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Norton Anthology of Western Music: Volume 2: Classic to Twentieth Century 5th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393925623
ISBN-10: 0393925625
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Editorial Reviews

Review

First rate….I am frankly in awe of the achievement. -- Ed Nowacki, University of Cincinnati

This truly significant updating…will be welcomed enthusiastically by teachers and students alike. -- Andrew Dell'Antonio, University of Texas, Austin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

J. Peter Burkholder is Distinguished Professor of Musicology at Indiana University. He has written and edited four books on Charles Ives, as well as numerous articles on topics spanning from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of Musicology, Musical Quarterly, 19th-Century Music, Music Theory Spectrum, and other journals. He has served as President, Vice President, and Director-at-Large of the American Musicological Society and on the board of the College Music Society. His writings have received awards from the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, and ASCAP.

Claude V. Palisca, late professor of music at Yale University, began his collaboration on A History of Western Music with the Third Edition. Among his many publications are a history of Baroque music and a collection of scholarly essays on Italian Renaissance music.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1448 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 5th edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393925625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393925623
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Before I say anything else, you should know that the everyday price for this 6th edition hardcover book is much less at your local bookstore (not at liberty to state where). Why on earth does Amazon charge so much!?
I was delighted to hear that Palisca had released yet another edition of this fine reference on the history of Western art music. I present pre-concert lectures & talks for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia Festival and other local orchestras and I find this reference to be a good starting point for refreshing my knowledge of the historical context behind a piece of music I've been asked to talk about. The writing gets clearer and easier to read with every new edition. I found the 6th edition a very easy read, engrossing and wonderfully thorough given the scope of what it sets out to achieve.
Since I want this reference to assist me with historical context, I found that it does a terrific job up to the late 19th century, and is somewhat lacking from then on. The reference treats the late 19th and 20th century on a composer-by-composer basis and doesn't link the overall trends very well. For instance I couldn't find much on why Shostakovich and Prokovief composed as they did, whereas composers of the 18th and 19th centuries are placed in larger trends and movements rather easily. I understand that it takes time and dedicated scholars to reveal the many layers that make up an era and its art, so I am forgiving if still a little frustrated.
I was impressed that Palisca set out to have each and every section & composer reviewed by scholars in their respective fields of expertise.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I remember the First edition of Grout's "A History of Western Music"--it was the main text in use when I was a first year undergraduate student. In fact it was one of the standard texts in use at a large number of colleges. The good news is that I was pleased to see the excellent changes. I didn't have to look far to find my first (1 st) edition Grout ( I've used it still until I purchased this new 6th edition several weeks ago)--there are 101 more pages of text. In reality there is much more to look at as the 1st edition book was only 6 x 9 inches. The new 6th Edition is larger: 7 1/4 by 10 1/2 inches. In addition, there is a highly attractive layout; the best feature? A wonderful highlighted-in-blue area (appearing every 40 pages or so) in which the composers themselves speak about a wonderful range of topics such as Francois Couperin 'On the Union of the Italian and French Styles' or, the great J.S. Bach's description of one the church service's he organized (known as an 'Order of Service') taken from a collection of his memoirs.
Lastly, I enjoyed seeing the addition of an overall "Time-Line of Events" which prefaces each unit. This includes not only items from music, but any historical event which remotely affected change in music or musical thought.
My singluar critical note is perhaps something which the authors had little time to devote to. The 6th edition ends with composers who, in this reviewer's opinion, were certainly not 'mainstream'--like John Cage (1912-1992) (who's infamous "4'33" is actually a period of four minutes and thirythree seconds in which the 'performer' remains totally silent). Cage was popular in the late 70s more for his extremism than anything else.
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Format: Hardcover
Contrary to the views of the reviewer from San Francisco, the newly-revised fifth edition is much improved over the third and fourth editions. While I will agree that some book companies promote "newness" as a novlety, I don't agree that such is the case with this book. New discoveries are made about the history of music, especially early music, every year. If books such as this one weren't revised on a regular basis, the text wouldn't necessarily be accurate. Imagine writing a research paper on space travel using a set of enclopedias from 1962; it just won't work. This is by far the best book in its field. For some readers, it may be too concise, as I've heard many complaints that it's dry, boring reading. Well, it's a history textbook, not a Danielle Steele novel, so what would you expect?
1 Comment 33 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
"A History of Western Music" is a standard reference text for the academic study of "classical" art music from antiquity to the present (i.e. 1960). As an example of this book's scholarly authority, the 5th edition is commonly the sole information source for many Master's of Music history qualifying exams. Author and Cornell professor emeritus Donald Grout writes with a straightforward style and elucidates his prose with many colorful pictures and musical examples. All those looking for a thorough, single volume survey of Western art music should make this book the first addition to their library.
Comment 18 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
This book is Donald J. Grout's masterpiece. Scholarly, detailed, and carefully considered, it includes analyses of pieces from every period in the history of western music. Grout interweaves the development of harmony, rhythm, and usage with the evolution of various instruments and vocal trends, and presents all in the context of social and political history.
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