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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music History (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) Paperback – July 1, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Miller is the author of several books, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Singing, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Composition. He has been using Cubase for a number of years. He used Cubase SX to record the audio CD included with the second edition of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums.
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Product Details

  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: ALPHA (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592577512
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592577514
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Fred Wilson on March 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have taken courses in music history and have many books on the subject, from the most revered to some written for a general audience. None has so clearly defined the periods of music history and the key people in those periods as well as this book. While I will keep the others in my music library, this book will be on my desk.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
[[ASIN:1592577512 The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music History (Complete Idiot's Guide to...
An excellent book and fascinating. Clearly defines the different ages of classic music such as The Romantic period, The Baroque period, Classic period etc.
Taught me a lot about music history and made me want to learn even more.
When people start talking about music, the reader will have a good knowledge to contribute to the conversation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Love this book. I teach music history at the high school level. This is the textbook I use. My students love it too!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
His writing style is superb. I have played music for 50 years plus and I never could quite "put it all together". A must read for anyone that wants to connect the dots and enjoy a great read. The only phrase I can think of is "engaging and airy", meaning each topic has enough space around it to let it sink in!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Given that it is a practically impossible task to write a book encompassing all of music history and please everyone and include material that everyone would deem essential, this book is fantastic. I actually used colored crayons to highlight it because the paper is 'newspapery', and it was fun to make it all colorful, and I added some notes to certain sections to include information to make the history more complete for me, such as the evolution of the drumset.

If there is one regard that the book is most lacking, it would be the evolution of certain instruments, such as the guitar, the pipe organ, the violin, the piano, the trumpet, the flute, and the drumset. A couple minor personal gripes are that he leaves out mention of John Dowland (very important renaissance composer), there is only a brief mention of Mancini who is also really important, he doesn't mention the use of vibrato in music (very important but never rarely ever mentioned point, especially how opera singers are screwing up the music BIG TIME!!!), and equal temperament vs. just intonation, but those are mere trifles. I think most people will really like the book and enjoy the author's sense of humor, and I really like the timelines at the end of chapters which places the music in the context of historical events--very nice touch!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Purchased this to distract myself from the intensity of ongoing medical studies and am very pleased. I haven't perused (critically read) it, but it sits on my desk as something to flip to when I'm bored, and it's written very well. Would recommend purchasing this if you simply just want to make yourself a bit more well-rounded. I cannot vouch for this book from the standpoint of a musician or one who is sitting a university subject in it. I just bought it for leisure.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this for my teen son who is homeschooled. He is taking piano lessons and I wanted a history book to give him some general information about the various genres and how they developed. So far we've both enjoyed going through this book - it includes short bios of different composers and what pieces they are most famous for. At the end of each chapter is a "listening list" that typically has lots of suggested compositions from the period in question. You can go to YouTube and search for each one, we have yet to run into a piece that wasn't available. The Listening Lists really transform this book into a living historical journey that can spark conversations about music of the past.

The best thing about this book is that it doesn't focus just on Classical music or just on modern popular music, it covers everything from Ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian music to Rap and modern World Music. Most of the books I found before this one were only focused on one major type of music (classical, pop/rock). I appreciate that this book is much more inclusive and discusses how one style led to another.
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Format: Paperback
What a great book - easy and fun to read - hard to put down! This book could also be titled "How We Got From There To Here", as Michael Miller really puts things in order and shows how musical genres and styles evolved and transitioned one to another. He uses very little opinion and relies on non-disputable historical events to frame musical catalysts and prove the evolution of each musical genre. This book is good for anyone, musician or not, individual or class, and really gives you an appreciation for music through the teaching of its history.
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