World Book Day: ACM’s Top 10 Music Books

04 Mar 2021

This post was written more than two years ago. The content or information below may no longer be accurate.

To mark World Book Day this year, our Library Team caught up with ACM Tutors Tom Harrison, Patrick Rakcow and Jose Manuel Cubides Gutierrez to get their top 10 music book recommendations. We encourage students and the wider community to get reading!

1. Writing Better Lyrics – Pat Pattison (Songwriting)

Writing Better Lyrics has been a staple for songwriters for nearly two decades. Now this revised and updated 2nd Edition provides effective tools for everything from generating ideas, to understanding the form and function of a song, to fine-tuning lyrics.


2. Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting – Ralph Murphy (Songwriting)

Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting “The Book” arms the songwriter for success by demystifying the process and opening the door to serious professional songwriting.


3. How to Become a Film Composer – Tom Harrison (Film Composition)

Tom Harrison’s book How to Become a Film Composer gives up-and-coming composers the inspiration, information and the tools necessary to succeed in today’s music for media industry. 


4. The Study of Orchestration – Samuel Adler (Music Orchestration)

The Study of Orchestration has set the standard for orchestration texts, providing the most comprehensive treatment of both orchestration and instrumentation.


5. Behind Bars – Elaine Gould (Music Notation)

Behind Bars is the indispensable reference book for composers, arrangers, teachers and students of composition, editors, and music processors.


6. Music: The Business by Ann Harrison (Music Business)

the clearest and most straightforward guide to the music business in the UK!

ACM Tutor, Patrick Rakcow

7. The Producer’s Manual – Paul White and David Felton (Music Production and Recording)

Featuring 350+ full-colour pages packed with pro techniques, practical photos, detailed illustrations and hands-on walkthroughs, The Producer’s Manual brings together everything you need to take a mix from initial recording to final master.


8. The Art of Record Production – Simon Frith and Simon Zagorski-Thomas (Music Production and Recording)

This book is designed as a general introductory reader, a text book for undergraduate degree courses studying the creative processes involved in the production of recorded music.


9. Pop Music: Technology and Creativity – Timothy Warner (Music Production and Recording)

This highly original and accessible book draws on the author‘s personal experience as a musician, producer and teacher of popular music to discuss the ways in which audio technology and musical creativity in pop music are inextricably bound together. 


10. Musicology of Record Production –  Simon Zagorski-Thomas (Music Production and Recording)

Recorded music is as different to live music as film is to theatre. In this book, Simon Zagorski-Thomas employs current theories from psychology and sociology to examine how recorded music is made and how we listen to it.


About ACM Library

With World Book Day in mind, ACM Library is also operating drop-in sessions for students and staff alike. If you have any queries on accessing and using available resources, referencing, or anything else research-based, pop along!

Drop-in sessions will run:

  • Mondays 1.15 – 2 pm
  • Tuesdays 3 – 4 pm

Students are welcome to join by using this Zoom link!


In other news, ACM Library has extended their trial of Alexander Street Music and Dance – the largest, most diverse and comprehensive online music catalogue in the world! With over 10m audio recordings and 2.5k hours of video, it is definitely worth a look!

Digital Open Days

If you dream of achieving success in the creative industries, join us for our new Digital Open Day Experience. With Open Days over the coming weeks, we can’t wait to welcome you into the ACM community.

ACM Digital Open Day Experience