Classical Music For Dummies Paperback – 21 Aug 1997
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"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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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).
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Book very informative and witty, as opposed to another letter i think the jokes and witty comments keep it light and interesting, after all most of us who get it are learners... Read morePublished 21 months ago by P. Dawson
A great starting point for anyone wanting an insight into classical music. Even gives advice on where to sit at a concert and info about the make-up of orchestras. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Graham Hendry
I really enjoyed reading this, and listening to the accompanying CD. Mozart's Piano concerto No 22 has become a favourite! Read morePublished on 4 Dec. 2012 by Charles Vivian
In short Classical Music For Dummies is perfect for anyone with limited knowledge of Classical Music and wants to learn more about this artform. Read morePublished on 20 April 2012 by Brawny Withed
I bought this book many years ago in Borders, vastly discounted, and it sat on my shelf for a long time. Read morePublished on 30 Nov. 2010 by Sheba
Very good but loses a star for silly jokes which are unecessary and really annoying. Should be edited and republished without the jokes. CD is lovelyPublished on 14 Aug. 2007 by maestro