Basic Music Theory for Banjo Players from Mel Bay

Mel Bay Publications has released a new book (with online audio and video) to help five string banjo players develop an understanding of music theory, in a fun and non-intimidating fashion.

Basic Music Theory for Banjo Players was written by Rick McKeon, and uses nearly fifty hands-on examples to help banjo pickers grasp the concepts that define the subject. He works with the fact that very few five stringers read standard notation, and includes tablature with all of the exercises to put the information quickly onto the fingerboard.

Topics covered include scale theory, reading tablature and standard notation, key signatures, accidentals, transposition, time signatures and note values, intervals and chord construction, the three kinds of minor scales, pentatonic scales, and more. The book is written like a textbook or workbook, with review questions included in each chapter. But it’s not necessary to proceed linearly, as the author encourages students to jump around as their interest and prior knowledge may dictate.

The 160-page book is offered in a bound printed edition, and an ebook version, and both include information on how to access online audio and video examples to help clarify specific exercises in the book.

All of the lessons are broken down into fairly simple bits, so that by understanding each section in turn, you come to grasp these larger concepts that will greatly expand your familiarity with the banjo neck and why certain notes and chords fit well together.

You can see more details, like the Table of Contents and several sample pages, online.

Basic Music Theory for Banjo Players sells for $19.99 in print form, or $14.99 as an ebook. Both can be purchased from the Mel Bay web site or at dealers worldwide.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.