Music Appreciation
The Vintage Guide to Classical Music: An Indispensable Guide for Understanding and Enjoying Classical Music
The Vintage Guide to Classical Music
An Indispensable Guide for Understanding and Enjoying Classical Music
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0679728058

The most readable and comprehensive guide to enjoying over five hundred years of classical music -- from Gregorian chants, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Johannes Brahms, Igor Stravinsky, John Cage, and beyond.

The Vintage Guide to Classical Music is a lively -- and opinionated -- musical history and an insider's key to the personalities, epochs, and genres of the Western classical tradition. Among its features:
-- chronologically arranged essays on nearly 100 composers, from Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377) to Aaron Copland (1900-1990), that combine biography with detailed analyses of the major works while assessing their role in the social, cultural, and political climate of their times;
-- informative sidebars that clarify broader topics such as melody, polyphony, atonality, and the impact of the early-music movement;
-- a glossary of musical terms, from a cappella to woodwinds;
-- a step-by-step guide to building a great classical music library.

Written with wit and a clarity that both musical experts and beginners can appreciate, The Vintage Guide to Classical Music is an invaluable source-book for music lovers everywhere.
How Music Works
How Music Works
Paperback      ISBN: 0804188939
*Updated with a new chapter on digital curation*

How Music Works is David Byrne's incisive and enthusiastic look at the musical art form, from its very inceptions to the influences that shape it, whether acoustical, economic, social or technological. Utilizing his incomparable career and inspired collaborations with Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and many others, Byrne taps deeply into his lifetime of knowledge to explore the panoptic elements of music, how it shapes the human experience, and reveals the impetus behind how we create, consume, distribute, and enjoy the songs, symphonies, and rhythms that provide the backbeat of life. Byrne's magnum opus uncovers ever-new and thrilling realizations about the redemptive liberation that music brings us all.


How Music Can Make You Better
How Music Can Make You Better
Hardcover      ISBN: 1452171920
This brilliant little book is clear, lucid, and easy to read. It is packed with fascinating information that I didn't know... I shall give it to lots of friends. --Jonathan Lynn, comedy legend

A fascinating field guide from neuroscientist and opera singer Indre Viskontas that investigates what music is and how it can change us for the better--from deep in our neurons to across our entire society. Learn how certain songs carry us through a tough workout, comfort us after a breakup, or unite 50,000 diverse fans. A vibrant and smart gift for any audiophile--hip-hop fans, classically trained pianists, or vinyl collectors--readers will think about their favorite songs in a whole new way by the end of this book.

- Find out how your mind transforms sounds into human experiences
- Discover how music connects us, heals us, and changes us for the better
- Learn from renowned musicians, neuroscientists, and authors

Indre Viskontas, combining her deep knowledge of neuroscience and music, has lifted the veil on the mysterious effects of music to move us, showing us not only how the human brain creates the magical patterns of music but also why music has the power to affect us like no other form of communication. An extremely important and inspiring book. --Robert Greene, best-selling author of The 48 Laws of Power

Readers of How Poetry Can Change Your Heartor The Psychology of Music will love this book

- Music lovers and audiophiles
- Musicians
- Anyone interested in neuroscience
What to Listen for in Music
What to Listen for in Music
Paperback      ISBN: 0451531760

Whether they listen to Mozart or Duke Ellington, Aaron Copland invites readers to ask two basic questions: Are they hearing everything that is going on? Are they really being sensitive to it? With his provocative suggestions, Aaron Copland guides readers through a deeper appreciation of the most rewarding of all art forms.

Guitar Zero: The Science of Becoming Musical at Any Age
Guitar Zero
The Science of Becoming Musical at Any Age
Paperback      ISBN: 0143122789

Just about every human being knows how to listen to music, but what does it take to make music? Is musicality something we are born with? Or a skill that anyone can develop at any time? If you don't start piano at the age of six, is there any hope? Is skill learning best left to children or can anyone reinvent him-or herself at any time?

For anyone who has ever set out to play a musical instrument--or wished that they could--Guitar Zero is an inspiring and fascinating look at the pursuit of music, the mechanics of the mind, and the surprising rewards that come from following one's dreams. Gary Marcus, whom Steven Pinker describes as "one of the deepest thinkers in cognitive science," debunks the popular theory that there is an innate musical instinct while challenging the idea that talent is only a myth. From deliberate and efficient practicing techniques to finding the right music teacher, Marcus translates his own experience--as well as reflections from world-renowned musicians--into practical advice for anyone hoping to become musical or learn any new skill.
The Indispensable Composers: A Personal Guide
The Indispensable Composers
A Personal Guide
Hardcover      ISBN: 1594205930
An exploration into the question of greatness from the Chief Classical Music Critic of the New York Times

When he began to listen to the great works of classical music as a child, Anthony Tommasini had many questions. Why did a particular piece move him? How did the music work? Over time, he realized that his passion for this music was not enough. He needed to understand it. Take Bach, for starters. Who was he? How does one account for his music and its unshakeable hold on us today?

As a critic, Tommasini has devoted particular attention to living composers and overlooked repertory. But, like all classical music lovers, the canon has remained central for him. In 2011, in his role as the Chief Classical Music Critic for the New York Times, he wrote a popular series in which he somewhat cheekily set out to determine the all-time top ten composers. Inviting input from readers, Tommasini wrestled with questions of greatness. Readers joined the exercise in droves. Some railed against classical music's obsession with greatness but then raged when Mahler was left off the final list. This intellectual game reminded them why they loved music in the first place.

Now in THE INDISPENSABLE COMPOSERS, Tommasini offers his own personal guide to the canon--and what greatness really means in classical music. What does it mean to be canonical now? Who gets to say? And do we have enough perspective on the 20th century to even begin assessing it? To make his case, Tommasini draws on elements of biography, the anxiety of influence, the composer's relationships with colleagues, and shifting attitudes toward a composer's work over time. Because he has spent his life contemplating these titans, Tommasini shares impressions from performances he has heard or given or moments when his own biography proves revealing.

As he argues for his particular pantheon of indispensable composers, Anthony Tommasini provides a masterclass in what to listen for and how to understand what music does to us.
1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die: A Listener's Life List
1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die
A Listener's Life List
Paperback      ISBN: 076113963x

The musical adventure of a lifetime. The most exciting book on music in years. A book of treasure, a book of discovery, a book to open your ears to new worlds of pleasure. Doing for music what Patricia Schultz--author of the phenomenal 1,000 Places to See Before You Die--does for travel, Tom Moon recommends 1,000 recordings guaranteed to give listeners the joy, the mystery, the revelation, the sheer fun of great music.

This is a book both broad and deep, drawing from the diverse worlds of classical, jazz, rock, pop, blues, country, folk, musicals, hip-hop, world, opera, soundtracks, and more. It's arranged alphabetically by artist to create the kind of unexpected juxtapositions that break down genre bias and broaden listeners' horizons-- it makes every listener a seeker, actively pursuing new artists and new sounds, and reconfirming the greatness of the classics. Flanking J. S. Bach and his six entries, for example, are the little-known R&B singer Baby Huey and the '80s Rastafarian hard-core punk band Bad Brains. Farther down the list: The Band, Samuel Barber, Cecelia Bartoli, Count Basie, and Afropop star Waldemer Bastos.

Each entry is passionately written, with expert listening notes, fascinating anecdotes, and the occasional perfect quote--"Your collection could be filled with nothing but music from Ray Charles," said Tom Waits, "and you'd have a completely balanced diet." Every entry identifies key tracks, additional works by the artist, and where to go next. And in the back, indexes and playlists for different moods and occasions.
Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning
Guitar Zero
The New Musician and the Science of Learning
Hardcover      ISBN: 1594203172

On the eve of his 40th birthday, Gary Marcus, a renowned scientist with no discernible musical talent, learns to play the guitar and investigates how anyone of any age can become musical. Do you have to be born musical to become musical? Do you have to start at the age of six?
Using the tools of his day job as a cognitive psychologist, Gary Marcus becomes his own guinea pig as he takes up the guitar. In a powerful and incisive look at how both children and adults become musical, Guitar Zero traces Marcus s journey, what he learned, and how anyone else can learn, too. A groundbreaking peek into the origins of music in the human brain, this musical journey is also an empowering tale of the mind s enduring plasticity.
Marcus investigates the most effective ways to train body and brain to learn to play an instrument, in a quest that takes him from Suzuki classes to guitar gods. From deliberate and efficient practicing techniques to finding the right music teacher, Marcus translates his own experience as well as reflections from world-renowned musicians into practical advice for anyone hoping to become musical, or to learn a new skill.
Guitar Zero debunks the popular theory of an innate musical instinct while simultaneously challenging the idea that talent is only a myth. While standing the science of music on its head, Marcus brings new insight into humankind s most basic question: what counts as a life well lived? Does one have to become the next Jimi Hendrix to make a passionate pursuit worthwhile, or can the journey itself bring the brain lasting satisfaction?
For all those who have ever set out to play an instrument or wish that they could Guitar Zero is an inspiring and fascinating look at the pursuit of music, the mechanics of the mind, and the surprising rewards that come from following one s dreams.

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Your Song Changed My Life: From Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, Thirty-five Beloved Artists on Their Journey and the Music That Inspired It
Your Song Changed My Life
From Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, Thirty-five Beloved Artists on Their Journey and the Music That Inspired It
Hardcover      ISBN: 0062344447

"Bob Boilen's book gets at something real and rare about the power of music."--New York Times Book Review

From the beloved host and creator of NPR's All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts comes an essential oral history of modern music, told in the voices of iconic and up-and-coming musicians, including Dave Grohl, Jimmy Page, Michael Stipe, Carrie Brownstein, Smokey Robinson, and Jeff Tweedy, among others--published in association with NPR Music.

Is there a unforgettable song that changed your life?

NPR's renowned music authority Bob Boilen posed this question to some of today's best-loved musical legends and rising stars. In Your Song Changed My Life, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), St. Vincent, Jonsi (Sigur Ros), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Cat Power, David Byrne (Talking Heads), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Jenny Lewis, Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia, Sleater-Kinney), Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Colin Meloy (The Decemberists), Trey Anastasio (Phish), Jackson Browne, Valerie June, Philip Glass, James Blake, and other artists reflect on pivotal moments that inspired their work.

For Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, it was discovering his sister's 45 of The Byrds' "Turn, Turn, Turn." A young St. Vincent's life changed the day a box of CDs literally fell off a delivery truck in front of her house. Cat Stevens was transformed when he heard John Lennon cover "Twist and Shout." These are the momentous yet unmarked events that have shaped these and many other musical talents, and ultimately the sound of modern music.

A diverse collection of personal experiences, both ordinary and extraordinary, Your Song Changed My Life illustrates the ways in which music is revived, restored, and revolutionized. It is also a testament to the power of music in our lives, and an inspiration for future artists and music lovers.

Amazing contributors include: Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney, Portlandia, Wild Flag), Smokey Robinson, David Byrne (Talking Heads), St. Vincent, Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), James Blake, Colin Meloy (The Decemberists), Trey Anastasio (Phish), Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Sturgill Simpson, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Cat Power, Jackson Browne, Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Philip Glass, Jonsi (Sigur Ros), Hozier, Regina Carter, Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes, and others), Courtney Barnett, Chris Thile (Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers), Leon Bridges, Sharon Van Etten, and many more.

Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your Favorite Music Scenes--From Punk to Indie and Everything in Between
Wish You Were Here
An Essential Guide to Your Favorite Music Scenes--From Punk to Indie and Everything in Between
Paperback      ISBN: 006157371x

A snarky, fact-filled look at the people and places that made the indie/punk scene what it is today

The American underground music scene is exploding everywhere--not just in New York City and L.A. (although we've got those cities covered too ):

In Washington, D.C. . . . Ian MacKaye and Fugazi inspired the straightedge culture, which had kids everywhere drawing black X's on their hands in magic marker.

In Omaha, Nebraska . . . A young Conor Oberst, aka Bright Eyes, started writing and performing gut-wrenching love songs at the tender age of thirteen.

On Long Island, New York . . . Taking Back Sunday and Brand New battled for emo supremacy and the fragile hearts of a million teenage girls.

From the coauthor of the cult-worthy Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture comes Wish You Were Here--a combination travel guide and tortured history covering everything from what constitutes proper rock critic etiquette in Minneapolis to why pop-punk bands in Chicago have so much suburban angst, to how freegans in the Bay Area can feed themselves on a budget that would make frugal Rachael Ray's face blush.