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How to Listen to Great Music: A Guide to Its History, Culture, and Heart (The Great Courses) Paperback – April 26, 2011


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How to Listen to Great Music: A Guide to Its History, Culture, and Heart (The Great Courses) + The Vintage Guide to Classical Music + The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music
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Product Details

  • Series: The Great Courses
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 1 edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452297087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452297081
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Greenberg is the music historian in residence with San Francisco Performances, and also serves as the resident composer and music historian to NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. He lives in San Francisco, California. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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The book is packed with fascinating information, is beautifully organized and presented with humor.
Carol
I've bought Goulding's "Classical music, the 50 greatest composers and their 1,000 greatest works" and Libbey's "The NPR guide to building a classical CD collection".
Lhermitte
If you have any interest in learning about the history and composition of classical music, I highly recommend this book.
robbo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Carol on June 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Treat yourself to this book! I've listened to some of Professor Greenberg's audio courses from The Teaching Company and found them to be absolutely wonderful. I worried about whether his material could be presented as well in written format. It can! The book is packed with fascinating information, is beautifully organized and presented with humor. It's extremely "accessible" and a great read. I'll be referencing it often.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lhermitte on October 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've bought Goulding's "Classical music, the 50 greatest composers and their 1,000 greatest works" and Libbey's "The NPR guide to building a classical CD collection". I must say they're two great books, but if I had to choose THE classical book for starters I would highly recommend the Greenberg's "How to listen to great music".

It takes you by the hand accross the different eras, analyzing every period, explaining every detail, and decomposing every piece even using musical notation.

It's just a pleasure to read this book, it even turns you into a happy mood.

Obviously, you need to listen to the music he's explaining, and you may either look it up on youtube, or buy/download a CD.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lin on June 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a terrific read, absorbing,fast-paced,full of information and humor. No matter how much or how little musical knowledge the reader already has, this book is a fun guide to a deeper enjoyment of concert music. By knowing something of the historical and societal milieu surrounding a piece,one can appreciate its relevance not only when it was first written, but also in our own lives today. I will be re-reading my copy many times.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Beginner Guitarist on June 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is my first review of a product on Amazon and was motivated to write it after reading the book. Robert Greenberg is a fantastic author and teacher. I highly recommend his lectures from The Teaching Company. He combines his vast knowledge of music and history of music with a great sense of humor.
In this book you will find a fascinating account of history of western music. To me the description of musical terms and relating it to music I have heard was very helpful.

A must for every hobbyist musician who does not intend to go college for a music degree. For others, a fascinating read!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Book Him Danno on September 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
If you enjoy music you will enjoy this book. It is a series of lectures on music and how it is made. I have a few musicians in the family and the knowledge they have far exceeds mine, but with this book I can sort of hold my own in a musical conversation.

Great information for anyone interested in music. It took me a long time to read being a lecture series and not a mystery, but it was worth the time. The authors approach is multi-faceted in the fact that he talks about the history, the structure of music and some of the instruments. Also some interesting stories are thrown in along the way.

This author knows his stuff and that enthusiasm comes out in this writing. My musical knowledge was small, but this book has really opened my eyes to what is out there. I had no idea what many of the pieces he mentioned were so I Googled a few and was fascinated. I think the CD is the way to go, the book can get a bit dry at times. But, I enjoyed this book and think I have a much better grasp on music than I ever did before.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Edwin Keck on October 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
How to listen to Great Music by Professor Robert Greenberg (1954)

I just read through this book and this book is a course unto itself with all the musical terminologies it gives.
From giving deffinition of different music terminology to explaining the different genres and the periods from which they came this book covers everything of interest to the music listener.
This book is a course in music history and evolution.
Among the great composers that this book goes into are;
Jean-Baptiste Lully, Louis X1V's composer,
George Frideric Handel's Overture to Messiah 1741,
Johann Sebastian Bach 1686-1750,
Antonio Vivaldi 1678-1841,
Jacopo Peri 1561-1633,
Claudio Monteverdi 1567-1643,
Joseph Haydn 1732-1809,
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791,
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827,
Peter Tchaikovsky 1840-1893,
Hohannes Brahms 1833-1897,
Franz Schubert 1797-1828,
Richard Strauss 1864-1949,
Frederoc Chopin 1810-1849,
Franz Liszt 1811-1886,
Hector Berlioz 1803-1869,
Giuseppe Verdi 1813-1901,
Carl Maria von Weber 1786-1826,
Richard Wagner 1813-1883,
Arthur Schopenhauer 1788-1860,
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka 1804-1857,
Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov 1844-1908,
Alexander Borodin 1833-1877,
Gustav Mahler 1860-1911,
Achille-Claude Debussy 1862-1918,
Igor Stravinsky 1882-1971,
Arnold Schoenberg 1874-1951.
This book describes how music is a product of its times and influence. A great read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By robbo on March 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Recently bought Greenberg's TLC 30 Greatest Orchestral Works course which we are going through now. Bought this book to suppliment the course. Actually would recommend reading this excellent book prior to taking a Greenberg course. Greenberg is knowledgeable, entertaining and witty. If you have any interest in learning about the history and composition of classical music, I highly recommend this book.
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