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Classical Music For Dummies Paperback – 21 Aug 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Paperback, 21 Aug 1997
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; Pap/Com edition (21 Aug. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764550098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764550096
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 1.9 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 333,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"This book is the perfect way to go from dummy to expert in classical music!" André Watts, Pianist

"Classical Music For Dummies should be the first book for anyone ages 5–105. Anyone from layperson to first–year conservatory music student should crack open this wonderfully diverse and enriching look into the world of classical music. I wish this book had been part of my beginning curriculum." Tiny Kniffen, Principal Tubist, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

" Classical Music For Dummies engages the reader with its flawless pacing, humor, and wit. It is a ′classic′ in its own right" Barry Bowlus, classical music enthusiast

From the Back Cover

Features tips on how to start a classical music collection

Discover how much fun classical music can be!

Are you baffled by Bach? Bewildered by Beethoven? Befuddled by Brahms? Relax! This friendly, funny, easy–to–understand guide gives you the score on composers, instruments, orchestras, concerts, recordings, and more and shows you just how enjoyable and rewarding classical music can be.

More than 60 minutes of music, including excerpts from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and more from recordings by Ian Hobson, pianist and conductor, Sinfonia da Camera and Sinfonia Varsovia

Plus MP3 versions of the excerpts you can play on your PC, Mac, or portable player

Discover how to:

  • Distinguish the different styles of classical music
  • Attend a live concert in style
  • Know the instruments in an orchestra
  • Understand rhythm, intervals, and other fundamentals
  • Build a fabulous classical music library

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I got this book a few years ago, as I knew that I liked some kinds of classical music, but otherwise I didn't have the faintest idea! It helped me understand which musical styles/composers I liked the most (thanks to the CD included), and motivated me to explore classical music further. It is written in an amusing and accessible manner that is perfect for absolute beginners. I do not complain about the lack of depth, as it is meant to be an introductory book. Very enjoyable!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even if you know something about classical music (eg the difference between classical and baroque), this book can be incredibly helpful. The CD contains some very good examples of genres, and the highly detailed exposition in the book of what's going on with each piece (including in some cases a second-by-second explanation) helps understand how a particular effect is achieved, or what was aimed at - it's almost like someone sitting down with the score and talking you through it.
Stylistically, the chummy, slightly 'wacky' tone can be offputting in the earlier chapters, but it's obvious that the authors really do know (and love) their stuff. If you can get past that, the historical, explanatory, and musical sections really are worthwhile.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Published in 1997, with a few updates since which include a new cover photo and a website launch (dummies.com) this 358 page book follows the many other titles in the `For Dummies' range in that it makes learning an entertaining experience.

Classical music can be a turn off for many, with confusing terms, strange descriptions and an often reluctance to make itself accessible to the casual visitor to its world, so a book like this is a welcome one to break down those barriers which prevent an understanding of it.

The underlying tactic of authors David Pogue and Scott Speck is to lighten up the subject with funny quips and interesting facts which continually embellish the factual information. For me, this approach makes for easy reading which informs without becoming a lecturing textbook. Some may find the many comical references to frequent, but on the whole they are genuinely funny, and there are after all many, many other books on the subject which are devoid of humour.

The book's 17 chapters include titles such as, `What Is Classical Music', `The Entire History of Music in 80 pages', `How to Spot a Sonata' (an explanation of terms like symphony, concerto and sonata), A Field Guide to the Orchestra (explaining the instruments), `The dreaded Music Theory Chapter' (music theory in easy terms) and `Starting a Classical Music Collection' (how and where best to buy the recordings).

The only slight disappointment, partly forgivable maybe because the authors are American, is the lack of even a mention of two of England's finest composers Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams, but it's no reason not to enjoy this highly entertaining, well written book (and it does come with a free CD too).
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By lucas TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to educate yourself on classical music and are serious about it then stay well away from this book.

To begin with the book has , as far as I know, the worse history of music ever written. Pogue's and Speck's views on history of music are arrogant, mean spirited, prejudiced, misleading and extremely dumbed down.

I always liked classical music but, in the last years, I decided to educate myself on classical music and started to read about it, to compare and select performances etc. I ordered this book after a quick "look inside". It was a mistake. I traded the book for £1.10 on Amazon UK, more than this book is worth

The first thing I check when I read about history of music is what the author has to say about Wagner. It always give me a good idea of how good the book is.

The authors say that Wagner was an "arrogant, dishonest, jealous, hypocritical, racist, sexist scumbag". ( page 56 ). I was shocked by the mediocrity, cowardice and hypocrisy of Pogue and Speck.

They even write a justification for having Wagner in the book as they obviously considered not even including Wagner in the 80 pages of the book dedicated to history of music.
This is what they wrote: " We included Wagner in this particular opus, however, for three reasons".

I would like to see Pogue and Specks calling sexist or racist some extremely popular Reggae and Hip Hop singers . Say, after listening to songs preaching the killing of homosexuals or calling women "bitches". To call a woman a "bitch" is worse
than anything that Wagner ever said about women but Pogue and Speck would never dare to criticise in public hip hop singers as they criticised Wagner. It is a sign of their cowardice, their mediocrity.
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4 Comments 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on 4 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was my first introduction to classical music. Although it doesn't assume any prior knowledge it still gives plenty of technical details. I'm inspired to continue discovering more about the classical music world.
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By A Customer on 29 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
Brought this to help me understand classical music better. Well laid out, and easy to read. The CD that comes with it is good to.
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