Spock's noggin, still wearing the funny cap?

"Of course....It's so simple," he says.
~-Kevin G.

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I remember a two inch thick theory text from college--it was absolutely onerous reading. Edly's is fun, light reading, but all the information is still there. I recommend it to all my musical friends when the T-word comes up. Thanks! You've made me a better musician.
~Gene S.

I will be attending Berklee this fall for singing. I absolutely love your book. I love the way it is written--so easy to understand--and I must say even though I'm only up to Chapter 17, I hear music in a totally different way. Thanks to you I will be a bit more ready for Berklee.

I read chunks of your book on a flight last week. You make everything so clear! I found myself hoping the return flight would be delayed, so I could spend more uninterrupted time in the airport reading it. Now even I can use terms like "diminished seventh" in casual conversation.

I used to fear that musical knowledge, or the aptitude to acquire it, was something you had to be born with. Now I know I can learn this stuff, and have fun in the process. Thanks for demystifying the whole subject.
~Shelley C

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I was enjoying your theory book so much that I decided to get myself a keyboard so I could learn it better. Now that I have a keyboard, I want a copy of Edly Paints the Ivories Blue.

Such a refreshing chaser to the traditional theory courses I've had. I'm really excited. You've helped me make connections I never understood before.
~Julia B.

I was shopping for a music theory book for my girlfriend. Your book looked so cool that I bought it for myself instead. It finally shed some light on the dark and mysterious world of music theory.

Your theory book is tremendous! I'm 1/3rd through it and looking forward to the rest. Nice to see the mandolin fretboard early in your book!

After searching for a good theory book for my piano students for quite some time, I discovered yours. It is fabulous!
~Lori H.

I am a self-taught tenor banjoist, and need all of the help that I can get. I just purchased your music theory book and think that it is great.
~Don C.

I love your theory book. I've tried several others and couldn't get through them but really enjoy the combination of your rigor, humanity, and silliness. Thanks for creating it for us!
~A grateful adult piano student, Joan H.

Very approachable and laid out in a way that made sense both sequentially and as a skipping-around reference.
~Colin M.

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I have recommended this book to everyone I know. It has been my guide to linking everything I have done over the past 17 years in music. I just wish I would have read this a long time ago. I never thought I would need music theory, and after reading it, I don't know how I could live without it.

Ed Roseman has taken on the daunting task of teaching music theory to those who don’t read musical notation, all the while gently chiding them to learn to read music. It is an interesting effort, filled with exercises that use the letter names of notes, CDEFGABC, instead of the little marks on five lines and four spaces of a musical staff, to teach theory. (He has the same exercises in music notation in each section for those who can read notation.) All you [non-notation-reading] wankers out there might consider giving this book a try.
~ cbjorke, Library Thing

A fantastic accompaniment to any music student's shelf, no matter the instrument, no matter the age.
~ bookem, Library Thing

Comments from Teachers

An excellent way for any music lover to learn the basics. It is comprehensive and user friendly; a must for both musician and listener.
~Dr. Kenneth Lampl, Professor of Music Theory, the Juilliard School

Folksy and clever, Edly's succeeds in making us feel comfortable with a generally uncomfortable subject; it's funny, quizzical, witty, and right.
~Jack Perricone, Songwriting Chair, Berklee College of Music

It was exciting to see your fun and educationally sound way of presenting the material. You are a very gifted and natural teacher. Congratulations!
~With much admiration, Bruce Pearson

A thorough and entertaining guide to jazz theory.
~Scott Reeves, Director of Jazz Studies, University of Southern Maine

Great book!! I teach piano. All my students HATE theory. And I have always loved it. Your book is so funny, it makes theory fun!! And so right!!
~Fran Blasing

What a cool theory book... it rocks! Now I don't dread lesson planning for my music theory class.
~Lisa Palumbo, theory/appreciation instructor

I've taught theory for close to thirty years and I find your book refreshing and organized in a user friendly manner that takes a lot of the intimidation out of studying music theory.
~Blair F. Bettencourt, Music Coordinator, Westford Public Schools

I am a hammer dulcimer player and fiddler who plays largely traditional music. I do A LOT of teaching around the country at music festivals, workshops and "music camps." While teaching a class, I said "there must be something out there in semi-English that explains this stuff." And your book does! So I wanted to thank you for writing such a good book!
~Ken Kolodner

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I want to tell you how much I enjoy using your theory book with my high school level students. The presentation is fresh. My kids got a real kick out of, as they called them, "the little naked guys."
~Raymond J. Suriani, High School Instrumental Music Teacher

Thank you for being part of the conversion or at least expansion of yet one more traditionally trained pianist and teacher. I specialize in beginning students of all ages and returning adults, and my goal is that all my adult students purchase your theory book.
~Alice P.

I read all of it and I think it's wonderful! I'll be using this in my theory classes. Also, I've showed and recommended the book to other music instructors in the area and they too are interested in using it with their students!!!
~Ed Levy

I am a college music theory professor. I found your book a few weeks ago and fell in love! Most of my students are adults coming back to school after years out in the world, and I find that most textbooks are hard for them to relate to. Yours is really perfectly pitched for them, and most musicians who ask about theory books. They know too much to deal with the Dick and Jane theory books, and the last thing I want to do is alienate them by pointing them to Aldwell and Schachter, or Piston. Your book fits perfectly. You assume (correctly) that your readers want to continue to make music; they just want to understand what it is they've been doing, and do it better. Your writing style is inviting and fun and instructive without being stuffy and overly technical. If I had had your book when I was in high school, it would have made my musical life a lot easier. So I tell everyone who asks me about texts to get your book as soon as possible. Thank you again for this gift to musicians and teachers everywhere.
~Jennifer Goltz

I am incredibly impressed by your layout, graphics, great sense of humor, and content. Everybody should have a copy of this book.
~Mark Hamilton

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I teach guitar to approx 60 students in Anchorage Alaska, and let me just say you are the man. I put you up there with the top 10 people I would love to meet... next to Dave Matthews... sorry.... Anyway your book, being an awesome work of genious, is the only one out of countless others that is falling apart... and that's a great thing. I often refer to it as the theory Bible. I highly recomend your book as "the only theory book you'll need." Thanx from the trenches.
~Aaron H.

I've used your book with my piano students from levels 1-12. They don't complain about the price because of the various levels that it takes them through. My business partner and I even drill each other from it when we have a break!
~Shellisa Prins

I have found your book to be a very valuable resource in my private studio. I have a student who is brilliant, but extremely hard to please when it comes to theory. I presented it to him last week and he immediately began poring through it, laughing at the asides and great illustrations. He is literally "gorging" on this book, highlighting his favorites parts at home and then bringing them to lessons to share. You have helped immensely in reaching this student with your outstanding book. I'm sure I will use it many times over!
~Susan O.

I am a band director in Kentucky. I really loved reading your book. I plan on using it with members of my jazz band.

I have been using your book to teach my high school jazz bands. Excellent book!
~Bob H.

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I have loved this book for a long time. I teach music, and make it "required reading" for many of my students.

The book is just such a great resource… still the only music theory text that is truly a good read. And practical, for my students who are often adults learning dulcimers, autoharp, keyboard, singing, etc., haven't had any formal music training in the past, and just need to understand how melody and harmony work and what all those black marks mean.
~Cathy Britell

The best music theory book I've found in over 30 years is "Edly's Music Theory For Practical People." I love it because:
A. You don't have to read music for it to be useful, though he makes a very good case for learning the language of music.
B. He doesn't assume that you play piano.
C. He doesn't limit music to either western classical nor jazz. He includes examples from all kinds of music.
D. He includes bass clef and ideas for people who play bass instruments.
E. He uses the right graphics to explain and help you see the ideas. The first time I looked at the book I saw things exactly like I used to draw out by hand for students in the '80s, except these are legible!
F. He puts things into easy language without dumbing it down.
G. He has it laid out in a logical manner that helps you learn the utility of things because he builds on it right away, so it makes sense.
~JTE on talkbass.com forum

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Comments from the Press and other Luminaries

A light-hearted yet no-nonsense approach to a subject that often plagues the music hobbyist and professional alike. The book proves that music theory doesn't have to be a hair-pulling, nail-biting experience; it can actually be fun!
~Sheet Music Magazine

So unusual and fun, even an ex-grad student can get excited.... could make all the difference to the student whose eyes glaze over at the mention of theory.
~Ernie Rideout, Keyboard Magazine

Edly made a book about theory that isn't cold and boring. Hooray! Now I don't have to look for a book to teach my kids!
~Michael Hedges, Windham Hill Recording Artist

A most useful and entertaining book; covers the basics in a language so clear and simple that even guitar players will understand!
~Alex de Grassi, Windham Hill Recording artist, guitarist

A whimsical look at theory somewhere between Dr. Suess and PC for Dummies.
~Adam Remson, Music & Sound Retailer Magazine

What 'Dummies' would have been had the editors been a little hipper.
~the Walrus, Egg Magazine

If I had something like Edly's when I was growing up it would certainly have become a bible."
~Paul Woodfin, Egg Magazine

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Now here is the music theory book that I’ve been looking for! The author has found just the right balance—not too basic, but not to academic or complex either. He also adds a bit of fun and humor to the presentation so that the material is not too dry. I’ve never recommended, or even reviewed, a book on music theory in the thirteen years that we’ve been publishing this magazine because I never found one that I felt like I could recommend highly. However, I do highly recommend this book. It is the best general presentation of music theory that I’ve seen to date and a great read no matter what your current level of music theory knowledge.
~Dan Miller, Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

So bouncy and colloquial it’s hard not to smile while reading it. [With] a double helping of adorably geeky professor humor… it takes the teeth out of a topic that for many is too intimidating to approach.
~Performer Magazine

Useful to classical and modern musicians alike, the book is intensely practical, its tone breezy, and the author keeps you on your toes… you don't just read this book, you interact with it.
~Eclectic Homeschool Online

… a must-read for everyone who wishes to be an informed musician.
~Dulcimer Players News

… an informal and often funny approach to… what is often a dense subject.
~Dirty Linen magazine

Edly's love of music and teaching shone through on every page. Witty text and amusing pictures clearly convey complex ideas and keep the student involved and wanting to learn more… a wealth of knowledge in a small space, and always with encouragement and a grin.
~The Old SchoolhouseŽ Magazine

Conversational and colloquial… we love Edly.
~Clavier Companion

… a clear, inviting style that really draws you in… makes learning not only doable, but exciting and fun.
~Fiddler Magazine

… not run-of-the-mill: an engaging and detailed exploration… a very chatty style with lots of humour… blends effortlessly with simple eloquent explanations punctuated by cartoon characters and diagrams for the more pictorially minded – helpful to those not yet comfortable with music notation. I found myself totally absorbed… a must-have for [readers] of any age or level.
~Music Teacher Magazine (UK)

Roseman has written a book so bouncy and colloquial it’s hard not to smile while reading it. Rife with a double helping of adorably geeky 'Can you believe this guy?' professor humor, Edly’s is about as engaging as can be. Time and time again, he rminds us of the fascinating relevance and cosmic importance of understanding the innards of music theory. In so doing, he takes the teeth out of a topic that for many people is too intimidating to approach.
~Performer magazine

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Edly's teaches the building blocks of musical literacy in plain language, a step at a time. Veterans of college music theory courses will find Roseman's approach disarmingly frank, refreshingly irreverent. Underlying the banter is plenty of solid information and down-to-earth advice. Helpful rules of thumb abound. A highly useful contribution to the literature.
~Nick Humez, Portland Sunday Telegram

This book proves that music theory needn't be dry. The informative tome is fun, peppered with witty asides and lightened by playful drawings.
~Dana Pearson, York County Coast Star

The breezy, humorous approach and whimsical cartoons add to the book's appeal.
~the Instrumentalist magazine

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Theory's simple... like Lego, only noisier. Edly's is simple and clear, yet goes deep into many of theory's quirky complexities. The best book on popular theory I've seen.
~Gunnar Madsen, cofounder/songwriter: The Bobs

Your book is the bomb. You've written a really fun and effective source for teaching music to any type of folk. It's unusual to find a book so insightful, well-organized, deep, and user-friendly all in one package, dude! The way you deal with fundamentals is penetrating -- almost like a meditation. The enthusiasm is infectious. I laughed when you told me to put it in the loo, but I can see why you suggested it -- it's fun to read!
~Josh Roseman, trombonist, recording artist and Edly's cousin, New York, NY

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Comments from Dealers

This practical approach to music theory is refreshingly easy and fun to use. The author's scholarly yet light-hearted narrative goes directly to the meat of the subject with no-nonsense explanations, clear examples, historical references, and even funny cartoons. This terrific book removes the stuffiness and mystery from the study of music theory and serves as an inspiration for any music student, performer, composer/arranger, or teacher.             
~J.W. Pepper

I can't believe how fast your book is flying out of here! Nine copies in a month and a half; as good as any theory book moves in this store!
~Walter Peters, Theodore Presser Music, Bryn Mawr, PA

We could sell this book all day!
~Christine, Berklee College of Music Book Store, Boston, MA

The best music theory book this planet has ever seen. Thorough, interesting, and best of all, fun! New music student or professional that needs to connect the dots, this book is for you. Brilliantly produced and illustrated.
~Kevin Crossett, Play It Again Sam's, Montpelier, VT

Deserves to be in every store... a hell of a book.
~Al Corey, Al Corey Music, Waterville, ME

It arrived Saturday; I barely had a chance to look at it before it sold yesterday. It's a very exciting book. I think we'll be doing a lot of business.
~Justin Root, Virtuoso Classical Music Service, Bellevue, WA

Your book is GREAT! I have a B.A. in Music Ed., and I am impressed with your thoughtfully laid out, knowledgeable approach to theory.
~Ed Intagliata, Cassell's Music, San Fernando, CA

We have one of your wonderful theory books and we want more.
~Michael Knapp, Byron Hoyt Music, San Francisco, CA

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On-line Forums, User Groups, etc., whose members recommend Edly's

Names and some URLs of forums, etc., whose members have enthusiastically recommended Edly's books. Finding the actual specific reference may take some digging, and/or searching for key words.

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