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Bach, Beethoven and the Boys - Tenth Anniversary Edition!: Music History As It Ought To Be Taught Paperback – September 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Sound And Vision; 10 Anv edition (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0920151108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0920151105
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Facts and trivia abound in this gentle expose of music history. From Bach's laundry lists to Handel's unexpected success in Italy, this provides a lively, involving format which treats musicians as human beings and which reads almost like an action novel in exploring their lives and approaches to music and its marketing. -- Midwest Book Review

About the Author

David Barber is a journalist, author, composer and performer who lives and works in Toronto.

Dave Donald works as an art director for a Toronto-based national magazine.

Customer Reviews

Whether you are a trained musician, or just a music lover, I recommend this book.
William K. Ahrens
Barber also seemed to be trying a little bit too hard to be humourous, and his frequent banteresque footnotes were distracting and for the most part unncesessary.
H. M. Tiddlywinks
The book also had a great sense of humor, and was easy to understand but also not overly simple.
Gary King

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
David W. Barber is to music history what Victor Borge is to classical piano; both invigorate their subject with fresh humor and insight. This book is a wonderfully funny look at classical music, and it is all true! Read this book and you will know that classical music is not the stuffed shirt that many believe it to be. Barber's history is especially humorous for musicians and the musically savvy. One gets the impression that Barber has waded through many scholarly works to pull out these gems of information. It is easy to distinguish between the information and the embellishments, making this a perfect companion to any hard working music student. The illustrations by Dave Donald compliment the text perfectly and are also good likenesses of the composers. The text begins with a painless history of Gregorian Chant and proceedes through 20th Century music, discussing all of the big composers and the major movements in music history. I wholeheartedly recommend this! book to the musically educated and those who want to be.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
A relatively concise history of Western music with quite a lot of comic flair. One also learns about aspects of Western culture one may have forgotten: such as, that musicians were commonly supported in Europe by their patrons who were wealthy dukes or had other hereditary claims. Also I learned that Handel visited Italy spent the latter part of his life in London and grew quite wealthy; that Bach was happily married but never wealthy, and that he lived in many different German cities; that Mozart was not rich at all;that Haydn visited London; that Tchaikovsky was prone to nervous ailments. In the course of reading this book I borrowed the following CD's which assisted me in my understanding, as well as being enjoyable listening: Schumann's "Songs For Children"; Tchaikowsky's "Symphony #6 (Pathetique)", several Beethoven piano sonatas including the Appassionata and Pathetique, Handel's "Water Music"; Mozart's opera overtures, Haydn's "Surprise" and "Military" symphonies.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gary King on October 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
I received this book from my violin teacher when I was about 8 years old or so, and when I read this book it really helped me to quickly understand the lives behind the music I was playing. The book also had a great sense of humor, and was easy to understand but also not overly simple.

It's a great way to have fun and learn about the great classical musicians, and also for a musician like myself to learn early on about the composers who wrote the music that I now play.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Kidwell on May 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Bach, Beethoven and the Boys" is a quick and fun read, particularly for someone who already knows a thing or two about music history. Author David W. Barber's attempt to show some of the great classical composers as regular guys is refreshing. Unfortunately, his impartiality falters from time to time, such as in the sections on Wagner, opera, and twentieth century music. There are also a couple of factual errors and occasional passing references to a composers without further explanation (such as Mahler), and Barber's penchant for putting most of his funny lines in footnotes becomes annoying after a while.

This is not a book for introducing children or students to music history. It would be most enjoyable for someone who is already somewhat knowledgeable about music history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 16, 1997
Format: Paperback
I read this book when I was in high school and used it on a few papers. I plan to buy it, either here or elsewhere. If you are a teacher, I recommend this book as it presents a different view of these mythical heroes and shows them as heroes. It also teaches what most historians won't touch in their books and is an easy read for every student. If you are just interested in musical history, I recommend this book as general reading as it is humourous as well as informative.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1997
Format: Paperback
David W. Barber is an excellent writer and writes about music history in a way that makes it highly enjoyable. It consoles the mind to know that even though they wrote incredible music, all of the famous composers were most definitely human. Bach, Beethoven, and the Boys is a fabulous book and I would recommend it to anyone who has any interest in music
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
A relatively concise history of Western music with quite a lot of comic flair. One also learns about aspects of Western culture one may have forgotten: such as, that musicians were commonly supported in Europe by their patrons who were wealthy dukes or had other hereditary claims. Also I learned that Handel visited Italy spent the latter part of his life in London and grew quite wealthy; that Bach was happily married but never wealthy, and that he lived in many different German cities; that Mozart was not rich at all;that Haydn visited London; that Tchaikovsky was prone to nervous ailments. In the course of reading this book I borrowed the following CD's which assisted me in my understanding, as well as being enjoyable listening: Schumann's "Songs For Children"; Tchaikowsky's "Symphony #6 (Pathetique)", several Beethoven piano sonatas including the Appassionata and Pathetique, Handel's "Water Music"; Mozart's opera overtures, Haydn's "Surprise" and "Military" symphonies.
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