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on 19 April 2017
I like this book, especially because of the different chordal voicings presented. It's a must for people who love harmony. However, one must bear in mind what is it that one is trying get from such a book. I bought it because I was hoping to find some tips on improvisation. It did provide some insight but it didn't develop as much as I've wanted it too. I understand this book is old and for that reason I won't hold much against it.
Nowadays, you can go on Youtube and learn these and more, the difference is that, with books, the pace is yours.
This book, as I see it, is good mainly for raising awareness on certain topics that might need further investigation, so if you want to buy it, be wary that this isn't an all round music theory course - this is for the intermediate or advanced musician looking for new heights of expression, improvisation/composition for example. You won't get hints of diatonic scales or major triads here. And finally, I appreciate the author's comic relief narrative, people tend to get too serious/technical about music and forget that in essence, making music should be about having a jolly good time. Thank you for reading.
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on 18 March 2018
I didn't realise this was Dave Stewart of Eurhythmics fame. Great book, a lot of thought provoking musical ideas that can help to pull you out of that creative rut . Also very funny, I was nearly peeing myself laughing by page 4.
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on 13 November 2014
quality product
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on 21 December 1999
Literature is based on the 26 letters of our alphabet. From these, authors form words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters and books.
Here, Dave Stewart introduces the 12 notes of the chromatic scale. Then he encourages the wanna-be musical composer to weave them into interesting sounds. Scales, intervals, chords, rhythm and tempo are explored in detail. Clichés are exposed, alternatives suggested. Stewart unravels the theory, allowing the ordinary person to feel good about their natural music-making talents.
Comparisons between keyboard and guitar chord voicings abound. Techno-musicians will find the information on computers and MIDI invaluable. Drummers are shown beats using musical notaion. They are also introduced to alternative ideas from non-western cultures.
Reading this book made me pick up my guitar, stretch my brain and exercise my fingers. I just wish his much earlier book, "The Musician's Guide to Reading and writing Music", was still in print.
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on 1 June 2009
Been learning the piano at home without a teacher for about a year, been trying to use all sorts of books begged and borrowed off people but this one is easily the best. You dont have to sight read music thoroughly to use it, just be able to work out which note is which. Overall the book is loaded with stuff that you actually want and need to know instead of tons of redundant stuff. The sections on chords and voicings are particularly usefull and you will be sliding through improvised chord progressions before you know it!
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on 8 November 2009
Somewhat disappointing - the sometimes really useful and practical information of this book is hidden in a distracting layer of want-to-be-funny style which doesn't work for me. It is like an elderly man who wants to take you by the hand and walk you round his own museum of the past, with some "jokes" and anecdotes, which are sometimes just alright but sometimes plain boring. It reads not quite like talking to you but like talking at you, and I felt tempted to ask at times: "come one then, what you do want to say? Come to the point!".

The ambitions of the book seem all in low fairly low in terms of what it wants to teach you. Yes, you learn a fair chunk, but there is hardly ant depth to it, and it seems rather schematic at times, rather than encouraging you to develop and enhance your personal style from early on in your journey of music-writing.

Anyway, this book can be an okay supplement to your music library as it is a fairly quick read, but it is nothing to shout and trumpet about, really.
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on 27 August 2011
I bought this for my 14 year old son who plays guitars and intends to do BTEC music performance next year. It has kept him happy all summer holiday; he has been playing/practising a lot, keeps trying out ideas on the piano and asking awkward musical questions. A good buy, even if I have barely seen inside the book!
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on 14 August 2007
I had been playing music for some time now, and decided to buy a book..and really did the best choice by buying Dave Stewart's text. I don't lie when I say I spent the first 20 pages or so in an ultimate state of extasis...there was so much useful info! and explained in an easy down to earth way, totally loved it!

The part where how different types are constructed are quite though to follow though...but if you're really into learning the basic theory behind music I'm sure you won't mind going through the pages more than once!
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