The Story of Music: From Babylon to the Beatles: How Music Has Shaped Civilization

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9781605985381: The Story of Music: From Babylon to the Beatles: How Music Has Shaped Civilization
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A dynamic and expansive tour through 40,000 years of music, from prehistoric instruments to modern-day pop songs.

Music is an intrinsic part of everyday life, and yet the history of its development from single notes to multi-layered orchestration can seem bewilderingly complex.

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―strikes us with its original force. 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.

The story of music is the story of our urge to invent, connect, rebel―and entertain. Howard Goodall's beautifully clear and compelling account is both a hymn to human endeavor and a groundbreaking map of our musical journey.

16 pages of B&W and color photographs

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About the Author:

Howard Goodall is an EMMY, BRIT, and BAFTA award-winning composer of choral music, stage musicals, film and TV scores, and a distinguished broadcaster. In recent years he has been England’s first ever National Ambassador for Singing, the Classical Brit Composer of the Year, and Classic FM’s Composer-in-Residence. He was recently appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to music education. He lives in London.

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*Starred Review* Most of us take music for granted, and yet, as explained in this insightful exploration on the origins of music, someone had to come up with harmony and rhythm; someone had to create musical notation. “Someone, somewhere, thought of them first.” Though Goodall’s primary focus is on Western music, that doesn’t mean he ignores other musical cultures. He begins with what he calls the Age of Discovery (40,000 BCE to 1450 CE), exploring the musical origins of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, since music, he asserts, played an important role in ritual, communication, and language development. He moves on to the ancient Greeks, who believed studying music could produce “nobler” human beings. He discusses plainchant and polyphony, explains the “huge” implications of Gutenberg’s movable-type printing on the dissemination of music as well as other landmarks in musical history, including the birth of opera; the invention of the piano; technological recording breakthroughs; the evolution of the blues, jazz, and rock ’n’ roll; and the worldwide popularity of hip-hop. Major musical figures are featured prominently, too, from Mozart to Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler, Stravinsky, and Brecht, on to Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Stephen Sondheim. With playlists for each chapter, this is a masterful and illuminating whirlwind tour through thousands of years of musical history. --June Sawyers

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781605986708: The Story of Music: From Babylon to the Beatles: How Music Has Shaped Civilization

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ISBN 10:  1605986704 ISBN 13:  9781605986708
Publisher: Pegasus Books, 2015
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9780099587170: The Story of Music

Vintag..., 2014
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9780701187521: The Story of Music

Chatto..., 2013
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