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Listening to Classic American Popular Songs

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300083385
ISBN-10: 0300083386
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Allen Forte, Battell Professor of the Theory of Music at Yale University, has written extensively about twentieth-century classical and popular music. Richard Lalli and Gary Chapman have performed recitals of classic American popular songs at such venues as Lincoln Center in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and Wigmore Hall in London.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300083386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300083385
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,450,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This truly remarkable book is unique in several important ways. In the first instance it deals with the music and lyrics of these extraordinary songs in ways that reflect the author's extensive experience as a musician and as a writer on musical subjects, drawing upon his eclectic background to present fresh ideas that illuminate and inform. In the words of Henry Martin, jazz authority and expert on popular music of the golden era: "In this highly accessible book, Allen Forte delights us with unique, thought-provoking insights into some of the great songs from the '20s, '30s, and '40s."
The book comes fully equipped to provide the reader with everything needed to acquire a very close familiarity with the major attributes of this beautiful repertoire of popular song, including simple musical notation or "lead sheets" of all the songs (a basic knowledge of music notation is needed, and Chapter 1 fills that gap, if required), perceptive discussions of lyrics as they relate to the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of the songs, and, as a special and unique innovation, a compact disc that provides the reader with easy access to the music. Moreover, background material places each song in its historical-social context. Implicitly, for each song, the author answers the question: "Why has this song withstood the test of time to become a classic?"
The writing style is informal, bright, and often humorous, without in any way "writing down" to the audience. It is a pleasure to read. The text and the accompanying compact disc, which includes recordings especially made for this volume, are beautifully matched. And the performances by baritone Richard Lalli and pianist Gary Chapman are superb.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Forte succeeds in the difficult task of marrying in this book the two adjectives of the title of this review. You feel the love for the subject and the thought given to it. Maybe one can disagree on the choice of the songs analyzed but, of course, that can only be a matter of taste, though I have the impression the choice was dictated sometime by the innovations brought from the song to the idiom rather than by its intrinsic aestetic value (I'm referring to songs like How Little We Know or Something to Live For: very interesting ones, but hardly classic like other ones which didn't make it in the book). But this is a minor and subjective complaint to a great work which must be read both from music lovers and would-be songwriters.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
not a good kindle book because musical staff doesn't fit with kindle editions very well. real small - can't magnify.
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By Joel on February 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
it was okay. I would have liked the cd that was supposed to come with it. it didn't have one.
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