Getting Music ‐ Essential Music Concepts And Language


Answers to frequently asked questions about Getting Music.

rear of a panel

Photo © 2013 Dennis Wells Benjamin.

    FAQs about the book’s content.

  1. No music knowledge needed.
  2. Useful for any style of popular music.
  3. Focus on popular music, not classical.

  4. FAQ about the printed book.

  5. Paperback. (Interested in an e-book?)


  1. What do you mean when you say Getting Music covers the essentials for popular music? Are those different than for classical music?

    Getting Music focuses on the concepts and language used in performing modern music styles. Plenty of other books are out there if you want to be a classical musician. But Getting Music is unique since it purposefully does not cover the aspects of music theory specific to classical, orchestral and other types of music (such as ceremonial music) that are very rarely, if ever, used in contemporary music styles. For instance, classical music uses lots of terms from the Italian language for tempo and for softness/loudness that just aren’t used in popular music forms. People learning music want to play music as soon as they can, and most people are interested in playing popular styles. For people who want to start their musical experience by focusing on popular music, there's little value in spending time learning terms they won't need. So, Getting Music does not go into them. Getting Music does not interrupt the reader with information that is not relevant to performing what people commonly refer to as "popular music" styles.

    up an octave

    Plus, Getting Music explains a wide range of music concepts and performance phrases that come from the rock, jazz and other popular music cultures and that are not found at all in classical music contexts—examples are riff, hook and tag. It describes music terms in the words used by musicians who perform modern music forms. Often, the words are very different from how ideas are expressed in classical music settings. For example, a particular type of chord is called a ‘min7(♭5)’ [pronounced ‘minor seven flat five’] in popular music, but the same chord is described as a ‘half-diminished seventh’ in classical music.

    On the other hand, the fundamental music theory covered in Getting Music is exactly the same for classical, orchestral and other kinds of music. We haven’t watered down the information in Getting Music; we’ve focused it. It's easy to find books to round out your knowledge of classical music theory if you later want to take your music in that direction. Up to now, the hard thing has been finding a book focused on popular music. Getting Music is that book!

  2. (Go back to top of FAQs.)