Magazine article American Music Teacher

Getting Music: The Basics for Rock, Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop & Country

Magazine article American Music Teacher

Getting Music: The Basics for Rock, Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop & Country

Article excerpt

* Getting Music: The Basics for Rock, Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop & Country, by Vincent Giannini and Dennis Wells Benjamin. It's Possible Music Publishing & Grill, 2014. getting-music.com; 152 pp., $29.95.

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This book brings a fresh perspective to theory basics, primarily for adults and high school students studying contemporary music styles, but it is also applicable for the traditional adult music student. The authors have an extensive background in music, as an amateur musician and as a music professional. Their premise was to write a "book for people who want to learn the basic language of music needed for understanding and playing contemporary styles."

It is best to approach this book from a novice point of view--it is very readable with large clear illustrations of the concept being presented. You feel like you are having a conversation with the authors. They anticipate all the questions the inquisitive beginning adult music student might have. It also has a unique feature called "Music Speak," which defines various terms and words used in the music language, especially popular music.

The chapters cover the basic elements of music: notes and scales, how a music style gets its sound, music notation, intervals, chords, keys, harmony, pop music styles structure, modes and alternatives to standard staff notation. The text also provides historical perspectives about how music developed, and why it is written the way it is. The organization generally is excellent, although I would have placed the chapter on "How a Music Style gets its Sound," after the chapter on "The Basic Elements of Music."

Getting Music is a very comprehensive text. It explains the concept, shows how it is used and explains why. For example, under notation, it not only presents sharps and flats, but also immediately introduces double sharps and flats. …

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