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The Listening Book: Discovering Your Own Music Paperback – March 27, 1991


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1st edition (March 27, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877736103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877736103
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #858,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A wise and loving owner's manual for anybody who has ears. Mathieu offers a rare opportunity to re-discover a rich and often neglected channel that links our inner self with the world."—Keyboard Magazine



"A practical and in-depth guide to the vastness of the mysticism of sound. It is also beautifully written. It is poetic, humorous, loving and confrontational—it is filled with the child's curiosity and it is filled with love for life—and it is contagious."—The Sound



"In this collection of short, evocative essays, [Mathieu] offers playful and powerful suggestions for awakening to the music that is always around us and inside us. . . . His infectious passion for the melodies and rhythms of everyday life shimmers on every page."—Yoga Journal



"In this age of the couch potato, squatting bug-eyed at the boob-tube, this is a book on behalf of the unregenerate ear-minded person's protest against the eye-minded majority. . . . Mathieu offers suggestions and encouragement on many aspects of music-making, and provides playful exercises to help readers appreciate the connection between sound, music, and everyday life."—Spiritual Frontiers

"The Listening Book is a true gift for music-makers of any stripe, It offers us not only the insights of a master teacher and the instincts of a great musician, but it radiates with that wonderful quality of a man who wears his soul on his sleeve."—Paul Winter, composer and musician

"The Listening Book is a remarkable and exciting work. An obvious labor of love, every page sings of the joys of life and music. Mathieu's observations and perceptions are insightful, incisive and often startling. This is a book that could change the way we view music, and which would be of benefit to everyone from the casual listener or performer to the professional musician."—David N. Baker, Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman, Jazz Department, Indiana University School of Music

About the Author

William Allaudin Mathieu is a composer pianist whose long and varied career ranges from his early work with the Stan Kenton band and The Second City Theater, to his extensive catalogue of song cycles, works for choir, and instrumental concert music. He has recorded extensively, and is the author of The Listening Book, The Musical Life, and Harmonic Experience: Tonal Harmony from Its Natural Origin to Its Modern Expression.

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More About the Author

William Allaudin Mathieu (b. 1937) -- pianist, composer, author, and teacher -- is one of the most influential musicians of his generation.

He has composed a large variety of chamber pieces, choral works, and song cycles. His solo piano albums include Streaming Wisdom, In The Wind, Available Light, Narratives, Three Compositions for Piano, and Songs of Samsara. He has written and recorded several song cycle settings of poetry, including Say I Am You, Rumi & Strings, and The Indian Parrot. Duet, trio, and ensemble recordings include This Marriage, Game/No Game, The Bloom, and The Ghost Opera.

Mathieu's four books on music are
- Bridge of Waves: What Music Is and How Listening to It Changes the World
- The Listening Book: Discovering Your Own Music
- The Musical Life: Reflections on What It Is and How to Live It
- Harmonic Experience: Tonal Harmony from Its Natural Origins to Its Modern Expression

For 25 years, Mathieu was a disciple of North Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath. He studied with composers William Russo and Easley Blackwood, and collaborated with Nubian master musician Hamza El Din.

In the 1960s, he spent several years as an arranger and composer for Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington Orchestras, and was the musical director for the Second City Theater in Chicago (which he helped found) and for the Committee Theater in San Francisco. In the 1970s, he served on the faculties of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Mills College. In 1969 he founded the Sufi Choir, which he directed until 1982.

Mathieu now devotes himself to practice, performance, recording, composition, teaching, and writing from his home near Sebastopol, California.

Mathieu's website is ColdMountainMusic.com

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
It will make you think about sound differently.
Kind Woman
The way the book was written is lighthearted and really gentle, but the author very accurately tackles core concepts in a very hands-on approach.
Awen
Mr Mathieu shows us how to listen to everyday sounds and find the music that is there.
Bill Haas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Shane Carey on May 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
W.A. Mathieu is utterly in love with vibrating air molecules, and this thoughtful, warm, and fun collection of short essays is bound to impart some of that to you. This is not a book about composition, about developing your own personal style or anything of that sort. It is a way of focusing on and developing your relationship with your ears, with sound, with what sounds good to you in music and in nature and in all of the world, both inside and outside of your head. In playful exercises for musicians and non-musicians alike, we examine the nature of a single note played on an instrument, or sung alound, or even just a series of spoken or drawn-out syllables. There are ways to bring music into a group of people; there are ways to draw it out of inanimate objects; there are ways to find it in silence. He's not trying to convince anybody that traffic, barking dogs, and 3 AM garbage trucks are as beautiful as a Bach piece; some things will sound better to you than others. But practice makes perfect: if you practice hearing, you will hear more, and you will hear better, and you will find more things that sound good, and you will get a richer enjoyment of them. This is "Discovering Your Own Music."
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bill Haas on December 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have a degree in music composition plus some graduate hours. Out of all the books I've read on music both in and out of music school, this one out shines them all. Mr Mathieu shows us how to listen to everyday sounds and find the music that is there. He helps us open our ears with simple excersises that are fun and flexible. Its not theory. Its not rules. Mr Mathieu gives us the gift of his own experiences in beautifuly written prose. His serves as a guide that leads us to our own experiences; discovering our own unique music. No one ever taught me how to listen before. Thank you Mr Mathieu.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence A. Schenbeck VINE VOICE on November 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have shared this book with friends, students, colleagues, and total strangers over the years. Everyone can find him- or herself in its pages. Mathieu, a fine composer and teacher, wants to help us all tap into music in a more rewarding and spiritually nourishing way. He accomplishes this with little stories about how to listen, how to practice, and how to tune your mind so that it will be ready for the sounds you haven't heard yet. You may not know it yet, but you need this book -- just buy, then read. Then listen.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rick Cyge on August 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This inspirational book shares a unique and exciting perspective on the process of music making and the beauty of discovering rhythm and melody in our natural envireonment. If you can get your hands on it, his self-narrated cassette audio book version of this title is even better. He is an enthralling storyteller! Get a few copies - give one to a friend!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shazam on May 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
I stumbled on this book was intrigued enough to add it to an order of CDs I was buying. I couldn't put it down once I opened it. I even took a "sick day" from work just so I could be alone in the house to do many of the exercises without interruption. Ahh yes, the exercises - those alone make this book worth its weight in diamonds. Music that has been as familiar to me as my own face is suddenly new and alive. Music that I was never interested in or "got" was now open to me. Anything and everything that makes sound can be interesting now that I've learned to quiet my mind and listen...really listen. This book has become as important to my life as the best albums in my music collection.

Everyone can benefit from what is in this book. Master musicians, casual music fans, teenagers with iPods, grandparents with diminished hearing, even audiophiles can learn to open their ears and open their minds to the world of music around them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Awen on September 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Buy this book. When it is delivered to you, savour each small chapter with curiosity, patience, diligence and a beginner's mind. When you're ready, take it to the piano with you. Sit with Dr. Overtone by your side, or right before you on the sheet music stand, and let him open door after door and guide you to the mysteries of sound and silence. Suddenly, you'll realise the piano is not merely what you have been expecting it to be. Within a few moments, you'll realise music is not what you thought it was. And eventually, you'll learn more about yourself, your community and the meaning of life than you thought your ears could teach you. Music, and music practice, then, will become a spiritual experience.

The way the book was written is lighthearted and really gentle, but the author very accurately tackles core concepts in a very hands-on approach. Expect to spend much more time making sounds than reading, to change a handful of concepts no matter how advanced you think you are in music, and to even perhaps change the way you teach your pupils. One of these gifts to Humankind a genious offers once in a very good while, this book is the philosopher's stone for everybody invested in making sound gold, from the pitch-challenged, wannabe singer to the super-concertist disheartened with their career. Even for those covered-ears souls who think they have not the gift for music. In essence, pretty much the next small step for a global cultural revolution. Do not just buy it, advertise it.
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