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Nature of Music: Beauty, Sound and Healing Paperback – November 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A pianist offers a classical music lesson with New Age overtones in this look at the healing power of music. The first half of the book contains a concise explanation of how to listen to music and defines musical terms like pitch and dissonance. But when Draper sounds off on music's power to "balance the emotions, restore equilibrium and positively affect our well being" (she recommends an "emotional shower of music"), some readers may want to tune out. In her attempt to maintain a breezy tone, Draper is a bit too fast and loose with the science behind her assertions. She makes unsupported statements like "numerous studies have shown that... we learn better when thinking is linked to feeling" and tells the unsubstantiated story of a teacher who recovered her eyesight through daily doses of Debussy. Still, Draper's love for music is contagious. She provides a useful set of listening exercises, or music breaks, at the end of each chapter, as well as an extensive "listening bibliography" for enhancing every aspect of life, from work to sex. Asterisks throughout the text mark pieces that are on the book's companion CDs, available separately from Spring Hill Music. (Feb. 1) Forecast: Don Campbell popularized the idea that music has discernible, positive effects on learning and development in The Mozart Effect (1998), a sleeper that has attracted legions of fans. Though Campbell's blurb on this book has a generic ring, it should help guide his readers to Draper's effort to extend his ideas on the benefits of music into the realm of emotional health.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Music both expresses moods and emotions and evokes them from listeners. The right music at the right time can change one's emotional state from, say, depression to elation, from sadness to joy. Employing her own life experiences and those of others with whom she works as a music teacher, pianist, and presenter of music therapy techniques, Draper describes how music relates to nature, the psyche, and the expression of mood. Citing numerous musical examples, many of which are on two CDs that may be separately ordered, she discusses musical form, tonality, and harmony, and shows how they were used by composers of the last three centuries. She then considers how to listen to music and to let it change one's mood, and suggests various listening exercises to facilitate the experiences she discusses. Easy to read, the book thus neatly introduces the ways in which music is constructed and how music can help restore order and happiness in one's life. Recommended especially for those who want to cope better with frenetic present-day society. Alan Hirsch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reissue edition (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573228982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573228985
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,445,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Aglika Angelova on July 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Maureen Draper`s book is a jewel! In today`s time of high technology and speed, she slowed me down, called the voice of my heart and reminded me to listen to my body and to my soul. She did it all with classical music - speaking of it with great simplicity, and although i am a professional classical musician, i felt like i was entering an unknown field and wanted to know EVERYTHING about it! On the two cd`s that she recommends buying together with the book, she has chosen less known pieces, which allowed me to discover my own feelings and sense of the music, undisturbed by the familiarity of more famous pieces. She guided me through the many different landscapes of music and patiently showed me, with great knowledge and passion and tenderness, all their beauty, encouraging me, at last, to be alone in them, to observe and to fully sink in the emotions they elicited in me.
This book is an unusual, unique look into the depths of music and it makes a wonderful gift. Thank you, Maureen!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Judith A. Staples on February 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Music can expand us beyond the limits of who we think we are, and this book will do just that. It explores and offers answers to such questions as: Why music affects us as it does and Why great music can tell the larger stories of our lives. Now I understand why healing music may be stimulating and cathartic as well as meditative and transcendent. And why, as the most direct path to the emotions, music helps us listen to our secret selves. The book gives us a language for talking about these things. Plus it has lists of specific music by category: sensual music, music for studying and centering, meditative music, and music for each of the four elements.
There is even a chapter on making your own music, from using your voice to express and release strong feeling to creating black note bliss on the piano, even if you've never been taught.
This is a humanistic approach for musicians and non-musicians alike.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Maureen McCarthy Draper's book is an invitation to return to the joy of listening to music in a way to set moods, to mark days of the week or to simply relax and be transported by musical experiences. This invitation includes examples via the carefully selected selections of music on the accompanying CD's which depict each of the examples of how music can soothe the soul within, or elevate the awareness of beauty in a way that no other medium can. This book reminds those of us that love music of its importance, but invites us to consider it at another level of perception and gives us the suggested methods to add to our perception.
It also makes a lovely gift to anyone who loves, and loves to share the joy of music....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By George Goldberg on June 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is possible to make a mistake or two in what is otherwise a good book. But the mistakes in this book are so egregious, and so numerous, that they negate any possible value the book could have. Here are three examples taken at random:

p.2: "A seventeenth century Spanish king had to hear a celebrated tenor, Farinelli, sing every day before he considered himself fit to meet his court." There was once a famous singer called Farinelli, real name Carlo Broschi; and he did sing for a Spanish king, Philip V; there was even a movie made about Farinelli in 1994. But he was not a tenor, he was a castrato; and he did not live in the seventeenth century but in the eighteenth (1705-1782).

p. 22: "Suites of dance music were all the rage during Bach's time, and his suites and partitas brought together dances from all over Europe. In the eighteenth century, Mozart and Haydn were still using dance forms . . . " Still? When does the author think Bach lived? Actually, 1685-1750: that is, Bach was fifteen years old when the eighteenth century began - and he was no child prodigy so composed everything we listen to today during the eighteenth century. Nor did Haydn and Mozart live in a different century from Bach: Haydn was eighteen years old when Bach died, Mozart was born six years later. The author really has her centuries mixed up. Moreover, unlike his exact contemporary Handel, Bach rarely left home and never traveled far; how would he be familiar with dances "from all over Europe"? Did he find them on YouTube?

p. 181: "In the Islamic tradition it is said that when the gods wish something to come into being, they plant the seed in one of us." Gods in Islam? Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam is a monotheistic religion.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Margret Elson on June 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Maureen Draper's book is a graceful challenge to enlarge our conversation with ourselves (to paraphrase one of her lovely phrases) by expanding our relationship with music. Her comforting tone lures us into exploring the facets that make us most human by describing their musical counterparts. This book puts thoughts together in such a musical way and has so many little surprises that even a professional musician like myself finds it of great interest. Her rich literary, psychological and medical references balance what is otherwise a very practical book on how to incorporate music into the fabric of our lives. Indeed, the author even tackles the essential question of why it is so important to do so. And she does so easily, traversing the track between presenting information and speaking from the heart. I especially appreciated her subtle nuances, like making distinctions between the phases of "grief," and the kinds of music that may be appropriate to each. This short book - like a Brahms Intermezzo - covers an enormous amount of territory.
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