Top 8 Best Music Books to Read

The wonderful thing about books is that they can be used to record experiences, hardships and share them with millions of people all at once. Many bands, musicians, and musical genres have a backstory to share with us and provide information about the process that we otherwise wouldn’t learn. That is how we compiled the list of the top music books ever!

Music has always played a significant role in human culture, and many musical genres have interesting backstories. From their place of inception to the individuals who saw to its dissemination to the general public. The spotlight is not as great as it first appears, as we have seen.

Best Music Books 2023

Reading music-related literature can be a great approach to increase your musical knowledge and comprehension. There are innumerable publications available that cover a wide range of topics, from music theory and history to instrument-specific instructions and biographies of great artists, whether you are a novice or an experienced musician.

One advantage of reading music books is that they can increase your understanding of music. You can better grasp the cultural and social settings that shaped the formation of various genres by knowing about the background and development of such genres. In order to develop your own musical abilities, you can also learn about the technical facets of music, such as composition, notation, and performing techniques.

You might be inspired and motivated to keep pursuing your passion for music by reading music books. For instance, biographies of well-known musicians can offer insights into their private and professional lives, as well as their creative processes and the difficulties they overcame. Reading about their accomplishments and disappointments will help you put your own musical journey into perspective and can inspire and direct you to overcome challenges and accomplish your objectives.

In conclusion, anyone who enjoys music will find reading music books to be a worthwhile and enjoyable experience. They can broaden your knowledge and comprehension of music, encourage you to pursue your interests, and help you hone your musical abilities. There is a music book out there for everyone, whether you are a student, a teacher, or just a casual music fan.

Read on to learn more about the best music books to read :

The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross

Nationwide bestseller The Rest Is Noise was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist and National Book Critics Circle Award winner. It also received the Guardian First Book honor. Alex Ross, a writer and critic of classical music takes over the tales of the music’s hidden history.

First-time readers of this book immediately raced to the nearest music store. To uncover some of the cited oeuvres or to strike up a conversation with random people. Or maybe to talk about some of Alex’s quotes regarding modern genres and techniques of composition from the Victorian era or after World War I.

Studies of music theory and in-depth analyses of the factors that led artists to seize control and alter the rules are unavoidable. Take the development of jazz or blues music, for instance, or the impact of concrete music on rock bands. Also, the 1960s and 1970s social protest movement, led by artists like Bob Dylan, and the media attention it received during that time.

All You Need is Ears by George Martin

George Martin is, without a doubt, the one who, with complete knowledge and no self-censorship, can tell us what The Beatles did. The band’s most artistic tunes were subject to his suggestions and demands for revisions without hesitation. It’s most likely the main justification for the nickname “fifth Beatle,” whether it’s true or just a jest.

The book was praised for being quite amiable and for not including any bizarre elements that would scare off young readers. Perhaps people who weren’t as young couldn’t experience The Beatles’ career in its entirety. Many of us grew up when mythology was just beginning to take shape.

A book like this is outstanding when it comes to reviewing the band’s high points, techniques, and ups and downs; it is a wonderful voyage through glorious moments.

all you need is ears

Hammer of The Gods by Stephen Davis

Another big fish with a legitimately large following has been alternately praised, criticized, and reprinted since its initial release in 1985. In 1975, when Led Zeppelin’s US tour was beginning, journalist Stephen Davis spent two weeks traveling across the country with the band.

For better or worse, Richard Cole, a former roadie and tour manager for Zeppelin, served as his primary source for this unofficial biography. On the one hand, the group has openly disputed its veracity. On the other hand, thousands of people have devoured its meaty, hilarious, and shocking stories.

Waiting for the Sun by Barney Hoskyns

A classic is, at last, available in print! The lengthy and tangled rock ‘n’ roll history of Los Angeles is examined by British rock historian Barney Hoskyns (Hotel California, Crossing the Wide Divide: The Band in America). This comprehensive and richly illustrated book has songs by the Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, Little Feat, the Eagles, Steely Dan, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, and many others (from Charlie Parker up to Black Flag, the Minutemen, Jane’s Addiction, Ice Cube, and Guns N’ Roses).

This multigenerational overview of the LA music industry covers everything from surfboards to singer-songwriters, from Svengalis to satanic cults, and it reads like a well-written novel.

All the great figures are present—Jim Morrison, Frank Zappa, Gram Parsons—but the most insightful commentary is frequently provided by less well-known figures like Van Dyke Parks and Lou Adler. It’s a tale of excess, quirkiness, and enduring musical beauty.

waiting for the sun

Listen to the Music by Mary Richards

As young readers embark on a fantastical voyage through the history of music, press the buttons to hear the music as they travel through time around the globe!

Readers visit 10 significant historical events that took place in various locations throughout the world, stopping up at each to meet a famous musician and hear a sample of their works of music.

From 1600s England, where you can hear the harpsichord play Greensleeves, to 18th Century Munich, where you can hear Mozart’s piano sonata, to a classical Indian raga in 1700s Udaipur, to New York in the 1940s, where readers can press Charlie Parker’s saxophone to hear bebop Jazz, this book will teach children about cultural history, famous musicians and musical genres all while wanting to press the buttons and hear the music again and again.

To teach kids about the history of these most enchanted tunes, each performer shares information about their hometowns, the inspiration behind their music, and what the music means to them.

Children will enjoy listening to the most beautiful and significant, genre-defining bars of music repeatedly while reading this excellent book for playtime or bedtime. It also includes a soundtrack that traces crucial occasions in musical history.

Rap Capital by Joe Coscarelli

The Atlanta rap book by The New York Times reporter Joe Coscarelli, despite its broad title, focuses primarily on Quality Control Music, the city-based label established by Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas that dominated the last decade. Coscarelli uses the label as a lens to examine how the high life of 2010s Atlanta worked well for some and not others. She is fascinated by the ascent of QC and everyone in their sphere.

Before getting to what you can tell really interests him, Coscarelli spends the first third of the film tracing the history of the label, from the Freaknik festival to the beginning of the Gucci Mane and Jeezy feud: contrasting the careers of artists who became successful (Lil Baby and Migos) with those who failed to do so (Marlo and Lil Reek), through a combination of interwoven profile-like scenes and interviews. Some sections flow more smoothly than others: Lil Reek’s is riveting and heartbreaking, while Marlo’s is written too much like a crime book. Rap Capital occasionally makes for disorganized reading, but the evolving structure keeps you interested. — Alphonse Pierre

rap capital book

Stay True by Hua Hsu

The issue with Ken, with his love of Dave Matthews, Abercrombie & Fitch, and his fraternity, from the perspective of eighteen-year-old Hua Hsu, is that he is just like everyone else. For Hua, the son of Taiwanese immigrants who publishes zines and frequents Bay Area record stores, Ken embodies everything he defines himself in opposition to. Ken is mainstream because his Japanese American family has been in the United States for generations. Hua and Ken only have one thing in common: regardless of how they interact with it, none of them seems to fit into American culture.

Despite his initial misgivings, Hua and Ken end up becoming close friends. Their friendship is forged via late-night cigarette chats, lengthy drives around the California coast, and the triumphs and failures of typical college life. Not quite three years after they first met, Ken is suddenly and senselessly murdered in a carjacking.

Hua turned to writing in an effort to preserve the memories he had of one of his best friends. Since then, he has been writing on the novel Remain True. Remain True is a harrowing memoir about growing up and about navigating the world in quest of purpose and connection. It is a coming-of-age story that explores both the ordinary and the remarkable.

stay true book

Corporate Rock Sucks by Jim Ruland

The temptation to revere SST Records as an impenetrable fortress of punk rock is strong, but Greg Ginn would gladly be the first to dent its dazzling reputation. The co-founder of Black Flag established the record company in 1978 in order to disseminate the music of his band. Then, as the Los Angeles scene grew, the label’s output—Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and Soundgarden—along with the police department’s observation of their headquarters, snowballed. As a result, SST Records developed from a side project into a powerhouse, assisting punk musicians in becoming mainstays of alt-rock even as the label’s accounting procedures came under assault.

Author Jim Ruland has created Corporate Rock Sucks: The Growth and Fall of SST Records, a tribute to the record company that contributed to the development of rock, from a plethora of original interviews, newspaper clippings, and tattered fliers. The book chronicles how SST expanded beyond hardcore, provided college radio with its mainstay, and had an impact on regional scenes by elevating its artists—often at the sacrifice of their bands’ wallets. These stories are likely to become a go-to source for punk historians interested in material beyond Damaged or Double Nickels on the Dime. (Nina Corcoran)

Final Words

In conclusion, the best music books provide a wealth of information and insight into the art form of music. We can gain a better understanding of music theory, history, and the creative process by reading, as well as a better appreciation for the cultural and social contexts that shape it. Based on the reviews provided in this blog, we strongly advise readers to purchase a music book that corresponds to their interests and goals. With so many books on the market, there is bound to be one that speaks to every reader. Reading a music book can be a rewarding and enriching experience that broadens your horizons and enhances your appreciation for the art form, whether you are a professional musician or a casual listener. We encourage readers to explore the diverse range of music books available and gain insights, inspiration, and knowledge from them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some of the different types of music books available?

There are many different types of music books available, including biographies, histories, instructional guides, theory books, and more.

Are music books only suitable for musicians or music students?

No, music books are suitable for anyone who is interested in music, regardless of their level of experience or knowledge. There are many books available that cover a wide range of topics and are written for a general audience.

Can reading music books help improve musical skills?

Yes, reading music books can help improve musical skills by providing insights into music theory, composition, performance techniques, and more. Many instructional books are specifically designed to help readers improve their skills on a particular instrument.

How can music books help deepen our understanding and appreciation of music?

Music books can help deepen our understanding and appreciation of music by providing historical and cultural context, exploring the creative process, and examining the technical aspects of music. They can also inspire us with stories of famous musicians and their accomplishments.

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