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The Oxford companion to music Unknown Binding – January 1, 1972


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Tenth Edition edition (1972)
  • ASIN: B004TLU2JU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Kaplan on June 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Scholes has produced a 1-volume encyclopedia of music that is not only comprehensive and informative but (unlike many music dictionaries and encyclopedias) fun to read. He does not shy away from opinion and his personal quirks are part of the charm. Tidbits such as the (speculative?) etymology of "basset horn" are found here and practically nowehere else. Oriented mostly to classical or "serious" music, although pop music and jazz are not ignored. While a bit dated given its 1938 copyright, updates in 1955 and 1970 have allowed good coverage of such important 20th-century figures as Bartok and Hindemith.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The extraordinary thing about this book is that its first edition was the work almost entirely of one man, Dr Percy A Scholes. He had a certain amount of clerical and secretarial help from his wife and others, but this is no kind of boiled-down version of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians. To produce a one-volume compendium of music called for a single individual with a compendious enough knowledge of the matter, and Scholes was such an individual. I cannot suppose that the legendary lexicon of classical Greek was to any comparable extent the work solely of Mr Liddell and Mr Scott, who presumably had an army of hoplites, helots and slaves to do their donkey-work. Yet music is a far bigger topic than classical Greek, or indeed than any language that I know or even can imagine.
It's in the nature of the case that any work of this type is partly out of date before it has got past the printers. A modest list of new entries is given at the start, and obviously some articles have been updated. Equally obviously, some others have not. At the time of the first edition in 1938 it was certainly true to say, as is said here, that knowledge of Handel was not advancing and possibly even declining. The revival of interest in his work was under way, but only just, at the time of Scholes's death 20 years later, but by the time of the tenth edition the transformation in that situation was well advanced, and one might have expected a drastic rewrite of that particular article. In other cases unexpected developments in our musical culture have caught the editors unawares. There has been, for instance, a remarkable increase in the recording of out of the way composers.
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