AP Books

Best AP Music Theory Books for 2020 (Buyer’s Guide)

Before our reviews, here is AP Music Theory exam information, date and time:

The AP Music theory exam is 2 hours and 40 minutes long. It is divided into two sections: multiple-choice questions and free-response questions.

Section 1: There are 71 multiple-choice questions. You have 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete this section.

This section will account for 45% of your exam score.

Section 2: There are seven written questions and two sight-singing questions in the free-response section. You have 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete this section.

This section will account for 55% of your exam score.

Section 2 has two parts:

Written section includes the following.

  • 4 questions on dictation. 
  • 2 question on part writing.
  • 1 question on the composition of a bass line.

Sight singing section includes the following:

  • Sing and record two diatonic melodies.
  • You have 75 seconds to examine and practice each melody. And total 30 seconds to perform it.

Check out the following table to find out the best music theory book and then read our reviews.

​Book Image

​Book Name


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Barrons AP Music Theory


AP Music Theory Book Review


Barrons AP Music Theory

Nancy Scoggin is the author of Barron’s AP Music Theory.

A CD included with this best AP music theory book offers aural skill development for practice tests and the material.

This in-depth theory of AP music study guide features:

  • Two full-length practice tests with aural and monaural sections included.
  • All questions are answered and explained.
  • Test-taking strategies will help you succeed.
  • The book has an in-depth review of chapters covering music fundamentals, organization, progression, music dictation and much more.


  • Best approach and most-comprehensive book.
  • Excellent information.
  • Worth the money.
  • Great book help you to study for AP music theory exam.


  • Presentation of the book is not good, but the content is great.
  • CD that comes with the book does not work well.

Julie Johnson's Guide to AP Music Theory follows the requirements of College Board advanced placement.

After seeing and reading the review of the Julie Johnson’s guides, I am sure that this one is the best AP music theory prep book.

Even more, the book includes a CD for easy preparation for the AP music theory exam. Drills, multiple-choice questions, and analysis of the book review give you helpful tips for AP exam preparation.

Check out our review of the book:

  • Drill, analysis and multiple-choice questions.
  • Clear and easy-to-understand explanation of the theory elements.
  • Ear training.
  • Sight singing with each lesson.


  • Great encyclopedia of music.
  • Best teaching resource.
  • Best book for teachers and students.
  • Sensible and easy to understand.


  • You need additional Barron’s guide to solve the test questions.

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Buying Tips:

We hope you liked our reviews of the best AP music theory books.

If you are still confused about which book is best for you, check out our experts’ recommendation.

If you want the book with a complete CD explanation and want to score 5 in your AP exam, Barron’s AP Music Theory – 2019 Review is the best one for you.

If you want to study quickly or just want to refer to the concepts, Julie Johnson’s Guide – Best AP Music Theory Book is the short-term AP exam prep book you should consider.

Now you can choose the one that will the best AP test preparation book for you.

Have a happy reading time!

1 Comment

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