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The New Harvard Dictionary of Music (Harvard University Press Reference Library) Hardcover – October, 1986

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Surely this indispensable tool needs no introduction; the first two editions, edited by William Apel, have served the music world only too well. The present volume, prepared by 70 noted scholars under Randel's capable editorship, contains mostly new entries; the scope has been greatly expanded to include better coverage of recent music. A work for musicians, students, musicologists, and music lovers that belongs in most collections. J. Richard Belanger, United States International Univ., San Diego, Cal.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Surely this indispensable tool needs no introduction; the first two editions, edited by William Apel, have served the music world only too well. The present volume, prepared by 70 noted scholars under Randel's capable editorship, contains mostly new entries; the scope has been greatly expanded to include better coverage of recent music. A work for musicians, students, musicologists, and music lovers that belongs in most collections. -- J. Richard Belanger "Library Journal"
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Product Details

  • Series: Harvard University Press Reference Library
  • Hardcover: 968 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press; Subsequent edition (October 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674615255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674615250
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.5 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

942 pages jam-packed with information about music. If you are skittish about this rewrite of Willi Apel's classic dictionary, don't be. Yes, it does have a host of non-European entries, politically correct in this age of diversity. No, it does not overwhelm (nor does it inconvenience you in reaching) the European material you need to get your hands on quickly. Recently amazon.com raised its price for this book by a couple of dollars. Believe me, it's still an incredible bargain. Even if it weren't on sale at all, it would still be a book that any serious music student would want to own and consult frequently. I've owned the new Groves Dictionary ever since it came out, and guess what: some entries that do not appear in Groves do appear in the New Harvard Dictionary!
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The two reviews already submitted of this dictionary range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Unfortunately the poor review also contributed a rating of one star, which is averaged with the good review to yield an overall rating of 3 stars. The effect of this is to perhaps cause a modern shopper to purchase the older edition of this work edited by Willi Apel, instead of this more up-to-date volume.
It seems that the negative reviewer is reacting to the presence in this dictionary of new entries such as "Bluegrass Music" or "Rock 'n' Roll," as if the inclusion of such entries automatically removes other entries relative to 'classical polyphony'--evidently a topic close to his heart. Polyphony is covered in the Randell edition by it's own entry and through numerous other articles such as "Counterpoint," "Palestrina style," and others. Just as a modern dictionary of English must cover the language as it is really spoken, including slang and profanity, a modern music dictionary must also cover music as it really is. A good dictionary cannot assume the ascendency of one particular type of music or musical point of view, and ignore all other trends and developments. The expanded treatment of "Blues," for example, is especially welcome. No service would be done for modern readers if common musical terms were ignored by the editors.
Both editions of this dictionary are fine references. The Apel edition served the prior generation of readers very well. The new edition by Randell builds on the strengths of its forerunner and adds much new information. At the same time, the new edition does not ignore the categories covered by the earlier edition.
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This is absolutely the finest music dictionary that I have used. It is concise in its definitions, and very useful with the information presented. Whenever I need to look just what exactly "Die Zauberflote" is, I often find myself reading on and on and on for pleasure. This is absolutely the only dictionary that I've ever found myself captivated by. I definitely recommend this fine musical reference.
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By A Customer on December 21, 2000
This is a great reference book. This is just as good as any of them. It happens to be just a little less expensive than the Oxford Edition and you still get the same results. The explanations are very easy to understand and the dictionary explains in detail whatever it is you want to be informed about. A great buy that will last forever.
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I got this book as a present from my flute teacher, and was a bit skeptical of what i could get from a music dictionary, but now i understand. I love this dictionary, sometimes i just pull it out of my shelf and open it to a rondom page to see what new music terms i can learn. i reccomend it to all musicans and even to some non-musicans who are interested in music.
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I recieved this book as a christmas present from a family member. Upon looking through it I found just how helpful it really is. I plan on getting a career in music education, and although I have been studying music for about 6 years, there is material in the book that I did not know. It is excellent if you need more information, or just want to know more about music and music theory. I have not looked at the older version, but am sure that it is possibly just as informative as this one is. However, I strongly feel this is a good peice of work, and very educative for people like myself who just want to know more.
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Verified Purchase
Great book, I used it to write several of my Music History papers. Extremely helpful, easy to reference, good index.
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I was part of team of RFB&D volunteers who recorded the book in 2008. We would rate it highly for anyone interested in increasing his or her knowledge of music and musical terms. It is well indexed and includes generous foreign language and ethnic references. It is fascinating to trace origins of and changes in musical instruments as well as fads throughout music history. Useful for the student as well as the professional musician. After the recording was complete, I bought a copy for my own bookshelf.
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