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The Classical Music Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

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This original, graphic-led book explores and explains the key ideas underpinning the world's greatest classical compositions and musical traditions, defines their importance to the musical canon, and places them into their wider social, cultural, and historical context. The nineteenth title in DK's bestselling Big Ideas series, The Classical Music Book combines accessible, This original, graphic-led book explores and explains the key ideas underpinning the world's greatest classical compositions and musical traditions, defines their importance to the musical canon, and places them into their wider social, cultural, and historical context. The nineteenth title in DK's bestselling Big Ideas series, The Classical Music Book combines accessible, authoritative text with bold explanatory graphics to make the subject of classical music approachable to readers with an interest in the subject who want to learn more while still offering enough to appeal to music aficionados. From early devotional works to the great symphonies of the Classical and Romantic eras and the diverse and often challenging works of the modern era, The Classical Music Book looks at more than 90 key pieces of music and explores the salient themes and ideas behind each of them.


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This original, graphic-led book explores and explains the key ideas underpinning the world's greatest classical compositions and musical traditions, defines their importance to the musical canon, and places them into their wider social, cultural, and historical context. The nineteenth title in DK's bestselling Big Ideas series, The Classical Music Book combines accessible, This original, graphic-led book explores and explains the key ideas underpinning the world's greatest classical compositions and musical traditions, defines their importance to the musical canon, and places them into their wider social, cultural, and historical context. The nineteenth title in DK's bestselling Big Ideas series, The Classical Music Book combines accessible, authoritative text with bold explanatory graphics to make the subject of classical music approachable to readers with an interest in the subject who want to learn more while still offering enough to appeal to music aficionados. From early devotional works to the great symphonies of the Classical and Romantic eras and the diverse and often challenging works of the modern era, The Classical Music Book looks at more than 90 key pieces of music and explores the salient themes and ideas behind each of them.

30 review for The Classical Music Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

  1. 5 out of 5

    Byron Siler

    This is an excellent book. Well written and organized chronologically that makes sense. The scope of this book is not just about "classical" music but encompasses various areas of music that when you look at them all in context; they stand alone as musical disciplines of their own and yet are shown to have worked together over the years so that they could. I'm talking about the differences between Opera, Baroque, Classical, Renaissance all the way to modern day music, chamber music, symphonic mu This is an excellent book. Well written and organized chronologically that makes sense. The scope of this book is not just about "classical" music but encompasses various areas of music that when you look at them all in context; they stand alone as musical disciplines of their own and yet are shown to have worked together over the years so that they could. I'm talking about the differences between Opera, Baroque, Classical, Renaissance all the way to modern day music, chamber music, symphonic music etc. There is a lot of history about some of the greatest composers and musicians of all time. There is also a lot of history about composers, musicians and teachers whose participation in music is incredibly important for the music to have advanced like it has over the years. It discusses how music is structured and how that structure has changed over the years. I would recommend reading this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Curie

    I've seen these Big Ideas books around a lot, since they're all eye-catching and thematically intriguing, but this was the first one I picked up! And it can serve as an approachable and accessible introduction to classical music indeed. Chronologically structured, it's a timeline of classical music's history. I liked that a lot, since the reason I picked this up was to fill in gaps I had in my own knowledge of the genre. It starts with Early Music from the 11th to 15th century and then covers th I've seen these Big Ideas books around a lot, since they're all eye-catching and thematically intriguing, but this was the first one I picked up! And it can serve as an approachable and accessible introduction to classical music indeed. Chronologically structured, it's a timeline of classical music's history. I liked that a lot, since the reason I picked this up was to fill in gaps I had in my own knowledge of the genre. It starts with Early Music from the 11th to 15th century and then covers the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Nationalism and finally Modern and Contemporary. In a way, this structure helps to put information in context. It's introducing artists by picking a piece each. I think this is a successful approach, considering the target group for this consists of people who know classical music, but aren't experts on the subject (or so I'd assume?). With most artists, there's an article on that particular piece, retelling its history, why it mattered and what makes it special and is accompanied by a short biography of the artist. There's no point in reading the chapters if you're not willing to actually listen to the music, but they're all available somewhere on YouTube or Spotify or whatever medium you like to listen your songs on. It's a bit quantity over quality. While the articles themselves were insightful and accessible to people who aren't familiar with musical terminology or music theory, the chapters themselves don't go particularly in depth – which they also don't claim they do. As said before, they focus on one piece per artist and you won't necessarily know what was happening beyond that. It teaches you just enough to find out what sparks your interest, though, and then you can go on and pursue further knowledge, which makes this pretty successful, I'd say. While giving an overview more than teaching in-depth-knowledge, this was a pretty dense read that took me several months to work through. I had a good time and would definitely recommend this for people curious about classical music without already established expertise on the subject.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mr Shahabi

    I think this book would make more sense with accompanied music

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Brought back good memories from Music Literature class. I especially liked the sections about Hildegard von Bingen and Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tina Doncheva

    Chronologically speaking and design-wise, the book is very good. Content-wise, it could be improved a lot. Still, it is a good basis for those who are interested in classical music and are making their first steps into it. Thus, it would seem boring to those who already have some knowledge, as it does not say much. (Not to mention, it does not give the best examples or illustrations.) It vaguely touches upon some topics and just when one thinks that something particular would be reviewed in-dept Chronologically speaking and design-wise, the book is very good. Content-wise, it could be improved a lot. Still, it is a good basis for those who are interested in classical music and are making their first steps into it. Thus, it would seem boring to those who already have some knowledge, as it does not say much. (Not to mention, it does not give the best examples or illustrations.) It vaguely touches upon some topics and just when one thinks that something particular would be reviewed in-depth and analysed, it stops right there, with no further information. Also, it would have been better if there was a CD (or, rather, CDs) with a compilation of at least some of the mentioned pieces.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    I really liked this book. Even though as a music major, I took music history, I've forgotten a lot of what I learned. I liked seeing pictures of some of the personalities of music, performers as well as composers, old productions as well as new. I think it accomplished its purpose of making me want to learn more and hear more. Thanks to modern technology such as YouTube, we can look up any musical piece that sounds like it might be interesting and listen to it. With some pieces, there will be ma I really liked this book. Even though as a music major, I took music history, I've forgotten a lot of what I learned. I liked seeing pictures of some of the personalities of music, performers as well as composers, old productions as well as new. I think it accomplished its purpose of making me want to learn more and hear more. Thanks to modern technology such as YouTube, we can look up any musical piece that sounds like it might be interesting and listen to it. With some pieces, there will be many, even dozens, perhaps hundreds, of recordings. Those we really like, we can download or even find on CDs or vinyl. While not in-depth, the book covers a lot of territory, leaving the reader the choice of further study. And unlike my music history class, this book mentions female composers and contemporary music. The last piece mentioned was composed in 2011, Alleluia by Eric Whitacre. Chapters are: Early music (1000-1400); Renaissance (1400-1600); Baroque (1600-1750); Classical (1750-1820); Romantic (1810-1920); Nationalism (1830-1920); Modern (1900-1950); Contemporary. After the chronological chapters, there's an equally chronological Directory of composers, starting with Johannes Ockeghem (c1410-1497) and ending with Magnus Lindberg (born 1958), James MacMillan (born 1959), Marc-Anthony Turnage (born 1960), and George Benjamin (born 1960). There's also a glossary and an index.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Miku

    As someone who have no idea of this subject I can say that this is a worthwhile book. I recommend this book to people who have no idea of this subject and a beginner. This is a great book to introduce yourself to the subject. But my only problem is that if or is there anyway for us to know the form of music and what they sound like.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Richard Meyer

    A Great Overview I do highly recommend this book, especially for the relatively uninformed like me. I especially enjoyed the sections covering the baroque, classical and romantic periods. I found the latter sections on modern or contemporary a bit tedious. It may be because I don't particularly enjoy most of that music.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hal

    A very nice chronologically oriented review of the evolution of classical music. The book highlights key works of every composer through the ages with individual profiles and interesting facts. The graphics are splendid. A commendable addition to any audiophiles collection as well as those looking to explore classical.

  10. 5 out of 5

    CHARLES SCOTT JOHNSON

    A useful book for someone like me with no musical background.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Özgür Baltat

    Klasik müziğinin gelişimi, başlıca akımları, önemli besteciler ve başlıca temel eserlerinin analizlerini içeren çok iyi bir ansiklopedik çalışma.

  12. 4 out of 5

    J Grimsey

    A book that I have really enjoyed. I have worked through it listening to all the music with a few exception using my streaming subscription Amazon Prime Other streams may be available

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andre Simoni

    Enciclopédico livro básico sobre música clássica, muito bem ilustrado e abrangente a todas as fases deste apaixonante gênero.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Indah Threez Lestari

    523 - 2019

  15. 5 out of 5

    Geoff Atwater

    This is an excellent book for understanding the major periods of classical music and the major composers for each period. The composers are highlighted by a nice graphics page that summarizing what came before and what comes after along with a narrative explaining the major influences in a short bio section. I am not knowledgeable of classical music as my exposure came in my 20’s when I met my future wife for whom classical was the soundtrack of her life. However, I have learned a few things and This is an excellent book for understanding the major periods of classical music and the major composers for each period. The composers are highlighted by a nice graphics page that summarizing what came before and what comes after along with a narrative explaining the major influences in a short bio section. I am not knowledgeable of classical music as my exposure came in my 20’s when I met my future wife for whom classical was the soundtrack of her life. However, I have learned a few things and I was puzzled by some of the pieces chosen to highlight a composer. For example, instead of selecting from the vast volume of Mozart’s chamber or orchestral pieces, they picked “The Magic Flute,” certainly a transitional opera, but not one of the top ten Mozart works that come to mind ( 21st piano concerto???). And then the music highlighted for Beethoven were chamber pieces!?!? Aside from that quibble, I was astonished to learn how much I did not know about classical music and how helpful this book was in documenting important influences and how much of what was created was dependent on what came before. I feel sure this book would be helpful to many, not just people like me with spotty knowledge.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paola Piliado

    This is an excellent compendium of facts, chronologically -edited and explanations of the evolution and history of music with incredible illustrations and biographical notes from the composers. It gets a little bit technical at times but if you are interested in learning, I found it was best accompanied by hearing the example that was being explained while reading. I have learned so much from this and has made me a lot more interested in classical music. It also made me really curious to explore This is an excellent compendium of facts, chronologically -edited and explanations of the evolution and history of music with incredible illustrations and biographical notes from the composers. It gets a little bit technical at times but if you are interested in learning, I found it was best accompanied by hearing the example that was being explained while reading. I have learned so much from this and has made me a lot more interested in classical music. It also made me really curious to explore the rest of the books in this series as a way to expand my knowledge in other interesting topics to me, as the layoff of the book is so digestible if you are patient.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shridhar

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katherine M

  21. 5 out of 5

    Denies

  22. 4 out of 5

    amit sharma

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrés Portilla

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steven Kelly

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marina Pavlova

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elena Solomatina

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael McNamara

  28. 5 out of 5

    Learnerq

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lifeisadance

  30. 5 out of 5

    Two Readers in Love

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