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Thread: Music Books - A Quick Reference

  1. #31
    Senior Member Rachovsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasoleati View Post
    Folks, what do you recommend as a good general reference that covers instruments, terminology, composers etc? It does not need to be the latest so I have been thinking of an older edition of the Grove, namely that by Eric Blom which is available for a reasonable cost second hand. Single volume refs like the Oxford Companion tend to be a bit too undetailed.

    http://www.amazon.com/Classical-Musi.../dp/0756609585

    Have a look at that. That covers musical instruments, composers and descriptions of all of their famous works, and tons more If I'm not mistaken. I've wore my copy out.


    Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend. -- Beethoven

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasoleati View Post
    Folks, what do you recommend as a good general reference that covers instruments, terminology, composers etc? It does not need to be the latest so I have been thinking of an older edition of the Grove, namely that by Eric Blom which is available for a reasonable cost second hand. Single volume refs like the Oxford Companion tend to be a bit too undetailed.
    This one, I have had the chance to flip through: http://www.amazon.com/The-Encycloped...0020020&sr=1-6

    It has a sizeable section on instruments, even those you may not have heard of or those that have gone out of favour with musicians. (And in some cases it also includes instruments from outside Europe and the U.S.) It also has sections on the various periods of classical music, and then the last part is all about the prominent composers. I'm afraid it won't serve you well as a music dictionary.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

    Want a piece of classical music identified? Post a link or upload a clip here. Someone might have an answer.


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  3. #33
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    Thanks for the recommendations, but I am looking for something a bit more substantial (i.e. at least 4 figured number of pages)? Anyone having Eric Blom´s Grove?

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    Default Appreciated Thread - Great Idea for Music Resource

    Having been a choral director for over 10 years, I found a website that seems to have the best offerings of choral music, mostly sacred, at www.themusiclibrary.com.
    Might help some of you struggling now with the economy's impact.

    Feel free to copy and post other places.
    These are really nice folks, who'll help you any way they can with choral music. [They are a reseller for choral programs, so there are minimum quantities required per order, but really inexpensive per copy].

    Finish strong this year!

  5. #35
    Senior Member Herzeleide's Avatar
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    Harmony and Voice Leading - Aldwell and Schachter.

    Counterpoint in Composition - Salzer and Schachter.

    Counterpoint - Kennan.

    A Practical Approach to Sixteenth-Century Counterpoint - Gauldin.

    A Practical Approach to Eighteenth-Century Counterpoint - Gauldin.

    Forms in Tonal Music: An Introduction to Analysis - Green.

    Classical Form: A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven - Caplin.

    ... for starters...

  6. #36
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    The best music books I've read:

    Wondrous Strange - The Life and Art of Glenn Gould by Kevin Bazzana

    Glenn Gould Reader by Tim Page

    Mahler: His Life, Work and World by Kurt Blaukopf

    Chopin's Funeral by Benita Eisler

    Heard much hype about The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross (http://www.amazon.com/Rest-Noise-Lis...434439&sr=1-1). Have anyone read it and what do you think?

  7. #37
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    Well, not exactly about books, an article on Gramophone magazine December issue I found worth mentioning - it reminded me some interesting and in depth discussions here and there on this board about the same subject: music and the mind. The summary of the article:

    Music and the Mind

    Nigel Hawkes investigates the profound effect music has on our brains - how it works, what we know and why music is 'like a mind-altering drug'.

    Music, neurologists have found, has a lot in common with food, sex and drugs of abuse. And not simply rock music: any melody, harmony, or thrilling top C that sends a shiver down the spine is eliciting a response in the same brain regions that are involved in emotion, arousal and reward.

    The latest brain-imaging technology, positron emission tomography (PET scanning), was used by scientists at McGill University in Montreal to explore the euphoric moment when a piece of music breaks through mere appreciation and stirs the very soul. Given the intensity of the experience, it is no surprise that they found that quite primitive parts of the brain, such as the amygdala, were activated. They played Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor and Barber's Adagio for Strings, among other pieces, to music students, choosing 90-second extracts selected by the students as reliable triggers of the 'shiver down the spine' or 'hair standing up on the neck' experience familiar to all of us. Some people call this experience 'chills'.

    Anne Blood and Robert Zatorre, the two neurologists responsible, had earlier investigated the brain regions activated by musical dissonance. While dissonance triggered responses in the parahippocampus - the seat of negative emotions - music that generated chills activated regions linked to reward and motivation, such as the ventral striatum, the dorsomedial midbrain, the amygdala and the hippocampus, the same systems triggered by food, sex, and drugs.

    'This is quite remarkable, because music is neither strictly necessary for biological survival or reproduction, nor is it a pharmacological substance,' they concluded. 'The ability of music to induce such intense pleasure suggests that, although it may not be imperative to the survival of the human species, it may indeed be of significant benefit to our mental and physical well-being.'

    The mysteries of the brain, music and the senses
    The function of music has long puzzled scientists, especially those interested in human evolution. It appears to be ancient, and universal: bone flutes dating to at least 30,000 years ago have been found, though nobody has the least idea what tunes they played, and music is enjoyed in every culture. Some scientists believe that an appreciation of music is imprinted into the brain, rather like the ability to master language. Yet music, unlike speech, sex or food, seems to offer no survival advantage. So why is it so powerful and so ubiquitous?

    There is no final answer, but many other mysteries of musical perception are beginning to yield to the power of modern brain scans. Before magnetic resonance imaging and PET scans, tantalising scraps of knowledge had been gathered from people unlucky enough to suffer brain damage or a stroke, which affected some aspect of their musical appreciation. The Russian composer Vissarion Shebalin suffered a stroke in 1953 which robbed him of the power of language. He could neither talk nor understand speech, yet he went on composing music until his death 10 years later.

    This makes it clear that while music occupies areas of the brain that overlap those of speech, they are not identical. Brain scans have confirmed this and have shown that there is no single area of the brain labelled 'music'. Rather, in musical appreciation diverse areas of the brain are called upon: the auditory cortex for tones, the right temporal lobe for timbre, the parietal lobe for rhythm, the planum temporale for pitch and melody, the limbic system for emotion. Few of us know where any of these brain regions actually are, but that doesn't matter: where music is concerned, the brain is like one of those old phrenologist's skulls, each area labelled with a different aspect of musical appreciation.

    All this becomes plainer when the brains of musicians are examined. Like the muscles of an athlete, specific brain regions are larger or better-developed in people who have spent years in music training. The auditory cortex is 130 per cent larger in musicians, for example, demonstrating that learning music increases the number of brain cells used to process it. In violinists, the brain regions that receive inputs from the fingers of the left hand are significantly larger, because those fingers determine the sound the instrument makes. There is no corresponding increase in the areas devoted to the right hand, which merely holds the bow. Keyboard players, who need to learn perfect coordination of the hands, show exaggerated growth in the anterior corpus callosum, the band of fibres that connects the motor areas responsible for each hand. The earlier children start to learn music, the more pronounced the changes. Children's brains are more plastic than adults' and respond more readily to the effects of musical training.

    The diversity of brain regions involved in music means that there are many things that can go wrong in those unlucky enough to lack one or another of them. Che Guevara, the Cuban revoutionary, could not distinguish one tune from another, a serious handicap in an island so steeped in music. He probably suffered from congenital amusia, a condition that robs people of any shred of musical appreciation.
    - http://www.gramophone.co.uk/publicat...il.asp?pub=1#2

    Oh another interesting read on this issue is about Mahler's 8th.

  8. #38
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    I wonder if anyone has read Music and the Mind by Anthony Storr. Reviews on Amazon seems quite interesting:

    From Publishers Weekly
    Rejecting the Freudian notion that music is a form of infantile escapism, British psychologist Storr ( Solitude ) argues that music originates from the human brain, promotes order within the mind, exalts life and gives it meaning. In an engaging inquiry, Storr speculates on music's origins in preliterate societies and examines its therapeutic powers, even in people with neurological diseases that cause movement disorders. Focusing on Western classical music from Bach to Stravinsky, he rejects the view, expounded by Leonard Bernstein and others, that the Western tonal system is a universal scheme rooted in the natural order. Citing studies of physiological arousal, Storr updates Arthur Schopenhauer's thesis that music portrays the inner flow of life more directly than the other arts. He turns to Friedrich Nietzsche, a philosopher, pianist and composer, for an understanding of music as an affirmative medium that helps us transcend life's essential tragedy.

    Product Description
    "Writing with grace and clarity...he touches on everything from the evolution of the Western tonal system, to the Freudian theory of music as infantile escapism, to the differing roles o the right and left brain in perceiving music."

    WALL STREET JOURNAL
    Drawing on his own life long passion for music and synthesizing the theories of Plato, Schopenhauer, Stravinsky, Nietzsche, Bartok, and others, distinguished author and psychologist Anthony Storr illuminates music's deep beauty and timeless truth and why and how music is one of the fundamental activities of mankind.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Rachovsky's Avatar
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    Karajan: A Life in Music

    Anyone familiar with this biography? I'm hoping to receive it for Christmas, but I'm not sure why it is priced at $50.00 (even if it's hardcover).


    Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend. -- Beethoven

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    I'm not familiar with the book but that price on amazon is a total rip off. I checked on my current favourite bookstore The Book Depository, it costs GBP16.85, about $25 (the non-stop falling of GBP is scary!), and free delivery worldwide: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBS...?id=0712664653

    Well, guess too late...

    Oops, never mind, that's the paperback price. The HC is £35.50 - http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBS...=9781555534257 more than $50! Can't believe Karajan is so expensive...
    Last edited by Isola; Dec-23-2008 at 22:31.

  11. #41
    Senior Member Rachovsky's Avatar
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    Thanks for looking Isola. Karajan takes a lot of punches, but he was my first love and I figure I owe it to him to at least read about him. :P


    Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend. -- Beethoven

  12. #42
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    I have a question about Miniature Scores. I need to analyse the Eroica Symphony by Beethoven for my theory exam but I don't know which edition of mini score to get. Does it really matter which edition I get? Do some editions have extra study material or whatnot that other editions don't have? Thanks

  13. #43
    Junior Member species motrix's Avatar
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    Harold Schonberg's Lives of the Great Composers is a pleasant read and has a lot of good information.

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  15. #44
    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachovsky View Post
    Karajan: A Life in Music

    Anyone familiar with this biography? I'm hoping to receive it for Christmas, but I'm not sure why it is priced at $50.00 (even if it's hardcover).

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Herbert-Von-...d=F6NRYHRM08S2

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    For the listener who seeks an explanation (not an apologist nor a cheer-leader) for 12 tone practices and experimental "musics" of the post-WWII decades, set against a background that begins with Mahler and R.Strauss I can recommend "The Rest is Noise - listening to the music of the 20th century" by Alex Ross. For those with an unlimited broadband connection the author provides a web site with audio examples:

    www.therestisnoise.com/audio

    I'm not so lucky, so I get to use my limited aural imagination and some of my CD's - nonetheless an interesting & informative read for those who are neither music students nor professionals.

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