Review of Music Theory for Beginners, by R. Ryan Endris

Nicole E. DiPaolo

R. Ryan Endris’s Music Theory for Beginners, part of the graphic nonfiction series published by For Beginners LLC, is rather unusual among music theory texts in that it is not specifically designed for use in the undergraduate music theory classroom. As its preface states, it is targeted toward the lay reader. Thus, its style, design elements, and supporting materials diverge in various ways from what is normally seen in a college harmony textbook. Endris includes some interesting additional content generally absent from fundamentals courses, including an introduction to the blues, octatonic, and whole tone scales, and a brief survey of large-scale forms. While it does not claim to take the place of a comprehensive traditional undergraduate theory text, nor is it as thorough in its treatment of each topic as a classroom-ready fundamentals text, Endris’s book taps into a more diverse market with which few music scholars have engaged.