By Hal Leonard Corp., Adam Perlmutter

In music stores, libraries, and online, you find literally thousands of music reference books, sometimes called supplementals, about the piano. Books exist on everything from the history of keyboards to building your own piano (good luck!).

Don’t be fooled: Reference books don’t teach you how to play. They should be used in addition to, not instead of, a method book or teacher. Use reference books to help you further understand a concept introduced by your method book or teacher. For example, when you first start to play chords, you may want to buy a chord dictionary.

You can find reference books on music theory, harmony, chords, scales, songwriting, the lives of the great composers, musical terms, orchestration, grooves, styles, and much more. Here are some excellent choices for starting a library:

  • 1000 Keyboard Ideas, edited by Ronald Herder (Ekay Music, Inc.)

  • The Art of the Piano, by David Dubal (Amadeus Press)

  • The A to Z of Foreign Musical Terms, by Christine Ammer (E.C.S. Publishing)

  • Blues Riffs for Piano, Ed Baker (Cherry Lane Music)

  • Chord Voicing Handbook, by Matt Harris and Jeff Jarvis (Kendor Music, Inc.)

  • Color Your Chords, by David Pearl (Cherry Lane Music)

  • Complete Book of Modulations for the Pianist, by Gail Smith (Mel Bay)

  • Five Centuries of Keyboard Music, by John Gillespie (Dover)

  • The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present, Harold C. Schonberg (Simon & Schuster)

  • Guide to the Pianist’s Repertoire, by Maurice Hinson (Indiana University Press)

  • Keyboard Chords & Scales Book (FastTrack Series), by Blake Neely and Gary Meisner (Hal Leonard)

  • Pocket Music Dictionary (Hal Leonard)