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How Music Works: A listener's guide to harmony, keys, broken chords, perfect pitch and the secrets of a good tune par [Powell, John]
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How Music Works: A listener's guide to harmony, keys, broken chords, perfect pitch and the secrets of a good tune Format Kindle

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"By reading Powell's book we can gain a more solid knowledge of the foundations of music and therefore be better able to appreciate it."―Amanda Mark, New York Journal of Books

"Any readers whose love of music has somehow not led them to explore the technical side before will surely find the result a thoroughly accessible, and occasionally revelatory, primer."―James Walton, The Spectator

"In this distinctive combination of scientific treatise and laugh-out-loud commentary, composer and physicist Powell...has carved out an intriguing niche by using humor to enliven what could have been an otherwise dry introduction to acoustics...readers ... should glean some useful background for music study while simultaneously being entertained."―Barry Zaslow, Library Journal

Présentation de l'éditeur

·What is the difference between a musical note and any other sort of sound?
·What is harmony, and why does it sound good?
·Why is it easy to tell the difference between a flute and a clarinet even if they are playing exactly the same note?
·Why do ten violins sound only twice as loud as one?
·What is perfect pitch, and do I have it?

Discover the answers to these and many other questions in John Powell's charming, straight-talking and ear-opening guide to what music is and how exactly it works. Written by a composer with a PhD in physics, How Music Works is a unique and entertaining guide. Opening up the world of acoustics and the science of music to deepen our appreciation and understanding of what we listen to, How Music Works covers subjects from the difference between how we hear a musical note and any other kind of sound, to a brief history of the scale system, why a run of arpeggios sounds 'romantic' and why a flute sounds different to a clarinet. The perfect book for players and listeners alike.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1880 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 269 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0316098302
  • Editeur : Penguin (26 août 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004LLIHN6
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5 86 commentaires
76 internautes sur 82 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This is a must read book for anyone who loves music 29 octobre 2010
Par Karina B - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I have always had an aptitude for and interest in science. I am a medical student and am interested in the human brain and how we as humans see the world and interact with our environment.

One thing that I love perhaps as much as science is music. I find it possibly the single best cure for emotional disturbance, especially stress of any kind and have often wondered why this is?

I have noticed that music can have a profound affect on mood and state of mind. Sometimes it brings about nostalgia attached to a memory that I doubt I would remember without the auditory cue. Sometimes it makes me so happy that I walk down the street with my headphones in my ears grinning at passers by, and sometimes it simply brings tears to my eyes. It is certainly a very emotive tool and science in its own right.

When I discovered the book `How Music Works' by John Powell I thought to myself `this might be worth a read!' I certainly was not wrong.

This book does what it says on the tin really. The author uses a scientific approach to explain exactly how music works, without isolating the lay person. He uses examples and analogies we can all relate to, to explain concepts in a logical and understandable manner without compromising on detail and depth of explanation, which in my humble opinion is quite a skill.

The style of writing is witty and light hearted so this book makes for an entertaining as well as interesting and informative read. Several times I found myself subject to a few funny looks on the tube as I laughed out loud whilst reading the book on my daily commute. I also found my self thinking `ok so now I get it!' and listening to music between chapters to put my new found knowledge to the test and matching the newly found concepts in the book to the notes, chords, scales and harmonies I was listening to!

The book covers all aspects of music and the way that it works, including explanations about different instruments and how they create the sound that they do, harmony, scales, the difference between notes and noise, and yes there is physics behind why these differ, why music evokes different emotional responses, rhythm, perfect pitch... and so on! Basically everything you could possibly want to know about the in's and out's of this thing we call music.

Chapter 2 explains what perfect pitch is and also provides the reader with a quick and easy way of assessing whether they themselves have perfect pitch. It's great! You never know, you could have what it takes to be the next Madonna or Michael Jackson.

Chapter 6, how loud is loud is interesting. It explains the system that we have come up with over the years for measuring loudness which is more complicated than you may first think. It also explains why ten instruments sounds only twice as loud as one and why one hundred instruments only sounds four times as loud as one. Yes that's right, it's true. We don't like that though do we? It doesn't make sense. Well as the author correctly points out, six smelly socks aren't six times as smelly as one, and ten salted peanuts in your mouth aren't five times as salty as two (even though you have five times as much salt on your tongue.) After reading this chapter you will see why simply adding more instruments to existing instruments does not add loudness proportionately. The explanation for this involves both the way that sound waves join together as well as why our brains don't add up sounds properly. This, interestingly, relates to survival the avoidance of danger. Our brain will choose what it pays attention to based on how threatening it assesses the noise to be.

This book is well written, well illustrated, entertaining and informative. I whole heartedly recommend it as an excellent read for anyone - whether you're a musician or scientist or both or even if you're neither and just love a good tune! Enjoy.
32 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Utterly fascinating! (And what to know BEFORE studying music theory) 17 mars 2011
Par Todd Vierheller - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Disclaimer: I have no musical talent, either real or imagined.

I have read books on music theory, and I always found them lacking. WHY do we have an octave (octave=eight) that contains twelve tones? WHY are there whole steps between all notes except for B & C and E & F? WHY do we pick out, seemingly arbitrarily, seven of the twelve tones in an octave and call them a scale? `How Music Works' answers those questions, even though I never expected it to. For the first time, music theory begins to make sense! It is not enough for me to know something IS, I want to know WHY. Now I do. If that were the sole contents of the book, it would be worth what I paid for it at the local bookstore. But `How Music Works' contains much, much more.

`How Music Works' provides a scientific definition of what music is, in very understandable terms. The author describes how a string produces sound, and how we generally are listening to furniture with most stringed instruments. He explains why different instruments produce different voices at the same tone and how various instruments physically produce their sounds. This is why I purchased the book. If this were the sole content of the book, it would be worth the retail price I paid for it. But `How Music Works' contains much, much more.

`How Music Works' also delves into the tricky phenomenon of how we humans perceive sound, both from the standpoint of the sound itself, and of our hearing system. Here is also where the science of Western music is so elegantly described in easy to understand terms. Ever wonder WHY if a major scale and a natural minor scale (e.g. C Major and A minor) contain exactly the same notes, WHY they sound so different? The answer is in `How Music Works.' I've never seen that anywhere else, particularly not In music theory books.

`How Music Works' then describes musical notation, and lots of other stuff, including analog and digital recordings, CDs and MP3s, and more. The book is chock full of anecdotal, historical, and scientific tidbits that are in and of themselves astounding; I kept interrupting my wife--who was also reading--and saying, "Let me read this to you!" Not only is the book a page turner that is difficult to put down--yes, it is that engrossing--but it is full of humorous remarks that are very natural, unlike the sometimes strained humor of a certain series of books for dummies. I laughed out loud often while reading `How Music Works'.

After reading this book, I am so elated with my new understanding of music that I am delving into music theory again (now that I understand the WHY behind what IS), and I am breaking out my chromatic harmonica again. I also ordered a melodica (a.k.a. keyboard harmonica) to better play simultaneous notes and see the relationship of music on a keyboard. `How Music Works' convinced me that anyone can successfully make music with practice. That alone was worth the price of the book.

Did I mention the CD? No? That's because I haven't listened to it yet. I love to read, but I'm not good with recordings so much. Here is what is on the CD: 1) How to get different sounds from a guitar string. 2) Can you guess what this instrument is? 3) Why some notes clash and others get along together. 4) Different ways to accompany a tune. 5) Ancient and modern scales. 6) 3000-year-old music--ancient harp tuning. 7) The horrible out-of-tune bamboo whistle. 8) Confident majors and emotional minors. 9) How to bring tears to the eyes of the audience. 10)The magnificent drinking straw oboe. All of these things are well described in the text; the CD is for those who like to hear what is described. (I'm more visual than auditory.)

All in all, I highly recommend this book (and CD). It is easily worth the full retail price many times over. It is such a bargain at the Amazon price that I cannot think of anyone who shouldn't read it and enjoy it. Anyone with a passing interest in music or a passing interest in physics, or a passing interest in mathematics will enjoy it--and it isn't necessary to know anything about any of those disciplines to enjoy it. This one is well worth your time. Buy it. Read it. You will not regret it.
36 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Decent, readable, great for some things but MISLEADING regarding tuning 6 juin 2011
Par Aaron Wolf - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This is a great accessible book in many ways. Its discussion of instrument acoustics is very clear. With some changes, I would have given it five stars. Unfortunately, the bias about equal temperament is really problematic. Most readers are not equipped to question any of his claims, so it really is unfortunate that Powell actually teaches some incorrect things. His explanation of tuning the pentatonic and major and minor scales is simplistic and wrong.

He uses simple ratios to point out how basic the scales are, but he explains how to get to those ratios in ways that actually have basic mathematical errors. If you use his tuning methods, you will end up at a different tuning than he says you will because his math is simply incorrect. He ignores the details of this because he clearly thought it was just too complex for his intended readers. He appears to be convinced that the compromised equal tempered tuning is the be-all end-all solution for music.
Other ideas are culturally-biased as well. He claims that the goal overall is to be able to transpose and modulate songs among different keys... but most music in most cultures in most of history doesn't care about that. He inserted that goal because it makes his explanation much simpler to claim that ancient Greeks cared about modulation and transposition, even though there's no reason to believe that.

But many sections of this book are superb, and overall it is a worthwhile read (though it's the sort of thing you should be happy getting from your local library, rather than buying it)

I have a much more detailed and nuanced review of this book at my website
21 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent book for musicians and scientists alike 27 octobre 2010
Par micmac - Publié sur
Format: Relié
As a scientist and educationalist ( and amateur guitarist) I found this book both useful for background information and also satisfying simply as a good entertaining read.
I like the writing style which leads me gently through the musical and scientific concepts and deposits me at the end of each chapter better informed and eager to put my new found insights into practice.
The videos which accompany this book are also fun and informative.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly recommended 13 novembre 2010
Par Billy - Publié sur
Format: Relié
As a music-lover with no background in science, I found this book extremely well-written and easy to read... and, of course, very enjoyable. Highly recommended.
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