I learned solfège as a kid long ago, and have been playing ever since without interruption, but I seem to have forgotten quite a few things that I haven't really needed all those years, and might not be aware of many other interesting things since I haven't studied at the conservatory.

Is there any comprehensive book on music theory that you could recommend? (References in French are fine too.) I would be mostly interested in modes, scales, "musical patterns" and the relations between them, as well as their uses in various kinds of music. Please recommend only books you've had experience with, and explain how they cover the topics I mention.

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    Please make sure you read the FAQ, Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and is it a Real Questions Have Answers to understand what types of questions are appropriate here. I'm not sure a recommendation question like this fits. Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 17:44
  • @Rebecca Chernoff: I read the links, but I still fail to see how my question is inappropriate. Could you be more specific about how it should be corrected, or whether it should just be removed? Benoit: I don't think this could move to meta, because meta is supposed to be about the website. Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 19:00
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    @Anthony Labarre: I have opened a question on Meta that attempts to elaborate a list of music glossaries online. I think it is an appropriate place…
    – Benoit
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


In French, the most well-known theory book is the Danhauser's book. It is still old but it is very pedagogous. The linked version is the original one. You can purchase revised versions which are not in public domain. It should be available in music paper stores too, at least in France.

Another interesting link is this one, still in French, oriented towards jazz harmony theory. I did not take time to read it, so I cannot tell you whether it is a document of quality.


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