Books that helped you make better music


Anyone got any books they can recommend? Looking to educate myself further so I can practice smarter rather than just through trial and error. I am happy with music I’m making now but i’m looking to improve my mixes, learn the fundamentals of mastering, and just get generally a deeper understanding of sound. I’m currently beginning to read sound on sounds synth secrets to get a better grip on synthesis so I thought I should really try to delve deeper into other areas too. Oh and I’m sure it would be useful if anyone can recommend any good books on acoustics, I’d like to really understand the how and why behind effectively treating a room.

I’m aware how huge these subjects are by the way, this is long term reading material. I just want to turn some of this time I’m spending reading forums into something more productive. Thanks in advance

First one for 2018 (techno/tech house)

Though the 10,000 hours thing has been “debunked”… I really enjoyed “This is Your Brain on Music.” It’s a bit pedestrian, and I read it while traveling. It certainly made me want to get home and get on my instrument. Check out the description, and see if it’s appealing to you.

Ableton seems to have sponsored one recently called “Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers.” I really like it for its suggestions and starting points. I still like to crack it open to create challenges for myself - starting with little concepts and building around that.


Technique Books:

Mastering Audio by Bob Katz
Designing Sound by Andy Farnell
The Digital Musician by Andrew Hugill

Other inspiring books

How Music Works by David Byrne
More Brilliant Than The Sun by Kodwo Eshun


i have read all of those and i absolutely agree with your references


That one is good too regarding Mixing & Mastering :

For Sound Synthesis :

For How to make Electronic Music very good too and focus on the whole process :


Oh yes! I second How Music Works. Love his take on music created due to the environments available.


Mike Senior’s Mix secrets.

And Gordon Reid’s Synth Secrets, if it is considered as a book, which I would.


But i think i learnt a lot from a lot of Video tutorials from Ask Video, Groove 3, ADSR and apps like Syntorial etc… Plenty way of learning this century that’s the beauty of it. (i also don’t recommend un-certified tutorials as you can learn mistake from mistakes, as nowadays all people to seem to be damn auto-proclammed certified trainers …)


Two of my favourites:


Studio work …

Bobby Owsinski (interesting concept: part of a book is practical advice, other part interviews with professionals)

  • The Recording Engineer’s Handbook
  • The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook (a different angle compared to the excellent “Mixing Secrets”)
  • The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook

Music …

  • Josh Bess, Electronic Dance Music Grooves
  • David Sonnenschein, Sound Design (well, subtitle is … “The expressive power of music, voice, and sound effects in cinema”)

BTW … interesting that we seem to read the same stuff :wink:


I think this thread 've just to be bookmarked and will be recommended in the futur to people there :wink:


This one is hands-on and a great reference:

Another I’ve recenty finished that I enjoyed. Much more theoretical but is great for a perspective on the history of electronic music (we’re not talking EDM here…) and the state of the art in synthesis. Avoid if you don’t like reading academic stuff.


Umm, it’s 2017, I forgot what a book is… :thinking: They still have those? :joy:
I did stumble upon this podcast just maybe two weeks ago, and the guy seems to have some good stuff to say. It’s not bad to get recording tips while cleaning your room or something…



The Geometry of Musical Rhythm: What Makes a “Good” Rhythm Good? by Godfried T. Toussaint

The Cambridge Companion to the Guitar

Guitar Cultures by Andy Bennett

The Gay Science (the Joyful Wisdom) by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


That’ll be due to Amazons targeted advertising :stuck_out_tongue:


I really rate the Ableton-affiliated book, even though it has nothing to do with Live. Maybe check out the ebook version as that’s pretty cheap - although the hard copy is quite beautiful and handy to flick through.

I bought it with the intention of reading it cover to cover but find I tend to dip into it, pick up some ideas of novel ways of generating music and go and experiment with them straight away.

One of the biggest things it gave me, psychologically, was the idea that there isn’t a ‘right way’ to be creating music - that I could set myself arbitrary constraints that might actually set me free musically (eg. a time limit, an abnormal tempo, or only 8 bars to play with). Equally I feel it’s taught me to listen to music in different ways which then have an impact on the music I make.

Definitely recommended (and I’m in no way affiliated!).


Thanks for the suggestions everyone, much appreciated


not really for production or anything technical but definitely helped with my state of mind and approach


I second the Mike Senior book. Not quite about making music but more about what’s next once you have made it. Very practical as compared to some others in that category such as Bob Katz and the Mixing with Your Mind book by Stavrou.


Good stuff guys