Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop Now Shop now

Customer Reviews

19
4.2 out of 5 stars
Music: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£6.39+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2011
The content of this book is generally good - the approach is interesting and thought-provoking. There is one serious error: the author asserts that tablature can only be used to represent chords, not melody; it doesn't significantly change the line of his argument but does dent his credibility (if he's wrong about this, what else is he wrong about?).

The Kindle edition is a cheap & cheerful conversion: there are links from the contents page to the start of each chapter, but not from the index - which would be very handy & limits the future value of the book if you want to go back to find something half remembered.

The biggest inconvenience is that illustrations referenced in the text don't have links to jump to & from them. Not a major issue as the illustrations referred to appear within a few pages, but a missed opportunity in terms of electronic publishing & frustrating at the time. The illustrations are not particularly clear on a Kindle, but none are so essential that this becomes a problem.

If you are trying to decide whether to get the hard copy or Kindle edition, then I'd lean to the hard copy. But the Kindle edition isn't so bad that you'll regret it if Kindle is your preferred format for other reasons.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
This little book makes you think from page 1. It is brilliantly written and full of controversial ideas about music and musicians. Don't be put off by its small size, as it is packed with interesting suggestions and ideas. It should make you think about the meaning, importance and future of music.
A must.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2006
This book starts well, with a lively journey around musical styles, including a brief visit to the promised Chinese zither music. Cook correctly embraces far more than Western art music in his analysis.

However, it drops into a rather protracted midsection on composition- and reception-based models ... "we need both" ... you don't say! And then you're soon into an extraordinary chapter on Music and Gender, or more specifically, the sex act. So Beethoven's masculine style is aggressive thrusting, and Schubert's more feminine offering is gay. This is exactly the kind of highfalutin agenda-laden balderdash which fixes a great divide between the intelligentsia and ordinary folk, both middle and working class. Not ideal for A Very Short Introduction!

I would also question his summarising point that music is "not a phenomenon of the natural world but a human construction". Your average songbird may question this, not to mention any human who happens him/herself to be a phenomenon of the natural world. Hmm. Have another think for the second edition.

I hoped for something on melody, harmony, rhythm, around the world. And there was some, but other things predominated. An interesting book, but ultimately frustrating.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2013
I found this book to have been written efficiently, in a very readable manner that meant I read it in a matter of hours. It was easy to understand and presented a vast number of different opinions and views on Music's role in society, as well as it's relevance to the politics of language, gender and identity. Be warned as this is not an introduction to musical theory, analysis or even musical history, focusing primarily on the work of Beethoven and Schubert, but rather a comprehensive introduction to the relevance of music in society and the role it plays in our world. As a music student, I found it extremely useful :)
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
As with all the Very Short Introduction series this book is not intended as a 'dummies guide'. Instead they are meant to offer a "stimulating and accessible way in to a new subject". It is by this that one should judge the success of this book.

For most of us, music is not a new subject. In fact every person has been influenced and affected by the phenomenon be it consciously, subconsciously or simultaneously both. Whether we know it or not we all assign values and feelings to the variety of genres on offer and, fueled by globalisation and technological advance, today's postmodern and pluralistic society offers an abundance of music.

Apparently (according to the product description) this book "invites us to really think about music and the values and qualities we ascribe to it" - and for sure, this is how the book commences in the first chapter. It's an exciting and promising introduction.

Unfortunately as the book progresses in the second chapter, "Back to Beethoven", the book begins to become intensely heavy. Whilst the subject matter is understandable to the layman the explanation is at times extremely burdensome and did not offer a "stimulating" introduction to me. Whether or not you find the subject of ethnomusicology / musicology and/or the nuances of notation interesting, the area of the field did not warrant such an in depth breakdown. Indeed, the excitement of the wealth of opportune areas of attack for the author fades gradually throughout the book as the subject matter remains stubbornly attached to 18th Century classical music and notation/performance. Valid in its own right, it wasn't "drawing on a wealth of accessible examples".

Nevertheless, amongst the detail there are some fascinating concepts that are touched upon. Particularly: the crumbling barriers of the conservative music approach, musical pluralism and the effect of the capitalist/consumerist model on the music industry. Specifically the comparison of the three staged process of proudction/dsitribution/consumption (capitalism) to the composition/performance/appraisal in music is profoundly enlightening.

Ultimately I was relieved to reach the conclusion, which was the most lucidly put section.

[A note on the kindle edition is that the pictures often don't correspond correctly with the text and often pop up a few pages after the discussion - this is a problem with a lot of kindle publications, and often makes me wonder why i don't just pay a pound or so extra to have the neat little book on the bookshelf]
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2001
One of the most enjoyable books I've read on any topic recently. A splendidly unaffected treatment of the development of music and music theory, with a sustained and powerful but non-aggressive critique of many traditional approaches to the teaching and interpretation of music in the west.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2010
The style of writing and the language used are extremely distracting and make it very difficult to read. I found myself re-reading paragraphs and even whole chapters to try and discover what the author is trying to say. I cannot even describe it as pretentious drivel; I really have no idea! It is certainly not easy reading, nor is it a reference book. As a book linked to an Open University course it has little to offer and I would not recommend it.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2013
It is essential reading for my daughter's university course. It has been - and still is - very well used.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 4 January 2015
What a great read this is. Arrived in great condition, dispatched soon after purchase for good price- can't grumble. Book reads very well and Cook introduces some interesting questions- perfect for professional musicians and novices alike.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2001
Music - A Very Short Introduction by Nicholas Cook is an extremely interesting and thought provoking publication that all musicians and especially music educators should add to their reading lists. This book is about what music means, and is about thinking about music. It is also a book that questions all the social and institutional structures that condition our thinking about music.
It is no longer true that 'those who can do, and those who can't teach.' This is why as long as there is someone to state 'white' there will always be someone there to state 'black'. This is only human nature. Mr. Cook's points and reasoning were so near to the edge of the extremes that this book is bound to provoke thoughts and reactions to its contents. This book was written to encourage the reader to think about music and what music means to them. Mr. Cook, in writing this book, has attempted to break down the assumptions and misconceptions that are related to music. The main message of this book appears to be that we have inherited a way of thinking about music that won't do justice to the great diversity available in today's Musical World and Mr. Cook has successfully gone some way to trying to dispel these suppositions and misconceptions.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
A History of Western Music
A History of Western Music by J. Peter Burkholder (Paperback - 28 Feb. 2014)
£34.71


An Introduction to Music Studies
An Introduction to Music Studies by J. P. E. Harper-Scott (Paperback - 12 Jan. 2009)
£18.99
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.