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By R. Ryan Endris

Illustrations By Joe Lee

Foreword by Carmen-Helena Téllez


Music/ Theory

ISBN-13: 978-1-939994-46-2
Price: US $15.95
eBook ISBN: 978-1-939994-47-9
eBook Price: US $15.95
October 20, 2015


B/W Illustrations

Learning to read and write music is very similar to learning a new language. Music theory is the study of how music is written and the fundamental elements of music. Music Theory For Beginners was developed for anyone interested in learning to read and write music, a task that can be quite daunting for novices. This text, however, will allay any fears and set you on the path to learning what all those dots, lines, and symbols actually mean. It provides the necessary scholarly muscle to entice and inform the reader, yet it does not require any prior knowledge of music or force the reader to wade through hundreds of pages of jargon and details. Whether your goal is to gain a cursory understanding of music, become fluent in reading music again, or start composing your own music, this text will provide everything you need for a solid foundation in music theory. Anyone can pick up this book and instantly start learning about—and understanding—music theory.


R. Ryan Endris, D.Mus, currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Colgate University, where he teaches courses in music theory and music appreciation and conducts the university’s two choral ensembles. He is also in demand as an arranger of choral and instrumental music throughout the country, and he has conducted concerts internationally in Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, and Slovakia. Dr. Endris holds Doctor of Music and Master of Music of Choral Conducting degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, as well as a Bachelor of Music Education. He studied voice with internationally acclaimed soprano Sylvia McNair, and his conducting teachers and mentors include Robert Porco of the Cleveland Orchestra; Jan Harrington of Indiana University; John Poole of the BBC Singers; and Vance George, Director Emeritus of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus.


Joe Lee is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, and clown.  With a degree from Indiana University centering on Medieval History, Joe is also a graduate of Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey’s Clown College.  He worked for some years as a circus clown.  He is the illustrator of a baker’s dozen of For Beginners books, including Barack Obama For Beginners, [Howard] Zinn For Beginners, Shakespeare For Beginners, Postmodernism For BeginnersDeconstruction For BeginnersEastern Philosophy For BeginnersDante For BeginnersDada & Surrealism For BeginnersJane Austen For Beginners and Climate Change For Beginners among others. Joe lives in Bloomington, Indiana with his wife Mary Bess, son Brandon, cat George, and the terriers (or rather terrors) Max and Jack.


“This is the perfect book for anyone looking for a concise and extremely well-written, step-by-step introduction to music theory. The figures and examples complement the scholarly yet easily comprehensible writing style, making the book an ideal self-guide for anyone interested in learning the fundamentals of music theory." 

— Michael Schwartzkopf, Professor Emeritus of Choral Conducting and Music Education, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University


“What’s great about this book is that it serves beginners and musicians alike. Anyone interested in learning the basics—progressing from foundational elements and then building on them—will enjoy the overall approach, the clear writing style, and the engaging, informative graphics. I would recommend it for self-taught musicians and for the classroom setting.” 

— A. Barron Breland, Associate Professor and Music Coordinator, Creighton University

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