Learn how to write chords and melody like the pros.

 
Hooktheory logo

Book Series

There have never been music books like these

The Hooktheory Book Series is a smart, fun, skill-building journey that will concretely teach you how to craft melodies and chord progressions like professional musicians and give you a deeper understanding and intuition for how music works. Validated by 16,435 hobby musicians like you, The Hooktheory Book Series is the best selling how-to series for hobby musicians around the world for a reason.

Hooktheory Book Series parts I and II on iPad Mini

Cover of Hooktheory I and Hooktheory II

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Like a college course taught at a level a child can understand.
— SpaceCadet-528hz (iOS App Store Review)

Screenshots

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Hooktheory vs. Other Books

Hooktheory

Hookthoery music format

Music format is easy to understand and emphasizes chord and melody function.

Other Books

Treble clef and bass clef music format

If you don’t read sheet music you’re out of luck. Also, sheet music music really isn’t great for teaching how music works.

Hooktheory

Audiovisual animation playing inline in the Hooktheory Book Series

Rich learning with audiovisual animations that play inline

Other Books

No inline audio or video examples

No sound. No video.

Hooktheory

Guitarist on stage looking out at the crowd

Popular Artists

Learn the tactics used by popular artists from the past and present. Together, we’ll dissect 324 popular songs and illuminate and explain the tactics the pros use.

Other Books

Johann Sebastian Bach courtesy from Wikipedia

Bach

Song examples you probably aren’t interested in.

Hooktheory

Screenshot of Hookpad songwriting software

Accompanying songwriting software lets you practice every concept and tactic you learn immediately.

Other Books

Red circle with line through it

No other music teaching book has anything like this.

fun to read, easy to understand, and full of practical knowledge.

This exploration of melody and chord creation is fun to read, easy to understand, and full of practical knowledge. The series contains 124 interactive exercises and 324 audiovisual examples from artists like: The Beatles, Journey, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Adele, Coldplay, Billy Joel, Lady Gaga, Elton John, and Maroon 5 that make it easy to see the techniques these successful artists use.

Reading the books doesn’t require any previous music knowledge or the ability to read music. On average, the series takes about 15 hours to read (but more to fully absorb) so it isn't a huge time commitment. Dedicate only a few hours to reading these books and gain a lifetime of skills that will give your music that professional edge.

We wrote this book series because we were tired of all of the “songwriting” websites and books that talk vaguely of “finding your inspiration” rather than providing concrete tools to improve your music.

With this book series, we have created an approachable, intuitive resource that directly answers the hard questions: Why do certain chords fit together easily, and others not so easily? How can I get from this chord to that chord? How can I create a great melody? These books will make you say “ah ha!” many times over.

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Cover of Hooktheory I on iPad mini
Cover of Hooktheory I
Cover of Hooktheory II on iPad mini
Cover of Hooktheory II

Created by Chris, Ryan, and Dave

The Hooktheory founders: David Carlton, Chris Anderson, and Ryan Miyakawa

Hey there. We're Chris Anderson, Ryan Miyakawa and David Carlton - the founders of Hooktheory (left to right). We all have Ph.Ds from U.C. Berkeley. Our shared passion for music and education led to the creation of Hooktheory in 2011.

“This book was phenomenal!”


My time with Hooktheory was one of the most lucid and enjoyable educational experiences I've ever had. As an amateur piano player who has always just read and played the sheet music, the number of "aha!" moments I had while reading was enough to keep me going back to the website daily as I wait eagerly for the sequel.Justin (goodreads.com review)

“Hooktheory makes learning so much more intuitive.”


Hooktheory I is the quintessential example of technology being used in a modest and focused way to make learning so much more intuitive. The song examples perfectly illustrated the points in the text while letting me progress and repeat sections at my own pace.Justin (goodreads.com review)

“Worth every penny!”


I rarely write reviews, but I felt compelled to write this one. I have learned more from this book than any other music theory book I've read. The authors make the complex understandable. It is worth every penny I paid for it.John Conley (Google Play store review)

“Love this.”


Great for understanding music theory and love the way it shows you by playing examples, so the theory just jumps off the page and comes alive. This is the way teaching is supposed to be. Great work, worth every penny. Thank you so much.Estell South (Google Play store review)

“Outstanding!”


A great explanation of music theory, and the relationship between melody and chord progressions. Having the video/audio examples built-in makes this book really stand apart from others I have read. I wish all music books were made this way!Jeffrey Hall (iBooks review)

“Worthy of multiple re-reads.”


Hooktheory I was a great book. In less time than it takes to learn how to play an instrument I learned how music works! I have been looking for a resource that made writing music comprehensible. This is that resource. The graphs and explanations were clear and easy to follow. The various examples from popular songs helped a great deal.Jeremiah Spassion (iBooks review)

“Loved this book!”


The explanations are easy to understand and the audiovisual examples made the concepts easy to internalize.@harlandjp (iBooks review)

“Almost perfect.”


Props to the authors for a very easy to follow explanation of the basics of chord progressions. The text and graphics and audio made it very engaging.@elevensong (iBooks review)

“Best music theory book period.”


Best music theory book period. Don't look anywhere else because Hooktheory I has it all.Frank Bono (goodreads.com review)

100% satisfaction guarantee

If you are not 100% satisfied with the Hooktheory Book Series, you can reply to your email receipt to receive a full refund.

Hooktheory logo
Book Series
$34.98
Hooktheory Book Series on iPad

The essential techniques for crafting effective and compelling chord progressions and melodies like professional musicians.

Benefits of the Hooktheory Book Series:

  • Simple piano roll notation (no sheet music)
  • Every concept + technique demonstrated through a real song
  • 315 audiovisual examples
  • Reinforce learning every step of the way with 124 exercises
  • Designed to be used with Hookpad Music Making Software

In the Hooktheory Book Series, you’ll learn the following skills:

  • Composing music based around a scale.
  • Understanding the six basic chords that underlie all great chord progressions.
  • Writing chord progressions based on function (understanding which chords go together and which ones don’t)
  • Making melodies “chord aware”: learn why certain melodies sound good with a chord progression and why others don't
  • Controlling the natural tension and release in melodies over a chord progression
  • Composing chords and melody in minor (and other scales).
  • Using chord inversions (reordering chord tones) to create effective bass lines.
  • Using complex chord types (e.g. 7th chords, extended chords, suspended chords, and “add” chords) to enrich your chord progressions.
  • Using secondary chords (chords based on a different key) to create tension.
  • Combining melody and chords from multiple scales (modal mixture).
  • Utilizing songwriting techniques like energy control, deception, and harmonic scope to control the expectations of listeners.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers.

Companion Pack
Hooktheory logo
Book Series
$183.98

+

Companion
Songwriting
Software

Hooktheory Book Series on iPad with Hookpad on MacBook

The complete essential toolset for crafting effective and compelling chord progressions and melodies like professional musicians.

Includes Hookpad, the intelligent musical sketchpad and companion songwriting software to the Hooktheory Book Series designed to help you get the most out of the books.

Benefits of the Hooktheory Book Series:

  • Simple piano roll notation (sheet music knowledge not required)
  • Every concept + technique demonstrated through a real song
  • 315 audiovisual examples
  • Reinforce learning every step of the way with 124 exercises
  • Designed to be used with Hookpad Music Making Software. Hookpad lets you practice every concept and tactic you learn in the books immediately.

In the Book Series, you’ll learn the following skills:

  • Composing music based around a scale.
  • Understanding the six basic chords that underlie all great chord progressions.
  • Writing chord progressions based on function (understanding which chords go together and which ones don’t)
  • Making melodies “chord aware”: learn why certain melodies sound good with a chord progression and why others don’t
  • Controlling the natural tension and release in melodies over a chord progression
  • Composing chords and melody in minor (and other scales).
  • Using chord inversions (reordering chord tones) to create effective bass lines.
  • Using complex chord types (e.g. 7th chords, extended chords, suspended chords, and “add” chords) to enrich your chord progressions.
  • Using secondary chords (chords based on a different key) to create tension.
  • Combining melody and chords from multiple scales (modal mixture).
  • Utilizing songwriting techniques like energy control, deception, and harmonic scope to control the expectations of listeners.

Benefits of Hookpad

  • Hookpad lets you practice every concept and tactic you learn in the books immediately.
  • Professionally tuned virtual instruments let you express your music in any style you want.
  • Export to sheet music, lead sheet, or guitar tab.
  • Built-in music theory, melody guides, and intelligent chord suggestions.
  • And more!

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers.

Hooktheory logo
Book I
$14.99
Hooktheory I cover on iPad mini

The essential basic techniques for crafting effective and compelling chord progressions and melodies.

Benefits of Hooktheory I:

  • Simple piano roll notation (no sheet music)
  • Every concept + technique demonstrated through a real song
  • 88 audiovisual examples
  • Reinforce learning every step of the way with 41 exercises
  • Designed to be used with Hookpad Music Making Software

In Hooktheory I, you’ll learn the following skills:

  • Composing music based around a scale.
  • Understanding the six basic chords that underlie all great chord progressions.
  • Writing chord progressions based on function (understanding which chords go together and which ones don’t)
  • Making melodies “chord aware”: learn why certain melodies sound good with a chord progression and why others don't
  • Controlling the natural tension and release in melodies over a chord progression

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers. Also available on iOS, iBooks, Android, and Kindle.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers. Also available on iOS, iBooks, Android, and Kindle.

Hooktheory logo
Book II
$19.99
Hooktheory II cover on iPad mini

The essential intermediate and advanced techniques for crafting effective and compelling chord progressions and melodies.

Benefits of Hooktheory II:

  • Simple piano roll notation (no sheet music)
  • Every technique and concept is demonstrated through a real song
  • 228 audiovisual examples
  • Reinforce learning every step of the way with 83 exercises
  • Designed to be used with Hookpad Music Making Software

In Hooktheory II, you’ll learn the following skills [Required reading: Hooktheory I]:

  • Composing chords and melody in minor (and other scales).
  • Using chord inversions (reordering chord tones) to create effective bass lines.
  • Using complex chord types (e.g. 7th chords, extended chords, suspended chords, and “add” chords) to enrich your chord progressions.
  • Using secondary chords (chords based on a different key) to create tension.
  • Combining melody and chords from multiple scales (modal mixture).
  • Utilizing songwriting techniques like energy control, deception, and harmonic scope to control the expectations of listeners.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers. Also available on iOS, iBooks, and Android.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers. Also available on iOS, iBooks, and Android.

Hooktheory logo
Book Series
$34.98
Hooktheory Book Series on iPad

The essential techniques for crafting effective and compelling chord progressions and melodies like professional musicians.

Benefits of the Hooktheory Book Series:

  • Simple piano roll notation (no sheet music)
  • Every concept + technique demonstrated through a real song
  • 315 audiovisual examples
  • Reinforce learning every step of the way with 124 exercises
  • Designed to be used with Hookpad Music Making Software

In the Hooktheory Book Series, you’ll learn the following skills:

  • Composing music based around a scale.
  • Understanding the six basic chords that underlie all great chord progressions.
  • Writing chord progressions based on function (understanding which chords go together and which ones don’t)
  • Making melodies “chord aware”: learn why certain melodies sound good with a chord progression and why others don't
  • Controlling the natural tension and release in melodies over a chord progression
  • Composing chords and melody in minor (and other scales).
  • Using chord inversions (reordering chord tones) to create effective bass lines.
  • Using complex chord types (e.g. 7th chords, extended chords, suspended chords, and “add” chords) to enrich your chord progressions.
  • Using secondary chords (chords based on a different key) to create tension.
  • Combining melody and chords from multiple scales (modal mixture).
  • Utilizing songwriting techniques like energy control, deception, and harmonic scope to control the expectations of listeners.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers.

Companion Pack
Hooktheory logo
Book Series
$183.98

+

Companion
Songwriting
Software

Hooktheory Book Series on iPad with Hookpad on MacBook

The complete essential toolset for crafting effective and compelling chord progressions and melodies like professional musicians.

Includes Hookpad, the intelligent musical sketchpad and companion songwriting software to the Hooktheory Book Series designed to help you get the most out of the books.

Benefits of the Hooktheory Book Series:

  • Simple piano roll notation (sheet music knowledge not required)
  • Every concept + technique demonstrated through a real song
  • 315 audiovisual examples
  • Reinforce learning every step of the way with 124 exercises
  • Designed to be used with Hookpad Music Making Software. Hookpad lets you practice every concept and tactic you learn in the books immediately.

In the Book Series, you’ll learn the following skills:

  • Composing music based around a scale.
  • Understanding the six basic chords that underlie all great chord progressions.
  • Writing chord progressions based on function (understanding which chords go together and which ones don’t)
  • Making melodies “chord aware”: learn why certain melodies sound good with a chord progression and why others don’t
  • Controlling the natural tension and release in melodies over a chord progression
  • Composing chords and melody in minor (and other scales).
  • Using chord inversions (reordering chord tones) to create effective bass lines.
  • Using complex chord types (e.g. 7th chords, extended chords, suspended chords, and “add” chords) to enrich your chord progressions.
  • Using secondary chords (chords based on a different key) to create tension.
  • Combining melody and chords from multiple scales (modal mixture).
  • Utilizing songwriting techniques like energy control, deception, and harmonic scope to control the expectations of listeners.

Benefits of Hookpad

  • Hookpad lets you practice every concept and tactic you learn in the books immediately.
  • Professionally tuned virtual instruments let you express your music in any style you want.
  • Export to sheet music, lead sheet, or guitar tab.
  • Built-in music theory, melody guides, and intelligent chord suggestions.
  • And more!

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers.

Hooktheory logo
Book I
$14.99
Hooktheory I cover on iPad mini

The essential basic techniques for crafting effective and compelling chord progressions and melodies.

Benefits of Hooktheory I:

  • Simple piano roll notation (no sheet music)
  • Every concept + technique demonstrated through a real song
  • 88 audiovisual examples
  • Reinforce learning every step of the way with 41 exercises
  • Designed to be used with Hookpad Music Making Software

In Hooktheory I, you’ll learn the following skills:

  • Composing music based around a scale.
  • Understanding the six basic chords that underlie all great chord progressions.
  • Writing chord progressions based on function (understanding which chords go together and which ones don’t)
  • Making melodies “chord aware”: learn why certain melodies sound good with a chord progression and why others don't
  • Controlling the natural tension and release in melodies over a chord progression

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers. Also available on iOS, iBooks, Android, and Kindle.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers. Also available on iOS, iBooks, Android, and Kindle.

Hooktheory logo
Book II
$19.99
Hooktheory II cover on iPad mini

The essential intermediate and advanced techniques for crafting effective and compelling chord progressions and melodies.

Benefits of Hooktheory II:

  • Simple piano roll notation (no sheet music)
  • Every technique and concept is demonstrated through a real song
  • 228 audiovisual examples
  • Reinforce learning every step of the way with 83 exercises
  • Designed to be used with Hookpad Music Making Software

In Hooktheory II, you’ll learn the following skills [Required reading: Hooktheory I]:

  • Composing chords and melody in minor (and other scales).
  • Using chord inversions (reordering chord tones) to create effective bass lines.
  • Using complex chord types (e.g. 7th chords, extended chords, suspended chords, and “add” chords) to enrich your chord progressions.
  • Using secondary chords (chords based on a different key) to create tension.
  • Combining melody and chords from multiple scales (modal mixture).
  • Utilizing songwriting techniques like energy control, deception, and harmonic scope to control the expectations of listeners.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers. Also available on iOS, iBooks, and Android.

Read on hooktheory.com. Supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers. Also available on iOS, iBooks, and Android.

There’s no better way to enrich your favorite hobby.