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The Story of Music [Anglais] [Broché]

Howard Goodall

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Description de l'ouvrage

3 octobre 2013

*** Accompanies BBC2's major new TV series and The Story of Music in 50 Pieces on Radio 3 ***

In his dynamic tour through 40,000 years of music, from prehistoric instruments to modern-day pop, Howard Goodall leads us through the story of music as it happened, idea by idea, so that each musical innovation - harmony, notation, sung theatre, the orchestra, dance music, recording, broadcasting - strikes us with its original force. He focuses on what changed when and why, picking out the discoveries that revolutionised man-made sound and bringing to life musical visionaries from the little-known Pérotin to the colossus of Wagner. Along the way, he also gives refreshingly clear descriptions of what music is and how it works: what scales are all about, why some chords sound discordant and what all post-war pop songs have in common.

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"A lively zip through some 45 milennia" (Christopher Hart Sunday Times)

"Goodall is an engaging and erudite guide and this work is both accessible and illuminating" (Caroline Jowett Daily Express)

"Great length but still leavened with lively wit" (Sameer Rahim Telegraph)

"[Goodall] knows his stuff, and tells it well" (Nicholas Lezard Guardian)

"Highly knowledgeable, and a brilliant communicator, Goodall has an infectious enthusiasm and is genuinely respectful of all forms of music" (Good Book Guide)

Biographie de l'auteur

HOWARD GOODALL is an Emmy, BRIT and BAFTA award-winning composer of choral music (Eternal Light: A Requiem), stage musicals (The Hired Man, Love Story), film and TV scores - among them The Vicar of Dibley, Q.I., Red Dwarf, Blackadder and Into the Storm. He was awarded the CBE in 2011 for service to music education.

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5  11 commentaires
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Bravo! 31 janvier 2014
Par Chris Edwards - Publié sur
What a superb book! I stumbled across Howard Goodall's BBC shows on YouTube and I was mesmerized. People interested in music come in a few different flavors. There are the kind who don't care about the technical or historical details, the serious listener. Then there are the academics who are quite tolerant of belaboring the details, usually of some very, very narrow area of expertise. Goodall drops down right between those to satisfy someone who is primarily interested in listening (and making?) good music but who also wants some context and understanding.

The scope of this book is truly extraordinary. The book really gets going as (what we know of) music did, with the advent of a permanent record, i.e. notation, and western harmony. These things do seem to be major genesis events. I believe that the computer age is also such an epoch - what will result from such a low barrier to making music and an undreamed of access to it will be something quite exciting for the future. This leave's this book's scope as a good place to reflect.

I'm sure there have been other books that attempted to tell this story but one of the reasons that it really worked so well for me only now is the internet. I read this book near my computer and my YouTube/Spotify play histories are now filled with some very odd, but very illustrative historical work. What a miracle of our age that I could listen along to the exact music that Goodall expertly was discussing. I highly recommend this as it enhances the value of the experience immeasurably. Goodall has a play list mentioned in the book, but I was looking up and playing everything he mentioned and then some. Well worth it. I discovered some wonderful music that I just had never known about before. (John Field? Irish? Who knew?)

I am interested in music theory because I am interested in being a better musician. I'm not especially talented, so learning about technical things seems like a small way forward. I now am pretty sure that learning music theory effectively requires learning music history. A point Goodall makes often is that so much of musical terminology and organization is completely insane. Many classically trained music conservatory nerds are horrifically supercilious about the technical details of their business. They say things like, "Alto means high so of course it's the lowest of the soprano registers. Duh!" and "Octave comes from the root word meaning eight which is why it's obvious there are 12 notes in the western scale." Refreshingly, Goodall, very bravely defends classical music (and others) as worthwhile and essential without pretending these defects don't exist.

Goodall never backed away from clear explanations of complex musical topics. He assumes the reader is interested enough in music to sit down to read 324 pages of music history, but otherwise not extensively schooled in music theory. What I liked most was his very human perspective on things. Sometimes I'd be preparing myself for some complex technical detail whose importance I'd overlooked and he'd say something like this (which is my favorite sentence from the entire book):

"The Beatles became the most famous and successful musicians of the twentieth century mainly because their songs were youthful, catchy and imaginative, and because everyone who heard them - millions of people across the planet - felt the world was a better place."

Not only is that a nice way to put it, it's pretty much true.

If you're interested in knowing why the music you love is the way it is or if you are interested in making music yourself that better integrates the vast western tradition, this book is highly recommended. If you can't picture yourself slogging through 324 pages about anything (which is somewhat understandable), I definitely recommend checking out Goodall's BBC programs on YouTube.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting review of mostly classical music 27 janvier 2014
Par Alan A. Elsner - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
This book aspires to offer a complete history of music - but really it's 90 percent the familiar history of Western classical music from the Renaissance to the late 20th century - with a short bow to pre-history and a nod to a couple of the author's favored practitioners of jazz and rock n'roll.

Still, it's an interesting read - if incomplete. Actually I found the early chapters on ancient music quite absorbing and would have liked to read more. The author's description of the way music notation evolved and its role in allowing music to become a developing and changing art was new to me and quite fascinating. He outlines how, in his words, music became "the soundtrack to the affairs of our hearts" - starting with the beginnings of opera in the early 17th century. But he could also have explored the the insights that cognitive science has given us about how music affects the brain - and how music helps humans develop their intellectual and emotional ranges. This is entirely absent.

Goodall also finally explains what a "well-tempered clavier" actually is and how the development of the keyboard led to the adoption of the western 12-tone octave. After a lifetime of playing Bach's Preludes and Fugues, I finally got it. (Although when I tried to explain it to my wife, I was soon foundering.)

As we move through the centuries, the author's preference become clear. He deeply respects Bach - but loves Handel. He doesn't think much of Haydn whose melodies are not memorable - but adores Mozart who believed the point of music was to "bring pleasure." (The Beatles get top marks for the same reason). I think that's a but simplistic - but I'm not a musicologist. However, listen to the G minor string quintet or the symphony number 40 - and pleasure doesn't really enter into it. He offers grudging respect to Beethoven as the man who turned music from after-dinner entertainment into an all-encompassing emotional experience - but one senses a lack of authorial enthusiasm for the great Ludwig.

Goodall passes through Schubert (invented the three-minute song), Schumann (gentle), Chopin (Polish) and Brahms (conservative) in a couple of paragraphs each - but lavishes pages on Berlioz, Liszt and Wagner. He tries to resurrect Clara Schumann as a major composer. He has a bit of an annoying habit of taking single works and proclaiming that they "changed music forever."

There is a tiresome discussion about whether Dvorak "stole" Native American and African American themes for his New World Symphony and whether it matters if he did - as if themes belong to any one person or nation.

The final chapters on popular music are very weak. Goodall picks out a few musicians - the Beatles, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder - for extensive praise, perhaps because they are in his mind closest to classic music - while entirely ignoring the Stones, the Who, Queen and many others who have extended the range of rock music. He brushes aside Bob Dylan in a couple of sentences. He really gives short shrift to musical theater, folk, country and many other genres while extolling the virtues of movie soundtracks which happens to be one form in which he works. And non-western music is excused at the start of the book as unchanging and lacking in the capacity to develop.

In a short history like this, clearly an author gets to make choices about what to include and what not to include. And we do want our expert guide to be frank about his or her personal favorites. So this is one individual's short history of music - predominantly classical music - full of the author's prejudices. As such, it's a pretty good read.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 you got me under false pretense, but you got me 22 juin 2014
Par Erik Larson - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I bought this based on an interview I saw with the author on the Daily show I believe. Mr. Goodall made the book sound very interesting and as the title states, connected the dots so to speak between a wide and vast subject. but he lied to me. This book is a history of "classical" music. He only discusses contemporary musical genres such as Rock or Jazz as they pertain in example to prove a point about the broader history of his main musical focus European "classical" music. there was virtually no discussion of African, Aboriginal Australian or pre colonial American music, and only brief snippets of Asian music forms. The last chapter is really the only place the reader gets contemporary insight/info. It's not an easy read if you are looking for anything other than educational material, but Mr. Goodall does write passionately about his subject matter and I did learn from him. I think the book needs a more accurate title, but if you want to know about the topic of "classical" music, this is an excellent resource.
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 More Howard Goodall 24 décembre 2013
Par mrswalnut - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I enjoy the programs that Mr Goodall has hosted about choirs, organs, and Big Bangs. I'm looking forward to January 2014's The Story of Music, for which this is the companion book. Take it for what it is and what it's not. No, it's not the uber-scholarly, encyclopedic compendium of all things historical in music. It is a good read and a starting place for those who want to investigate further, if they wish. Goodall's enthusiastic and understandable style carry over into the writing.
7 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Awesome! 26 janvier 2013
Par Vitor Guerreiro - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Howard Goodall has a gift for explaining matters of a certain complexity in a clear, unpretentious language, and a compelling style that stimulates curiosity. I recommend all his documentaries and writings.
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