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1. The Gramophone Classical Music
2. Classical Music for Dummies
3. The Vintage Guide to Classical
4. The Penguin Guide to Recorded
5. The NPR Guide to Building a Classical
6. The Piano Bench of Classical Music:
7. Classical Music
8. The Complete Idiot's Guide to
9. The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia
10. The Essential Canon of Classical
11. The NPR Classical Music Companion:
12. Classical Music of North India
13. Classical Music 101: A Complete
14. The Rough Guide to Classical Music
15. Why Classical Music Still Matters
16. The Story of Classical Music
17. The Penguin Guide to Recorded
18. The Beatles for Classical Guitar
19. A Modern Approach to Classical
20. The Classical Music Experience

1. The Gramophone Classical Music Guide 2011
Paperback: 1450 Pages (2010-09-01)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$22.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0860249239
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A good classical music companion
In its 1434 pages (same number as last year's edition), the 2011 Gramophone guide adds about 400 new recordings and reissues to the lineup. I feel no sense of deja vu at much of the content carried over from the previous volume, because a) my musical tastes have broadened somewhat (used to be I couldn't have imagined myself reading up on, among others, Delius and Sor), and b) out of print CDs that had seemed unobtainable are now turning up with surprising frequency, either used or in budget priced reissues. The reviews -- knowledgeable, detailed, and avoiding useless generalizations like poison -- are still relevant.

As always, the indexes of performers and works by composer are indispensible, and for something new and unexpected, I was flattered to find myself being quoted on the back cover (in "readers' comments"). Be still, my heart. ... Read more

2. Classical Music for Dummies
by David Pogue, Scott Speck
Paperback: 384 Pages (1997-08-21)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$9.27
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764550098
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The more you know about classical music, the more you love it. Now, thanks to Classical Music For Dummies, you can achieve a whole new level of insight into both the composers and the compositions that have made classical music one of the great accomplishments of humankind.

Classical Music For Dummies doesn't assume that you have a degree in musicology -- or even that you took a course in music appreciation. Rather, the multimedially gifted David Pogue and renowned conductor Scott Speck explain classical music in terms you can understand, and they describe musical elements so that you can hear them for yourself.

A reference you can dip into at any point, Classical Music For Dummies covers such topics as

  • The various forms that classical music takes -- from symphonies to string quartets
  • What goes on behind the scenes and on stage to fill a concert hall with great classical music
  • How to recognize, by sight and by sound, the many instruments that make up an orchestra
  • The nuts and bolts of classical music -- from rhythm to harmonic progression
Plus, Classical Music For Dummies comes complete with a CD containing over 60 minutes of masterpieces compiled especially for the book. The CD also includes a demo version of the Angel/EMI Classics For DummiesTM multimedia interface to try out on your Windows-based PC or Macintosh computer.Amazon.com Review
In a time when school music classes (if they exist at all)teach their students the finer points of the themes from TheTwilight Zone and Jaws instead of real music; whenclassical radio stations are converted to Lite Rock or switched to a"top 100" classical jukebox format; and when even churchesincreasingly favor banal "Jesus Is My Boyfriend"-style slopinstead of Bach, Mozart, and Vaughn Williams, classical music maylegitimately be seen as an endangered cultural species. Enter ScottSpeck and David Pogue, who take out the unnecessary mystery, and offeran easy-to-swallow quickie education, ranging from Gregorian chants tocontemporary composers such as John Adams and John Corigliano. If youcan't tell an oboe from a bassoon, there's also a dandy guide to theinstruments of the orchestra, and once you're through that informationyou'll know the difference between a concerto and a sonata. Best ofall is the introduction to music theory, which actually makes adaunting subject seem easy. It's all supported by a helpful enhancedcompact disc (it works in your CD-ROM drive; it plays on your stereo'sCD player) containing more than an hour of representative musicaltidbits from good EMI recordings. Although the tone is unremittinglyflippant and the jokes are, for the most part, pretty bad,Classical Music for Dummies is one of the better works in thisseries, and really does provide a useful reference for a subject toooften seen as arcane. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
The authors were informative, and kept it interesting and real, throughout.
They used just enough humor, interspersed with many facts, which prompted me to
either look up the term, listen to the music on UTube, or look to see if my public
library had MORE books on the particular composer they would mention.
I highly, highly recommend this book, for anyone who loves classical music, but doesn't
have much knowledge about the basics, and would like to learn more.
I even emailed the authors, and both were pleasant, and helped me find more out about
classical music history.
This book also comes in audiobook form.

This books deserves a BRAVO!

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly surprised
This was one of those I sort of HAD to read ,and expected to be boring. But I learned more about music in the process, not just classical music. It just kept surprising me with it's entertaining, yet informative stuff I never expected. Maybe it was just something I needed at the time, because (if you read my other reviews) I'm usually VERY critical.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
These same authors wrote Opera for Dummies, a book I enjoyed very much.So I gave this one a try too.

The pluses:
I enjoyed the sections on the composers, their lives, and their notable works, as well as the section on the instruments in the orchestra and the personality types that play them.I also liked that the authors go into the definitions and structures of symphonies, sonatas, concertos, etc.

The minuses:
Much of the material in this book is identical to that in Opera for Dummies.But then of course you can't blame the authors for not re-writing the biographies of the composers for each separate book.But the thing I was most disappointed in was the very large musical theory section in this book.I felt this would be more suited to a "Music for Dummies" book.It's not necessarily necessary to understand music theory in order to appreciate classical music.I would have liked more biographies of lesser known composers; or more discussions of particularly famous works of classical music.

All in all I appreciate the approachable nature of this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
After liking classical music for 30 years, this book has made listening to and understanding classical music even more enjoyable.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best dummies books ever
I've read many of the dummies books and Classical Music for Dummies is now my favorite. Prior to that, DOS for dummies was the best that I had read and that was back in 1998. This book is packed with great info and tons of listening suggestions. Thanks to this book I'm listening to Debussy's La Mer right now and I probably would have never known about this wonderful piece of music had I not bit the bullet and bought this book. Don't listen to the reviews that say that the humor is overpowering. Those reviews are coming from stuffy snobs that have no sense of humor. The humor in this book makes it an absolute page turner. Its fun when you're reading serious material for five or ten minutes and then along comes a zinger. The nicest surprise about this book is that I learned far more than I thought I would being that I have a pretty solid musical background being a guitar player. ... Read more

3. The Vintage Guide to Classical Music
by Jan Swafford
Paperback: 624 Pages (1992-12-15)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679728058
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The most readable and comprehensive guide to enjoying over five hundred years of classical music -- from Gregorian chants, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Johannes Brahms, Igor Stravinsky, John Cage, and beyond.

The Vintage Guide to Classical Music is a lively -- and opinionated -- musical history and an insider's key to the personalities, epochs, and genres of the Western classical tradition. Among its features:
-- chronologically arranged essays on nearly 100 composers, from Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377) to Aaron Copland (1900-1990), that combine biography with detailed analyses of the major works while assessing their role in the social, cultural, and political climate of their times;
-- informative sidebars that clarify broader topics such as melody, polyphony, atonality, and the impact of the early-music movement;
-- a glossary of musical terms, from a cappella to woodwinds;
-- a step-by-step guide to building a great classical music library.

Written with wit and a clarity that both musical experts and beginners can appreciate, The Vintage Guide to Classical Music is an invaluable source-book for music lovers everywhere. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great shipping...
this was a great purchuse that i made the delivery time was great as well....

5-0 out of 5 stars Educates and inspires
Simply put, this is an outstanding book. Had I read such a straightforward, yet educationally enriching book of the sort during my undergrad, I may have actually been interested in the history of music!

Swafford covers so much here, and yet it is effortless on the part of the reader. He strikes a pefect balance between placing the composers in a historical context, yet gives a great overview of essential works by these composers. And there are also essays on topics such as tonality/atonality, counterpoint, sonata form, etc. Of course, with a limited amount of space, there will be ommisions here and there that may seem heretic to some fans of certain composers, but hey , that's life.

This is a book that inspires you to listen to these composers in a new light. This has happened to me with Brahms, Wagner, Schubert, and Mendelsohn, as well as others.

Bravo to Mr. Swafford for an exceptional accomplishment. Also, don't miss his "Charles Ives: A Life with Music" - one of the best biographies I have ever read.

1-0 out of 5 stars difficult to read
I learned to appreciate classical music from my fiancee Jian, and now I only listen to classical radio KDFC 102.1 in SF bay area. I bought this book to be able to learn a little bit about classical music artists, but this book is overwhelmly condensed. For me, I am not able to read more than one page and I put it away. I just wanted to know in an organized descriptive way when the artist lived, where he lived, how many composition he wrote, and what is the most famous music he composed, and give the name of a music for each composer that I could easily search on the web to buy or listen. I also wanted to know if the contemporary musicians like evgeny kissin or sarah chang, do they play only chopin or rakamaninoff, because fits theyr style or because they prefer to only play those music. By the way, I know I made a mistake, I don't even know if sarah chang or evgeny kissin have played chopin or rakamaninoff music. Unfortunately this book is not like this way. And all the reviews here were 4.5 stars, and when I bought this book, "search inside" was not available, so I gave the benefit of doubt to buy this book based on the good reviews. So now I am giving my honest 1 star review. Thanks. If anyone, knows a book the way I wanted, please let me know.

5-0 out of 5 stars The intage Guide to Classical Music
This book contains essays on the life and works of nearly one hundred classical composers, arranged by historical periods.Has a section on suggestions for building a classical music library, a glossary of musical terms, and a list suggesting further reading.Appropriate as an academic research source, but written in a reader-friendly style,Also contains an index.Informative without being difficult.A good read as well as a good source of information.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic all-around introduction
I've been around Western art music for most of my life, as a listener who loves it and an amateur pianist who enjoys playing it. While over the course of that life I've picked up a huge amount of facts and information, it was always in bits and pieces. So I recently found myself interested in finding a good basic book on the Western art music tradition to consolidate what I knew (or THOUGHT I knew) - the history, composers, concepts, etc. The Essential Canon of Classical Music and The Rough Guide to Classical Music 3 (Rough Guide Music Guides) are both informative and entertaining, but seem to have holes in their presentation that make them seem less comprehensive than I was looking for. Conversely, A History of Western Music is a joyous wealth of knowledge, but more dense and academic than I had the time or attention for at that point.

Then I happened across Swafford's "Vintage Guide," and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for. His overview of the history and development of Western art music is deceptively accessible, being really easy to read and absorb while at the same time containing a wealth of information, much of which was surprising and new to me. His composer biographies are also entertaining, somewhat gossippy but never losing sight of the music these people produced. The sidebars introducing key musical concepts like polyphony and melody surprised me with their depth and thoroughness.

So while maybe one won't qualify for an MFA after reading this book, I can't imagine a more complete or enjoyable introduction to the subject, and I can't imagine someone NOT wanting to dig deeper and find out more after reading it.

(Perhaps the most telling recommendation is this: I recently set out to compile a simple overview of the Western art music tradition for my wife, who is just beginning her study of the subject. After starting to use Swafford's book as a reference, I realized that what I was aiming to create already existed in the form of this book, so I just handed it to her.) ... Read more

4. The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music 2010: The Key Classical Recordings on CD, DVD and SACD
by Ivan March, Edward Greenfield
Paperback: 1602 Pages (2009-11-24)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$21.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0141041625
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"Indispensible, illuminating, and comprehensive." --The Times (London)

This has remained the best and most successful guide to classical music for more than forty years. Fully revised by its team of eminent authors and written with wit and passion, The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music offers reviews of all the latest releases as well as the finest established recordings.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

1-0 out of 5 stars Garbage: 1600 pages of meaningless vague drivel.
What bothers me most about the reviews is they are so vague one wonders if the editors actually LISTEN to the recording they are supposedly reviewing.
e.g. "de Laroccha brings a beguiling charm to the recording" or "Jones, penetrates the ethos of these pieces with a natural feeling"...utter useless uninformative nonsense.

Their marketing gimmick of the rosettes is just that...a gimmick.Even THEY admit it is completely subjective...so what's the point then? It caters towards the lazy, uncritical consumer who just buys based on a childish rating system.

Time to put this publication out of it's misery.At least some trees will be saved.

5-0 out of 5 stars Penguin Guide to Classical Music, 2010
Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music, 2010

What a great resource to have and use when you are considering the purchase of a new recording. There are so many options to choose from. This is an indispensable guide for choosing the best recordings of a particular work. I previously owned an earlier release of the Penguin. Now I am pleased to have its updated version.

2-0 out of 5 stars conservative
Generally wary of guides, I bought the 2010 update - my first Penguin guide - only to find out that, extraordinarily, Dallapiccola, Maderna, Nono, Feldman are not in there, Mahler is shortchanged (what with the avalanche of extremely good recent recordings and cycles - I advise people to look elsewhere, e.g. the GustavMahlerBoard, or Classicstoday for informed discussions and reviews of the most recent Mahler recordings), and Xenakis, Stockhausen and Cage get pathetic coverage (and it's condescending to boot), compared to the generous attention paid to totally irrelevant, more conservative contemporary composers such as James MacMillan and John Tavener. Fair enough that they are included, but then also the far more interesting (and also British!) composers Ferneyhough, James Dillon and especially Jonathan Harvey should have been included (quite apart from continental heavyweights such as Lachenmann and Sciarrino). It's clear that the authors of the guide have a preference for the less progressive type of music and also that they are chauvinistic in choosing English performers rather than the best (oddly, the overrated Lindsays are prominently recommended for a good deal of the Haydn and some of the Beethoven quartets).

2-0 out of 5 stars The record you are looking at isn't in the book
The negative reviews here are pretty funny, and certainly pretty much right: the British bias. etc. But the real problem is this: unless you are looking at a record from a label that was big in the vinyl era with an artist who is a big name, the recording just isn't in this book. So what use is it?

5-0 out of 5 stars A useful reference
As only a mid-level classical music fan, I have found this guide to be highly useful over the years as I have assembled a small library of recordings.

Not only have this guide's listing helped steer me toward better recordings, but also reading the listings has introduced me to the magic of all sorts of performers and conductors I was not previously aware of.

No doubt there are great recordings of things that are not listed in here, as the ongoing comparisons with the Gramophone Guide are happy to point out. That problem cuts both ways.

But if you are an average enthusiast of classical music like me, you can bet that any recording listed in here is going to be a worthy expenditure, and that means this book is money well spent.

Now if only they could make it into a web/iPhone app so a user could search for and easily find all recommended recordings by a certain performer, for example. And to have all that in my iPhone the next time I unexpectedly decide to start shopping... ... Read more

5. The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection : The 350 Essential Works
by Ted Libbey
Paperback: 536 Pages (1999-09-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$4.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761104879
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In his informed and indispensable guide, National PublicRadio's Ted Libbey takes listeners by the hand through the classicalrepertory to build a music library. Now, five years after its originalpublication - with five years of new performances to consider, newreleases to review. reissues to re-evaluate - Mr. Libbey hascompletely revised and updated the book.While sticking to theessential 300 works, there are now one-third new selections andreviews, and a 50% change in discography to keep all suggested CDsup-to-date.Berlioz.Vaughan Williams. Schubert and Schumann.Mozart after the Jupiter Symphony.Bach beyond the BrandenburgConcertos, opera after The Magic Flute - The NPR Guide willmake every music lover's core collection complete. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars Reliable and a Delight to Read
Still a reliable guide to some of the top recordings available, but even were the recommendations to (someday) become dated, the book is still more than worth its weight for the music/composer reviews alone.A veritable education in beautiful music lies within.I read a little from it almost every night and have done so (to my profit) for the past several years.I highly recommend this book for both neophyte and more experienced listeners.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice listing of basic works, but 10 years out of date
I should have read the product description more carefully.Had I seen that this book was published in 1999 -- 10 years ago -- I would have not bought the book.It gives a nice listing of works worth considering, but if you want more up-to-date listings of recordings, you'll need to buy the Penguin Guide, The Grammophone Guide, or both.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Looks Great
I have been collecting classical music for about five years now, and I know how challenging it is to pick what to add next (I'm still fairly new at this with a smaller collection, I can only imagine how hard it will be once I have a more substantial one). I typically rely on listening to a few classical stations online and locally, if I find a piece appealing I wait to hear what it is identified as, write it down then head over to gemm.com to see what kind of deal I can get. But after reading just the excerpt I have a feeling my strategy will change once I pick this book up. I will still head over to gemm, they really have just about the best prices around, and listen intently but will definitely take Mr. Libbey's suggestions and knowledge with me when looking to the next piece to add to my collection.
I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

4-0 out of 5 stars a good starting place
Ted Libbey's a really good guide for someone venturing into classical music without a lot of familiarity with the material. The book is put together pretty well, and Libbey's very knowledgeable and a good writer. His taste is broad, which is good for a reader whose tastes are developing. He tends to emphasize large orchestral works at the expense of chamber music and solo instrumental works, as well as at the expense of opera and sacred music (and he seems to have a bit of a preference for late Romantic works). But that's probably representative of the preferences of most classical music listeners, so it's okay for an introductory book like this. Anyone who develops interest in specific areas will need more than this book offers. But, in good introductory fashion, it provides a mix of music history, composer biographies, a bit of musicology, and some explanation of genres. Definitely a good place to start, and probably worth checking out even if you're fairly familiar with classical music

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning from the educated
I am a huge classical music fan, always looking for that perfect recording and being most critical when it doesn't suit my taste. Even so, I had a lot to learn about composers and pieces of great music that I was unfamiliar with. It delights me to report that I have found most of what Ted Libbey has said about building a classical CD collection to be true. He offers a list well thought out; not just according to sales but more in terms of history and attention to detail. Since buying, reading, and rereading this book, I have increased my classical collection considerably. What I find most surprising is how often I agree with the selections and comments the author makes here. Obviously, not all of the time but more often than not, I find his selection to be worthy. I would love to make recommendations for more music to add to the list; such as Mendelssohn's "Songs without words." But the author himself mentioned his difficulty in limiting the list to just 350. I appreciate his insite and have learned a lot from this book. I highly recommend it. ... Read more

6. The Piano Bench of Classical Music: Piano Solo (Piano Collections)
by Hal Leonard Corp.
Plastic Comb: 402 Pages (1999-10-01)
list price: US$29.99 -- used & new: US$18.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0825617693
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This book is designed to be the cornerstone of your personal music library. This collection contains 400 pages of great music literature, specially selected and edited for the pianist who loves classical music. Includes over 125 great masterpieces from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern Eras. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Piano Bench of Classical Music: Piano Solo
Thick book, all the classical songs you would hope to get.Spiral binding, pages are easy to turn and the book stay opened on the desired pages.Not for beginners.4+ years piano playing experience a plus. Have lots of fun playing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
The book is great for the beginner/intermediate player. Make sure you can play all time signatures well (especially with 8bpm). I am looking for sister books to this one :)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great collection, worthy of it's name
I've been playing predominantly jazz and popular music for years, but decided to get back to playing classical again.This Collection has been great for that it's got a wide variety of music from various classical periods, various styles.The print is easy to read, the markings in this edition work well, although I do find alternate fingerings work better than some of the suggested fingerings in the collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Every pianist should have a copy in their music Library
I am really pleased with this book. It has virtually every 'well known' piano classic, and more, all in one book. Great for the amateur pianist who loves classical music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Satisfied customer!
This book is great and the transaction was great as well. Book arrived on time and in perfect condition. Definitely a positive shopping experience! ... Read more

7. Classical Music
by Phil G. Goulding
Paperback: 656 Pages (1995-10-17)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$6.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0449910423
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Who are the ten most important classical composers? Who in the world was Palestrina? Why did Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" cause a riot? Which five of each important composer's works should you buy? What is a concerto and how does it differ from a sonata?
Maybe you don't know the answers to these questions; author Phil Goulding certainly didn't. When Goulding first tried to learn about classical music, he found himself buried in an avalanche of technical terms and complicated jargon--so he decided to write the book he couldn't find.
The result is a complete classical music education in one volume. Comprehensive, discriminating, and delightfully irreverent, Classical Music provides such essential information as:
* Rankings of the top 50 composers (Bach is #1. Borodin is #50)
* A detailed and anecdotal look at each composer's life and work
* The five primary works of each composer and specific recommended CDs for each.
* Further great works of each composer--if you really like him
* Concise explanations of musical terminology, forms, and periods
* A guide to the parts and history of the symphony orchestra
"This book uses every conceivable gimmick to immerse readers in the richness of classical music: lists, rankings, sidebars devoted to lively anecdotes, and catchy leads."
--The Washington Post
"One terrific music appreciation book...The information is surprisingly detailed but concisely presented. Goulding's writing style is breezy yet mature....[He] has raised music appreciation from a racket to a service."
--The Arizona Daily Star
Amazon.com Review
This is a fun, approachable guide to classical music that usesa light touch, fun facts and humorous anecdotes to help the neophytemake sense of classical music and its origins. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great, accessible book
So far this book has been a very friendly book for those who are not musically oriented people.I'd highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn a little more about classical music and the major composers in history.Love it!

3-0 out of 5 stars Where are the AMERICANS??!!!!!
The only reason I give this book 3 stars is that I do enjoy the information about the composers listed. It's a very informative and entertaining book, suitable for both a beginner as well as a serious classical music lover (which I am!).
My main complaint is this: where are the Americans? This author seeme to go out of his way to not include any of them! I mean, really not include Copland, Ives or Gershwin? What about the great 20th century school of symphonists - Hanson, Piston, Sessions, Virgil Thomson, or William Schuman? Mr. Goulding, I think you need to reevaluate your list. Surely you could have included at least ONE of these! Even Bernstein is now widely considered to be a composer of recognition.
My other complaint is that he has also neglected some european composers who should have definitely made the list. I think anyone would put Elgar and Rachmaninoff on a list of top 50 greats.
For the information contained, very informative and readable, but for the ommissions listed above, 1 star!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful Guide and a Tweak to the Taste
Phil Goulding's "Classical Music" is a helpful guide to the complex world of music destined to last the ages.It is a subject hard to condense into one volume; yet Goulding does exactly that, providing overviews that define classical music and the orchestra and then a chapter by chapter exploration of the 50 greatest composers and their 1000 greatest works.

One can argue Goulding's order (especially so the further down the list you go), the rigidity of his ranking system, his giving short shrift to 20th Century composers (which many others have mentioned in these reviews), his omission of American composers (which no one else seems to have minded but me), and more.One can also shrug at the suggested recordings; since many of the selections have become dated.Even so, this book provides a bird's eye view handbook to classical music for those who wish to listen, learn and appreciate.

The biography sections are perhaps the best--with facts and gossipy bits that are funny and enjoyable.There are many placements of composers in the rankings that will tweak the taste of the reader.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for beginners
You get a short history of the 50 greatest composers along with recommendations on which pieces of music to purchase.It is very well written.Also, at the beginning of the book the author explains things such as the difference between a sonata and a concerto and many other "basics".Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars A funny and good book to get ideas
I recommend this book for beginners or even for listeners who want to dig a little bit beyond what they already know of these 50 composers.The book is funny, easy to read and the breakdown of all opus into listen-to-these-pieces-first lists is very helpful, albeit shallow.

I find the reviews listed below do present the pros and cons of this book very well.I think this book ought to be seen as a complement to other sources.There are so many classical CDs out there, one does not know where to begin.With a lot of humor, Goulding helps to pick out starter kits for 50 composers.Even if you bought one CD per composer per week, in a year you would have barely scratched the surface anyway.I feel one can get a lot of mileage out of this book.

How many albums does it take to get acquainted with say five centuries of music?You have to start somewhere!

In my opinion this book is excellent for beginners,but it ought to be complemented with a decent music history book.Personally I already have a few of those, and recently I got my hands on the Rough Guide to Classical Music which takes the classic 'dictionary of composers' approach.That book has a sort of "top ten" you-should-listen-to-this-first list approach as well, and for beginners lists are good.
... Read more

8. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music
by Robert Sherman
Paperback: 416 Pages (1997-06-20)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$23.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0028616340
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This book removes the intimidation factor by providing an easy-to-understand introduction to the many varieties of classical music, with tips for finding the works youll enjoy most, recognizing the instruments of a symphony orchestra, and identifying the great composers from their music.Soon readers will enjoy the symphony instead of snoozing through itAmazon.com Review
First it was Classical Music for Dummies; now comes a rival, TheComplete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music. What could possibly come next? Whatever the variation, it's worth suffering through another self-deprecating title to help the timorous abandon their unfortunate fears ofgood music and get into the listening habit. Like Classical Music for Dummies, The CompleteIdiot's Guide doesn't assume any prior knowledge on the part of readers; alsolike its Dummies counterpart, this volume is written in short bursts, withmini-paragraphs and boxes that work better for bite-size reading than for longstretches. The writing tends to be jokey and mildly attitudinal, the betterto reach the series's youngishtarget audience. (One wishes, though, that the writers had screwed up the courageto eschew the seemingly mandatory variations on the comment about how "it'snot over until the fat lady sings" when writing about opera.)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music is intelligently laid out, starting with a brief set of basics--from the history of what we think of as classical music, to the art of listening to classical music, to how to buy a stereo system--and moving on to address asurprisingly large number of areas. There are helpful introductions to assorted instruments, composers,performers, operas, and movements, including Baroque, classical romantic, and modern. Although some of the book's emphases have a whiff ofpolitical correctness, most of the information is valuable.

Authors Robert Sherman and Philip Seldon have chosen to combine bothinstrumental music and opera in one volume (unlike Classical Music forDummies, which has a sister volume in Opera for Dummies). As a result, buyers who want to save money may turn to The Complete Idiot's Guide rather than to the competition. It also has a tear-out "Complete Idiot's Reference Card," with the "Top 20 ClassicalWorks," "Top Ten Singers," "Top Ten Conductors," and so forth to take with you to the record store. Note: the categories are ranked in ahighly idiosyncratic manner--based on a radio station's listeners'survey.) On the downside, unlikeClassical Music for Dummies, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music doesn't have anaccompanying compact disc with musical samples on it. As Victor Hugowrote of music, it expresses feelings humans cannot put in words, but issomething humans endlessly try to explain in words. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Maybe I'm not the right level of idiot
I bought this book because I wanted to develop a better understanding of the music I was hearing at concerts. I was disappointed. The authors spent so much effort trying to make the book interesting that they didn't include the information I was seeking. I can understand the wordplay in the section headings, but I got VERY tired of the "Bet You Didn't Know" sections with tidbits like "Salmonella was reputed to be such a wonderful piano player because he had two left hands." I tried to just skip them, but the remainder of the text assumed the reader had read those sections.

The music theory portion of the book - the part I wanted to understand the most - is only 13 pages and still left me lost. Some of it may be from oversimplification. One question I had - and still have - is the meaning of a piece described as being In C Major. The book states that this is "the basic tone on which the rest of music is constructed." I don't know if that means the most common note, the midpoint, or something else. Examples of specific works would go a long way to making this discussion more useful.

This book might be an amusing resource if you're looking for biographical trivia about composers, singers, or performers. But I would not recommend it for someone struggling to understand the music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for those who find classical intimidating
Ironically, I took up violin when I was four (like so many Asian kids) but gave it up after 13 years of continuous practice.Recently I realized that even though I could still play, I did not know much about classical musicas a genre!So I bought this book and found it very informative.Let mejust say that (after checking with my music history professor) everythingyou need to know about classical music is here, explained in a friendly andclear way.You'll learn how to appreciate classical music as well aswho-is-who in the field.

Now, would someone care to write a"complete idiot's guide to Chinese music"?:)

3-0 out of 5 stars For a few dollars more, buy Classical Music for Dummies
This book is not bad at all.It may deserve 4 stars had I never read Classical Music for Dummies.A book on classical music ought to come with a sample CD.This one doesn't.And you won't know what you miss until youget the other book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fair to good
Felt that Classical Music For Dummies was a superior read to the Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music.It also included a CD of classical music as examples of what was taught in the text of the book with an entire chapter devoted to explaining the examples on the CD. Idiot's Guide did not contain a CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Idiot was impressed!!
This book is for all of you who wince in pain at the mere mention of classical music.Robert Sherman and Philip Seldon present Classical music in informative and easy to read chapeters.The laid back and often times funny writing style keeps the text flowing and makes a seemingly boring topic entertaining.It gives you useful information on the subject,such as how to dress for a concert, tips on listening to different composers, and helpful hints on how to build your own classical CD collection. If you're like me, and always had an interest in classical music, but didn't know where to start, this book gets you well on your way to the complete understanding music then and now. ... Read more

9. The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music
by Ted Libbey
Paperback: 928 Pages (2006-04-11)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$9.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761120726
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A complete education in classical music, written with verve and wit. No music lover can pick up this one-volume compendium without becoming a more knowledgeable, discerning listener. • The sonata form revealed, and why it's been deeply satisfying for three centuries. • What to listen for in Brahms, a self-described Classicist who was one of music's great innovators. • Pizzicato, fioritura, parlando, glissando. • The transformative power of Toscanini–who earned more conducting the New York Philharmonic than his contemporary Babe Ruth made with the Yankees. • And throughout, more than 2,000 recommended recordings.

Log on and listen. Created with Naxos, the world's largest classical music label, the book includes a unique Web site featuring more than 500 examples cited in the text. Look up barcarolle. First read about its swaying 6/8 meter and Venetian origins; then log on to the music Web site and hear it performed in Act IV of Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann. If that whets your curiosity about Offenbach, click to hear the cancan in his La vie parisienne. All online samples are marked by an icon in the text. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Highly Informative and Entertaining Reference Guide
I thoroughly enjoy this treasure chest of information about classical music--it is one of the best book purchases I've ever made.(In response to the few negative reviewers:"What's not to like about this?It offers the most of any single similar source.")I find that I can open the book to almost any page at random and find something I didn't know about a composer, a great work, a conductor or other performer, or a musical term.

My musical education stopped in elementary school, but I've enjoyed classical music since then (remembering listening to records of "Danse Macabre" and "Grand Canyon Suite" and attending Pittsburgh Symphony kids concerts back in the 50s), but still have only a limited knowledge of the technical/artistic aspects of music.The book seems well oriented to a general reader like me.

While Ted Libbey doesn't hesitate to express his critical opinions about composers and performers, he does so in a respectful, non-opinionated fashion.The book is well-written and engaging, and I never find it dry and boring like some references.My only complaint is that the link to the Naxos classical collection website referred to in the book doesn't work with Windows 7, and the folks at Naxos have failed to respond to my inquiries.Despite that minor difficulty, this is a work that any casual but engaged classical music aficianado will love--even more sophisticated listeners may learn something from it.It would make a great gift for a friend or relative who enjoys classical music.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Book with One Minor Frustration
I've owned this book for some time now, and I'll begin by saying that it is indeed a very well-written, entertaining and helpful book worthy of a lot of praise.My one problem with it is minor but it keeps on growing so here it is: imagine a similar book on films that is great but goes on glorifying Citizen Kane and films by Fellini, Kurosawa, Bergman and the like, while simply thinking most films made after Godfather Part II don't deserve a nod.Or a book on Yankees history that falls over itself praising the likes of Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio but stops once color TV became common in America.Jeter and Rivera get a mere one-liner as a part of Yankee history.To be mean and slightly unfair, this is that book for classical music.Dead men from the Black and White era often get unqualified praise, while people that are still active get treated quite harshly sometimes.Men like Bruno Walter and Artur Rubinstein can simply do no wrong, while today's main figures are all bashed in some way.I'm only a novice so it may be true that nobody active today can stand up to the greats of yesteryears.But for the sake of variety to the modern listener, I think it would've been better if the author more often recommended recordings that somewhat deviated from his favorite legendary benchmark recordings from the 1960s.If you were to give a list of movies to someone that hasn't seen a single one, you wouldn't want to just go off the common "greatest ever" list.The comparison is of course unfair in some ways, but I make it to advance my one problem with the book.I will reiterate though that it is a very good one.

3-0 out of 5 stars iPhone Kindle version
The text is interesting. However - this you don't read front to back. If I want to look up Verdi, there's a table of contents; and the V's are a few hundred or thousand swipes; or using the location bar at the bottom of the iPhone version until somehow you hit the right page. A simple search feature (like Adobe Reader), or an alphabetical index would make this (and many non-fiction books) much more useful. As it is - an expensive sampler for the paperback, which I should have gotten.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I would have rated this much higher if the code to access the Naxos site actually worked. I have had no luck after numerous tries. Naxos did not reply after they were contacted online.The code may have expired or something.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent and Inspiring Guide
I hope that no potential readers were offput by the very silly and petty Publishers Weekly review. This is a very helpful and at times facinating guide to classical music and recorded music performance. Libbey's expertise and passion make for great reading. Very insightful and very helpful when searching for a good recording of a favorite piece. ... Read more

10. The Essential Canon of Classical Music
by David Dubal
Paperback: 800 Pages (2003-10-24)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$11.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0865476640
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The ultimate guide to classical composers and their music-for both the novice and the experienced listener

Music, according to Aaron Copland, can thrive only if there are "gifted listeners." But today's listeners must choose between classical and rock, opera and rap, and the choices can seem overwhelming at times. In The Essential Canon of Classical Music, David Dubal comes to the aid of the struggling listener and provides a cultural-literacy handbook for classical music. Dubal identifies the 240 composers whose works are most important to an understanding of classical music and offers a comprehensive, chronological guide to their lives and works. He has searched beyond the traditional canon to introduce readers to little-known works by some of the most revered names in classical music-Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert-as well as to the major works of lesser-known composers. In a spirited and opinionated voice, Dubal seeks to rid us of the notion of "masterpieces" and instead to foster a new generation of master listeners. The result is an uncommon collection of the wonders classical music has to offer.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

3-0 out of 5 stars Reasonably Informative, could have been more....
Overall this collection of composers' biographies have much to offer to a music student who is daunted by those found in the Grove's Encyclopedia of Music.

Personally I would have preferred that more composers have been included. John Field, in my opinion, a greater and more distinctive composer than Hummel, is left out, whereas Hummel is included. Paisiello, too, is left out though Cimarosa isn't. Purcell and Vivaldi are relegated to the 'Other Composers' Section! Marginal composers Thomas Arne and Antonio Soler are given their due while the much more talented sons of Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann and Johann Christian are excluded. Puzzling! Amongst minor composers of Romantic opera, Lortzing and Nikolai are preserved, but Flotow is sacrificed.

I also could not quite understand the pages devoted to Paganini, in truth a second tier composer despite his influence. Furthermore, short-lived geniuses like George Pinto, Vorisek, Arriaga and Lekeu are left out in favour of long-lived mediocrities such as Boieldieu and Auber.

But for most enthusiasts of music who are happy just to know the major composers, I must say that this book is adequate.

5-0 out of 5 stars The rave reviews are true
I'm no classical music expert, but I'm a big fan.

I recommend this book very strongly to everyone, along with The Vintage Guide to Classical Music. (You might also consider What to Listen for in Music, and, very much worth the price if you're serious, Listening to Music (with CD).)

The value of a book like this is that you can be a lot more confident that you will find something you like when you go to the music store. I had no idea who Respighi was, but thanks to this book (as well as a helpful internet site) he has become one of my new favorites. My opinion of Mendelssohn has been elevated thanks to this book (and his music, of course). I tried a few of Mozart's less famous symphonies (compared to #s 40 and 41), and one of his recommendations (#38, "Prague") has become one of my favorites. I'm sure that almost everyone will have similar experiences, and that is why you can't go wrong with this book.

(Though it is true that some websites can be helpful, it is also true that the author of this book, a professor at the Julliard School, is far more knowledgeable than probably any site on the internet.)

The book features biographies of perhaps 50 of the most important composers (around 10 pages each) and briefer (up to a page, rarely a little more) sketches of another 150 or so. For the most important composers, there are brief (up to a page) descriptions of their "greatest hits," with a list of their other most famous works. The minor composers only get the list of works, which tend in their cases to be a little shorter than some would prefer. Nevertheless, the two thousand or so most famous pieces of music are included in the lists.

It's true that this book is a little weak on early music--much of which has only recently become popular, or even recorded--but it's amazing on everything from the 1750s onward, which is most of the classical music that most people really care about.

I should also point out that if your primary goal is to build an impressive collection of classical music, this book will aid you greatly, as its title suggests. Here the only weakness is again the early music, though I supsect the next 50 years some of the enthusiasm for early music will fade, and will show us which of it proves lastingly popular.

3-0 out of 5 stars Weak on early music
Since purchasing a copy of David Dubal's "Essential Canon" soon after it was published in 2001 I have found that, if not "essential," it is very useful as a convenient and reliable reference to classical music. In our household, Dubal's "Canon" has been so often consulted that its sturdy binding has given way and I am about to order another copy today.

My rating of merely three stars is based entirely on the fact that the book has a salient and serious weakness that has not been pointed out to my knowledge, certainly not in these reviews. That weakness is in early music. By my count, Mr. Dubal devotes:

14 pages (2% of the book) to pre-Baroque music
44 pages (6%) to Baroque music
77 pages (11%) to the Classical era (including Beethoven)
355 pages (52%) to Romantic music
194 pages (28%) to the Age of Modernism

In revising this worthy book for a much-needed second edition, Mr. Dubal will surely bring it up to date by including Osvaldo Golijov and other new composers of significance.

Most importantly, Mr. Dubal needs to treat music before the Romantic era more equitably. The major Baroque figures are now limited to three: Handel, JS Bach and Domenico Scarlatti. There is no question that others (such as Corelli, Vivaldi and Telemann) deserve to be seen as major figures of the Baroque era and that more fine pre-Baroque and Baroque composers deserve inclusion in the book. Early music is being viewed, and rightly so, as of great importance.

Mr. Dubal could also afford to slim down the Romantic composers who certainly do not represent 52% of all that classical music has to offer. (Frederick Delius wrote some nice music but he does not warrant major status with 5 full pages devoted to him!)

In sum, a fine and useful book but unbalanced. Very weak on early music. Short on the great music and its makers before Romanticism, before the 19th century.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compendium of Cool Composers
Anything you wanted to know about you favourite classical composer, you will find it here. Written in an extremely accessible style. Covers composers from Medieval to Modern periods. Includes glossary of musical terms. Absolutely awesome!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A "Regular People" Review
This book I believe is a good "2nd Step" into classical music, meaning you know a little about a few pieces, a few composers, etc.Now you want to know what to look into next, and you don't know anyone who likes classical music because you've spent most of the last four years of your life in Iraq...sorry about that. Anyway this book is great, a lot of info about nearly every relevant composer and most of the relevant pieces.Getting ready to make the 2nd step? Read this...and keep me updated! ... Read more

11. The NPR Classical Music Companion: An Essential Guide for Enlightened Listening
by Miles Hoffman
Paperback: 320 Pages (2005-11-22)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618619453
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

"Whether you know a lot about music or nothing at all, Miles Hoffman will help you think about what you listen to and how you listen. This book is a great achievement. There's nothing else out there like it." -- Wynton Marsalis, composer, trumpeter, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in music

An irresistible tour through the lexicon of classical music, The NPR Classical Music Companionoffers an essential education certain to increase any listener's understanding and appreciation of this potentially daunting musical genre. Miles Hoffman sheds light on more than 130 words and concepts that listeners may encounter in CD booklets, on the radio, in classical concert programs, or in newspaper reviews. These wholly delightful, accessible entries touch on fascinating topics, including what makes a good or a bad conductor, what musical term is most often misused, and why opera was invented. Whether you are an experienced concertgoer or have only recently been introduced to the music of Mozart and Beethoven, Hoffman's clear explanations will both enlighten and entertain.

"A musical guide filled with wit and unique charm. There are delicious musical morsels to delight everyone, from the novice to the scholar." -- Eugenia Zukerman, author, flutist, and arts correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning

"[Hoffman] takes the myth and starch out of classical music." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Carefully researched . . . informal and informative. . .a reader-friendly book." -- Washington Post

Miles Hoffman is music commentator for National Public Radio(R) 's Morning Edition(R). A graduate of Yale University and the Juilliard School, he is the violist and artistic director of the American Chamber Players.
Amazon.com Review
Ever wondered what makes a conductor good or bad, or why a guitar has frets? The NPR Classical Music Companion answers these questions and many more in its 130 entries, which tackle the complicated lexicon of classical music from a capella all the way through zarzuela. Author Miles Hoffman defines basic terms, forms, and concepts while tracing major movements, providing context, and offering illustrative examples from well-known composers and works. A commentator on NPR's popular classical music program Performance Today, Miles Hoffman writes about music with clarity, humor, and grace. The result is a highly readable reference geared, as Hoffman writes, for the "ordinary listener." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars 1997 edition... well-crafted and quite useful!
I have the 1997 edition of this book (I think there might be a newer one) but it's really not outdated in any way that I could detect.

This book truly is a "companion" for those who enjoy listening to classical music. It's written in everyday language to explain classical music history, terms, and concepts to the lay person, (which I am). You need no musical training whatever to understand every word in this fine work of 306 pages.

Author Miles Hoffman assembled this book from his NPR radio program, "Coming to Terms," which was a facet of the host program, "Performance Today." The author clearly knows his stuff and even experienced musicians from every genre of music can benefit from his writings, everything from "A Capella" to "Zarzuela."

But this is much more than just a dictionary. Hoffman explains the history of musical instruments, musical techniques, notation of musical scores, and much more. He also gives us specific compositions for which many of us may be searching -- for example, under "Woodwind Instruments," we learn which composers wrote significant compositions for each of the woodwinds, say the flute for example. He tells us here of a few works of both J.S. Bach and of Handel which may generate special interest for those folks who particularly enjoy hearing the flute in classical music.

In summary, I'm quite glad that I acquired and read this terrific specialized classical music guide. I have assembled my own classical music CD collection of over 500 discs and I will now understand and appreciate this magnificent and timeless music much more so than I did before I laid hands on The NPR Classical Music Companion: Terms and Concepts from A to Z. Highly recommended!

(And I also recommend an "NPR BOOK" which nicely supplements Hoffman's work, The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection : The 350 Essential Works for those who wish to eliminate chaos and confusion as they expand their classical music CD collection.)

5-0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable, informative read
I am new to the study of classical music. I have thus far found this book very useful and easy to read. In fact I relish my few minutes with it every few days.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Musical Dictionary
This book is exactly what it says it is-terms and concepts from A to Z. Its a dictionary. It explains general classical music terms and phrases. One great thing about this book is you don't have to read it from beginning to end.
Each entry in the book is well defined (sometimes a few pages long). I read the whole book and thought it was interesting, humorous, and educating.
There are entries explaining many of the instruments in classical music (ones that are still used and some that are not). There are also sections on dynamics and notation with charts and a few helpful pictures. There is also a chart of equivalent notes.
This book is by no means inclusive. It is however, a great starting point.
Some of the terms included in this book are:
absolute pitch, aria, arpeggio, beat, cadence, cantata, fugue, harmony, key, meter, opus number, pitch, rubato, scale, sonata, tempo and rhythm.
Hope this helps you!

4-0 out of 5 stars an inexpensive introductory reference
I am a fan of Miles Hoffmann's engaging and educational "Coming to Terms" segment on NPR's "Performance Today," and this companion-style book provides an excellent source to follow with.It is like a paperback musical glossary that defines the broadest ideas and terms within the classical music world, in language that is easily understood.You will not see as much detail within the entries as you would find, say, in the thrice-as-expensive "Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians" (my reference of choice), nor will you find as much enthusiasm for classical music as you would encounter in Karl Haas's "Inside Music," two factors which make the NPR book a bit middle-of-the-road.Nevertheless, given its size, price, and approachable contents, I would recommend this guide as THE reference (glossary/dictionary) to use for anyone new to classical music.

5-0 out of 5 stars LIstening With Intelligence
Now anyone can understand the somewhat dazzyling array of Italian and other "foreign language" musical terms that are bantered about if one listens to classical music.

Here Hoffman provides help in the form of this companion book which includes not only forte-piano to diminuendo, but also provides neat sections on musical instrument families and what I find really helpful, "Character Pieces" such as "Etude" "Scherzo" etc.

Will enhance anyone's ability to understand what we're listening to. ... Read more

12. Classical Music of North India the First Years of Study: The Music of the Baba Allauddin Gharana As Taught by Ali Akbar Khan at the Ali Akbar College of Music
by Ali Akbar Khan
Hardcover: 381 Pages (2004-12-31)
list price: US$49.00 -- used & new: US$25.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 812150872X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This is a book of and about the classical music of North India, among the oldest continual musical traditions of the world. Presented here is a small part of the musical legacy of one of the foremost families which has preserved and collected this ancient music and developed it to the highest standards: the Baba Allauddin Gharana of the Seni tradition. This volume introduces the great richness and variety of the different styles of music as taught by one of the century's greatest musicians, Ali Akbar Khan. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-have
This is a must-have, not just for reference on your library shelf, but as a practical workbook - which simulates the first year's study at the famous Ali Akbar Khan college of music in California (as the title declares).
What most appeals is the clarity of the editing by George Ruckert - himself a formidable performer, teacher and academic on the subject. Peppered with enjoyable photos and quotes from Khan-sahib himself, this book makes the learning experience as close as it can to being with a master, and would be a valuable aid even if you do have the real "guru" experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars great for when you don't have access to a teacher
i use this book pretty much every day
has history, theory, tons of exercises and plenty of compositions to help you begin to learn some of the basics of hindustani classical music
i've had other books before, but often they just list ascending and descending scales and sometimes a chalan which doesn't really help you grasp the real sound or core of a rag - of course, a book can't come close to actually studying with a master, but this can definitely help during the times where we must study without a teacher ... Read more

13. Classical Music 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Classical Music
by Fred Plotkin
Paperback: 688 Pages (2002-09-18)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$11.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786886277
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A Paperback Original.

The author who has taught tens of thousands of people to love opera now introduces readers to the rich and soul-stirring world of classical music.

For anyone who is aching to discover classical music, this comprehensive and accessible book is the ideal teacher. Writing in the clear and highly entertaining prose that made Opera 101 the standard text in its field, Fred Plotkin -- music expert, teacher, lecturer, and famous author -- presents classical music in a way that respects both the reader and the art form. In Classical Music 101: --The reader will discover how to become an expert listener, which is essential for learning to love classical music.
--A thousand years of music are explored, with emphasis on great works in all styles. Significant composers will be profiled in depth, including Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and many more.

--Important musicians, such as pianist Emanuel Ax, singer Marilyn Horne, and conductor James Levine, speak about their art in interviews.

Classical Music 101, the newest addition to a highly successful series intended for readers who don't consider themselves dummies or idiots, will help the person drawn to the finer things in life (and readers who don't know how to approach them) discover the glories of music. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

2-0 out of 5 stars Sorry, but too basic for me
I've given this book a couple of chances, but, I can't TAKE IT ANYMORE!
For one, this book is a huge ponderous tome, and he uses a lot of words, and takes
a lot of time, to
say one little thing.He has a problem getting to the point.

If you are the type of reader who likes light, fluffy, not much to think about
authors, this is the book for you.

If you are looking for facts to learn, this might be the book for you,
if you can put up with the long, drawn out chit chat all through this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent speed of delivery and quality of book
I got this very quickly, and it was in great shape.

1-0 out of 5 stars ZZZZZZZZZZZ.......ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ........ZZZZZZZZZ
As you listen to this piece close your eyes and try to imagine... YOU DIDNT THROW YOUR MONEY AWAY ON THIS!!!!!!It is long winded and boring.You really dont need someone to teach you how to hear.I fell asleep listening to it.Seriously, buy anything else.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, but light on technical terms.
This is certainly an acceptable book on listening to classical music for beginners, and Mr. Plotkin obviously knows a great deal about the subject. However, the author's introductory promise not to treat us like "dummies" or "idiots" (references to other guidebooks he wants to distance himself from), are not wholly kept. I found much value in the content of the book, but the tone of the writing is unbearably "dick and jane-ish" - to the point that I sometimes just had to put the book down and walk away for a while. In particular the lecture on listening is profoundly didactic.

I also was disappointed that there was not more attention paid to the technical terms used for different aspects of classical music. There is definitely no succinct glossary of terms. If you want to know this stuff, I encourage a hunt and peck journey on wikipedia.

One very good feature of the book is an extensive list of concert halls, internet resources, and other bits of ephemera of interest to the classical music novice.

Overall, it's a decent book to own, but I didn't like it enough to recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars A New Classical Music Convert
At its core this book teaches you how to listen to classical music. The general format of the book is giving some theory and history, and then has you listen to a piece of music. The author then explains the music and also tells you what to listen for.

For example the book starts off by developing your listening skills. You'll learn about various instruments in the orchestra and then listen to a few recordings. Then the author teaches you how to interpret the music, and how to form your own ideas about it.

Once the foundation is laid, you'll learn how to listen to symphonies by various composers. After that you'll focus on music for a specific instrument - piano, strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. The last section of the book is about how to listen to vocal music and how to feel music.

One thing to beware of is that you will need access to the music to get the full benefit of the book. I personally used the online music service Rhapsody which had most pieces of music. Another thing is this book is not a quick read, so be prepared to spend a lot of time listening to music.

If you a beginner to classical music I highly recommend this book.
... Read more

14. The Rough Guide to Classical Music (Rough Guide Music Reference)
by Joe Staines
Paperback: 688 Pages (2010-05-17)
list price: US$29.99 -- used & new: US$16.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1848364768
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"The Rough Guide to Classical Music" is the ideal handbook, spanning a thousand years of music from Gregorian chant via Bach and Beethoven to contemporaries such as Thomas Ades and Kaija Saariaho. Both a CD buyer's guide and a who's who, the guide includes concise biographical profiles of more than 200 composers and informative summaries of the major compositions in all genres, from chamber works to operatic epics. For novices and experts alike, the fully updated fifth edition features contemporary composer Helmut Lachenmann and Widor, the 19th century organ composer of 'Toccata' wedding fame, as well as dozens more works added for existing composers. You'll find an new 'Top 10's' section with accessible introductory listings including the Top 10 operas and the Top 10 symphonies plus new essay boxes on topics such as 'Baroque - a style or a period?' and 'The clarinet comes of age'. "The Rough Guide to Classical Music" features fresh and incisive reviews of hundreds of CDs, selecting the very best of the latest recordings and reissues as well as more than 150 illustrations of composers and performers, including a rare archive of photos. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best place to start to explore classical music
This book is invaluable for those who have a limited knowledge of classical music and want to expand their listening repertoire. The choice of composers is excellent - of course when the number is limited (200+), one can always gripe about the favourites that have been left out. The accounts are written in a lively, up-beat style which does not compromise the fidelity of the information and the major works are well chosen. Finally a couple of key recordings are recommended - they tend towards the conservative, but pretty much ensure that the new listener will not be disappointed.

I would certainly recommend this book above the NPR guide and other "beginners guides" I have seen. Testimony to that is the fact that my copy has fallen apart from overuse over the years and is now held together with rubber bands. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Bios
I'll start off by saying that I'm not rating this book based on it's CD recommendations.My knowledge of all the recorded versions of any particular composition is not vast enough for that critique.

However the biographies are excellent; Well written and intriguing within the concise bounds required by this format.
If fact you will probably read about and become interested in many composers that you know little about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent NearPerfect Music Guide!
Truly, all the ROUGH GUIDES are top notch! This beautifully designed book will give you not only the basic pieces of just about every leading composer through the present, but also picks the top CD performances. Plus there are short bios on leading players and conductors. Did you know there is a collection of about 94 CD's by Toscanini, for example, (who, I did not know, lived in to his mid 90's). Browsing thru, say, Mozart on Beethoven, you get a terrific rundown on their top pieces and performances, plus bios and place in musical history. Plus there are many relative unknowns who I never knew! One very small criticism..Where are the 2 American composers, Edward MacDowell, and Amy Beach? (Maybe in later editions. Mine is dated 1994).In sum, a very fine book, even with these monir flaws!

3-0 out of 5 stars More helpful with composers than recordings
I bought the Rough Guide to Classical Music a couple years back to complement the other reference guides in my library. Having used it a couple years, I can say it provides nice summaries of composers and the compostions they rate. It also provides some fascinating features -- such as "What Is a Fugue?" and "Sonata and Sonata Form" -- that provide information the average collector will find helpful if he/she is not a practicing musician.

However, the main reason people buy these books is to get information on CDs they intend to purchase or add to their collection. I use this one and a half-dozen others as reference for that purpose.

On that score, I find the Rough Guide is an average book. I say this because the authors tend to give highest grades to the most oft-recommended CD of a particular piece of music and never -- never -- go off the beaten track to recommend anything outside the standard circle of well known conductors, performers and orchestras.

This tells me the authors of this book do not have a very comprehensive working relationship with classical CDs, even though they have written a book recommending same! This pattern becomes almost predicatable after while. In fact, this book can become more conservative than the ultraconservative American Record Guide in making recommendations on core repertoire.

For the Beethoven Violin Concerto -- which every violinist in history has taken a shot or two at -- this book goes back to World War II to recommend the Menhiun-Furtwangler recording and recommends a Heifitz recording on an old Music and Arts CD. To give balance to current performers, they also include a recommendation for the more recent Hilary Hahn recording.

I've heard all these recordings and Heifitz could not be more different than Hahn. Most collectors that enjoy one would not care for the other, although they might buy it to build their collection. But Heifitz, who jets through the concerto in less than 40 minutes, is a far cry from the romanticism of Hahn and Menhuin.

On the basis of this kind of thing happening over and over again in these pages, I'd say the Rough Guide authors either haven't heard all the recordings out there or they consciously make an effort to satisfy old timers and DDD fanatics simultaneously. Nothing wrong with trying to keep everyone happy, I suppose, although to me it seems like a lack of vision.

Furthermore, the book does not include recordings by a number of composers of note. Bernhard Henrik Crusell, a Scandanaivan composer whose three clarinet concertos have been recorded a half-dozen times in recent years, is not represented in the book. Neither is Franz Krommer, a Moravian Romantic era composer that published several symphonies and a number of popular and often recorded woodwind works.

Meanwhile, composers Carol Gesauldo and Morton Feldman found their way into this book. Also included are Guillame de Machaut, Elisabeth Luytens and Perotin. A living composer named Sofia Gubaidulina gets as many pages in this book as Carl Maria von Weber and more than Einojuhani Rautavarra, the most popular of all living composers.

For these reasons, no serious collector could consider the Rough Guide to Classical Music a core item in their library. I've been collecting books on 78, LP, tape and compact disk criticism going back to "Ewen's Musical Masterpieces", first published in 1954 (Ewen also recommended the Heifitz recording in Beethoven, the old RCA Victor ICT 1010).

I find this book helpful on occasion but, more often that not, it pretends to be a lot more thorough than it is.

4-0 out of 5 stars An overall helpful book...
This book I found to be an overall quick and easy reference book, there are of course more explicit and more informative books around, but this book is great for an overall view of a composer's life and famous works.But there are several things that I must attend to in this review and that would be: I believe it would be really nice if instead of alphabetical order they would have catagorized them into their eras, but of course this would most likely be only appeasing to me or some other person who knows what eras they are in, so if you don't know about eras etc. then this should not discourage you in any way.I also was rather disappointed that the author yeilded into only putting in their most famous works, which is fine and all, it just even more obscures some of the composer's works of equal quality that have been placed in the back row.(ex: Mozart's string quintets are very famous and I grant, excellent, but why is it that no one ever hears his string Duos and trios which are of equal greatness?)Again, nothing to discourage you from buying this book.But overall this book is a great reference source for novices and experts alike. ... Read more

15. Why Classical Music Still Matters
by Lawrence Kramer
Paperback: 256 Pages (2009-01-07)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0520258037
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"What can be done about the state of classical music?" Lawrence Kramer asks in this elegant, sharply observed, and beautifully written extended essay. Classical music, whose demise has been predicted for at least a decade, has always had its staunch advocates, but in today's media-saturated world there are real concerns about its viability. Why Classical Music Still Matters takes a forthright approach by engaging both skeptics and music lovers alike.
In seven highly original chapters, Why Classical Music Still Matters affirms the value of classical music--defined as a body of nontheatrical music produced since the eighteenth century with the single aim of being listened to--by revealing what its values are: the specific beliefs, attitudes, and meanings that the music has supported in the past and which, Kramer believes, it can support in the future.
Why Classical Music Still Matters also clears the air of old prejudices. Unlike other apologists, whose defense of the music often depends on arguments about the corrupting influence of popular culture, Kramer admits that classical music needs a broader, more up-to-date rationale. He succeeds in engaging the reader by putting into words music's complex relationship with individual human drives and larger social needs. In prose that is fresh, stimulating, and conversational, he explores the nature of subjectivity, the conquest of time and mortality, the harmonization of humanity and technology, the cultivation of attention, and the liberation of human energy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointment
I was recently astounded to hear that some malls have been piping in classical music to keep kids from congregating; it seems most modern kids literally "can't stand" classical music. I picked up this little book to see if it might quickly give shape to the reasons I have for my long love affair with classical music.Alas, if I were looking for philosophy and aesthetics, I would have given it a very careful read; but my interest here was not academic, and I wanted a quck answer, which I did not easily find.Well, maybe I did receive my quick answer, in a backhand sort of way.Classical music takes mental effort, concentration, and emotional availablility.I brought none of these qualities to the book as I do bring them to my classical listening.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why Classical Music Still Matters
The book is very well written. The topics are very well developed. The reader will find very entertaining, especially those who want the basics of classical music. I had a problem with the book I received, it had a defect: 11 were blank sheets. Reported this to Amazon and they sent me another book at no cost.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why musical meaning still intrigues us
Sure, we enjoy listening to classical music, but why should the music really matter to us? Lawrence Kramer has set himself quite a challenge trying to answer that question, and understanding his argument in this brief but difficult book is no less of a challenge for the reader.

The latter is partly a function of Kramer's prose-poetic style: you're invited to negotiate 226 pages of such passages as "Regardless of the specific analogies involved, thinking about the performer or performance in the sense of creative reproduction and worldly activity takes us into the wider field of human performances, both symbolic and material, and therefore into the realms of action, desire, social condition, and the vitality of experience." Philosophical arguments about aesthetic value are notoriously difficult to follow in any event; it comes with the territory.

While Kramer has only good things to say about jazz and pop music, he locates a reflexive, ambivalent individualism -- the product of Enlightenment values and a fundamental condition of modernity -- in "classical" music, here identified with European art music from Bach to Ligeti. If the burden of creativity in jazz and pop lies almost entirely within the power of the performer (or arranger), the classical score is a symbol, a notional concept of music; the actual music is created by the subjective listener, in close collaboration with the composer and the performer(s). Far from being "timeless", classical music is provisional; it exists only in the hearing of the listening subject, and so the music has different meanings in different contexts, from the concert hall to the movie soundtrack.

Kramer's summary chapters on musical value bookend the essay, whose individual chapters focus on melody, which enacts a journey through experience; on score and performance, or the musical expression of emotions that we can't, or won't, put into words (Kramer's examples drawn from Hollywood movies are persuasive here); on art songs of loss and defiance, and the life-affirming process of finding meaning in them; on the paradox of classical piano music, which centers on a machine designed for players to embody mind and spirit, both their own and the composer's; and finally, a chapter on how art music creates a sense of cultural memory, a critical and reflexive sense that transcends mere nostalgia.

This is by no means an easy book to read, but I finished it with a richer sense of what this music has to offer to the engaged listener: the stimulation of a wider imaginative freedom, with which to better grasp the relation of [musical] work to world. And if classical music still matters, that's not too much to ask of it. ... Read more

16. The Story of Classical Music
by Darren Henley
Audio Cassette: Pages (2004-12)
list price: US$17.98 -- used & new: US$14.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9626348143
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This lively recording is a perfect way to introduce classical music to the entire family. It looks at the music through the lives of the great composers and their environment, from the churches and cathedrals that produced the familiar sound of Gregorian chant, to Johann Sebastian Bach, the family man composing for the glory of God, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the child prodigy, genius and prankster who wrote some of the finest music ever yet was buried in a pauper's grave. The story will be taken to the composers of the 21st century. This unusual and special production by the two most important brand names in classical music includes more than 100 musical examples taken from the extensive Naxos catalogue. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Classical Music
"The Story Of Classical Music" produced by Naxos AudioBooks is an excellent introduction to Classical music. The 4 CD set traces the origins and progression of classical music from the Medieval Period through the 20th century. "The Story Of Classical Music" is written by Darren Henley and read by Marin Alsop. Each CD is loaded with many wonderful musical excerpts/examples from the vast Naxos label and includes the Naxos catalog numbers next to each track as a convenience. Total playing times on the four CDs is 4 hours and 34 minutes. CD 4 doubles as an interactive CD-ROM chock full of extra great features, including the composers, musical instruments, national flags and anthems, and much more, with additional audio examples. Clearly, the text is written and read with older children in mind. However, this should not deter anyone from purchasing this comprehensive and enjoyable release. The whole family will love it. The price is also an unbelievable bargain. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to classical music for the beginners
This is a great review of classical music for the beginners.

This audiobook will give you a review of classical music over the history and introduce you to the most famous composers and their work.
The audio book reading is smooth and easy and the included music samples are just superb!


5-0 out of 5 stars Great to listen to while stuck in DC traffic!
I am an adult; but relatively new to the world of classical music.I began listening and enjoying classical almost exclusively about 10 years ago. Having never studied music or it's history, this CD set is just great for me to learn more about the orgins of my 'new' favorite music. I recommend this set for young adults and old adults too!

5-0 out of 5 stars A great set!
An amazing CD set.My kids haven't stopped asking for it.It is informative and entertaining and our whole family has learned quite a bit that we did not know before.It really introduces you to the composers and ties them together in time and space.

4-0 out of 5 stars wonderful listening
This is a wonderful CD that will entertain and inform the listener.It is geared toward children but all ages will enjoy and learn from it.Initially I began listening without reading the pamphlet and was puzzled by the narrator's New York accent.Professional narrators are typically devoid of any and while this is not thick, it is evident, as in au-ways and go-wing.I then read the material and realized eminent conductor was chosen to narrate.While the voice is pleasant and with just the right amount of animation, a non-accent would have been preferable.This was not a grating accent but it was something of a distraction for me.

Chopin was described as having died of a disease called consumption.Tuberculosis would have been a more accurate and professional term to use.

Nonetheless, I highly recommend this work and would encourage all libraries, classrooms, and homes to have it as part of their collection.Disk 4 is outstanding for its content and resources.Be sure to get right to it and go through all of the features.It's really quite excellent and well done.Kudos to the team that put this package together.Good work! ... Read more

17. The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music 2008
by Ivan March, Edward Greenfield, Robert Layton
Paperback: 1568 Pages (2007-10-10)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$10.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002NPCW5G
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This book has remained the best and most successful guide to classical music for over 40 years. Fully revised by its team of eminent authors and written with wit and passion, "The Penguin Guide" offers reviews of all the latest releases as well as the finest established recordings; the greatest historic performances; the major period instrument recordings; an in-depth survey of the best of the budget-priced CDs; and, a core collection of 100 handpicked CDs that every serious classical music fan should own. Now published annually for the first time, this book is essential reading. "Indispensable, illuminating and comprehensive" - "The Times". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

1-0 out of 5 stars steep decline in quality
Sadly this publication has slipped badly. Did they really have an editor?? I loved this book in past editions-they led to my deepening appreciation of classical music and through them I made many great discoveries. This edition is a mess however-inconsistent, full of typos,confusing, repetitive, and a waste.Hope somebody straightens this out. wish I had gotten my money back.

5-0 out of 5 stars 6 STARS! A Bible for Classical Music
I have used all the verions of this reference bible, so to speak, for 20 years. My entire (well over 300) CD Library was based on this book. Yes, they favor British and European artists, but they work extensively with the BBC and its treasure trove of 'live' recordings over the last 60 years. The bonus is, they now include DVD reviews.

3-0 out of 5 stars Penguin classics
Still a good guide to classic recordings and now includes DVDs, but many of the recordings cited are unobtainable.Reviews now seem to focus on musical integrity and make no mention of the sound quality of the CDs.Still, a lot better than just guessing!

1-0 out of 5 stars Extremely disappointing
I agree with the negative reviews posted here.I have been buying this guide regularly for decades, and look forward to each new issue avidly, despite the ever-lengthening trail of nonsensical statements that have survived cut-and-paste editing as recordings are added or (especially) deleted from the list.I can kind of forgive this particular widespread mess, as the task of editing such a huge volume with less than an army of editorial staff is truly daunting.Despite the ever-worsening series of little faults, it has always been the Gold Standard for serious collectors of classical recordings.But the latest edition has finally toppled over into the mud.For the first time there are fewer entries rather than more compared to the last full edition, and the ax has been wielded completely to several composers.Adios, Alberto Gerhard!The Guide has always been good about covering new recordings very promptly, but this time there are many, many important new issues that have not been included.The bulk is just as great as before, but that is because the space is used up with larger typeface and the introduction of superfluous boxes around chosen recordings.The plethora of distinguishing marks given to different recordings is almost impossible to parse and borders on the comical.Three stars for a fully recommended recording, three stars with a key for "key recordings", now FOUR stars for fully fully fully fully recommended recordings, and four stars with a rosette for, well, gosh, if everything else is so fully extra-special wonderful, these must be guaranteed to change your life.The evaluation process has degenerated into a form of hype.Since almost all recordings that previously received a less-than-three-star rating have been dropped, this leaves this as pretty much a Guide to Recommended Recordings.You might think it is not much of a loss to drop listings of less-recommended recordings, but it was always possible to develop an understanding of the well-marked biases and limitations of the three editors by seeing which kinds of interpretations they tended to give lower ratings, and therefore to compensate for the basic dullness and correctness of their very British critical bias.This strategy is no longer available for readers.

So, after many, many years of excitedly snapping up each new edition, I will probably not be buying any more Penguin Guides to Classical Music.(The sad demise of one of the two editors of the Penguin Guide to Jazz probably puts an end to that wonderful publication as well.) I am seriously disappointed, and, considering the hundreds of hours I have spent with the various editions of this publication, I actually feel I have lost a small corner of my life that has given me a lot of pleasure.

It may be that the Guide is still useful to newer collectors, but it a sad comedown from its own established level.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic music lovers' sourcebook gets better and better
After purchasing The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings: Eighth Edition (Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings) and being very happy with it, this was an obvious choice for me to start getting a handle on my classical music collection. The book is well organized and attempts to be comprehensive, but given the expanse of classical music available, invariably some of your personal favorite recordings will be left out of this tome. (One of my all time favorites, and a recurring title of many "must have" classical music lists, Mussorgsky: Pictures at An Exhibition was left out, for example.) This volume uses a box summary with symbols and abbreviations that allow them to distinguish certain recordings from others, and it is very useful with a not-too-steep learning curve. Unlike the jazz version, this does not attempt to establish a "core collection", leaving the digging and experimenting to the reader/listener. All in all, anyone who purchases classical music on a regular basis would serve themselves well to have this book handy. ... Read more

18. The Beatles for Classical Guitar (Guitar Solo)
by The Beatles
Paperback: 80 Pages (2000-06-01)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$10.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0634015796
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Includes 20 solos from big Beatles hits arranged for classical guitar, complete with left-hand and right-hand fingering. Songs include: All My Loving * And I Love Her * Can't Buy Me Love * Fool on the Hill * From a Window * Hey Jude * If I Fell * Let It Be * Michelle * Norwegian Wood * Obla Di * Ticket to Ride * Yesterday * and more. Features arrangements and an introduction by Joe Washington, as well as his helpful hints on classical technique and detailed notes on how to play each song. The book also covers parts and specifications of the classical guitar, tuning, and Joe's "Strata System" - an easy-reading system applied to chord diagrams. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Guitar Player
This product has given one of my adult sons many, many hours of guitar playing pleasure and has opened his love of music to expanding his ability in the classical area.

3-0 out of 5 stars Caution: Potential Incorrect Listing
I'm not sure how many stars to give because I'm not sure which book the listing is for.

The blurb shows the tune list from volume one of Joe Washington's two-volume "Beatles for Classical Guitar" books that came out in either the late 70's or early 80's and deserve all the praise other reviewers have given them. Interesting, artful arrangements by someone who clearly understood the expressive potential of the nylon-string guitar.

The "Look Inside", however shows an edition of "Beatles for Classical Guitar" arranged by Larry Beekman. With all due respect to Mr. Beekman, while his choice of tunes rivals Joe Washington's, his arranging skill does not.

Beekman's book contains 30 tunes while the listing for Washington's looks like it only includes his volume one. If the listing is in fact for Washington's book, it's a shame they don't bundle the smaller volume two with it.

So which one comes if you order? That's the mystery question. All of these books are notation-only.

If steel-string is your thing, an even more troubling situation exists with "Fingerpicking Beatles", shown as a companion item. The original Amsco edition was by Eric Schoenberg, who was (and hopefully still is) a marvelous ragtime-style player whose Beatles arrangements were completely idiomatic yet rich enough to put the songs across. Unlike Juber, Schoenberg stuck closely to and around standard tuning.

The "revised edition" of "Fingerpicking Beatles" by Hal Leonard is a no-name disaster that appeares to have done by a keyboard player with limited understanding
of the guitar. If you can find a used copy of Schoenberg's original, go for it, otherwise steer clear.

3-0 out of 5 stars good arrangements -- odd selections
I suppose there will always be selections we wish would have been arranged instead of others(after all this is the Beatles) but this seems far to heavy on the bubble-gum era. Those tunes just don't work very well as instrumentals. There are maybe a dozen or so really nice arrangements though. The Harrison songs are very easy and well done -- same for come together, across the Universe, and long and winding road. the 'In my life'
arrangements is horrible though - so if you mainly are after this song, look elsewhere. Nothing here challenging for an advanced classical guitarist -- and there is no tab. But for Christsakes, if you are a musician learn to read music -- it's not rocket science.

3-0 out of 5 stars Best Than Could Be Done
I like The Beatles, always have, but their music is not really suited to solo classical guitar.To my ears it seems simple and overly repetitive when played that way.It doesn't do the music justice.The same goes for most pop music by the way.Listen to any decent recorded version "Classical Gas" with orchestra, then learn and play the solo version.The magic is lost.Sorry to be negative.I bought this songbook with high hopes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Music
My 12 year old son is learning these songs with his classical guitar teacher. She also bought a copy since she enjoyed it as well. ... Read more

19. A Modern Approach to Classical Repertoire - Part 1: Guitar Technique (Modern Approach to Classical Guitar)
by Charles Duncan
Paperback: 56 Pages (1984-12-01)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$4.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0793526272
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A graded anthology of solo pieces (easy to intermediate) that serves as a supplement to Books Two and Three of A Modern Approach To Classical Guitar. Features compositions by: Sor * Giuliani * Carulli * Krieger * Caroso * DeVisee * Couperin * Telemann * others. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Modern Approach to Classical Repertoire-Part 1
Absolutely a great book if you want some beautiful guitar pieces to play that are beginning to intermediate levels of difficulty.Fifty-five pieces of some of the historically best classical guitar pieces ever written.Some of the composers are: Sor, Giuliani, Carulli, Carcassi, DeVisee, Diabelli, Logy, Purcell and others.

Many of the pieces are perfect for wedding music, and can be easily sight-read if you are a moderately good sight-reader.All notation is clear and well-written, with very helpful left and right hand fingering suggestions included.NO TAB! (yeah!) so you will have to be able to read music notation but don't be afraid - the first few pieces are very easy.

I teach classical guitar and have many of my students purchase this book.The pieces in it add greatly to their repertoire and are very impressive to listen to them being played. I have owned this book for many years and it is one that I draw upon frequently.Maybe I should buy a new one since it is so worn now, but I'll wait until it completely falls apart.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection for advanced beginner/intermediate player
This is a very accessible collection. (Note that it is misnamed by Amazon; the title is actually "Classical Guitar Repertoire: A Graded Anthology of Solo Pieces," and it has nothing to do with technique per se -- go to the Duncan method books for that.) Each piece has some inherent musical value, however simple it may be; and there is a mix of melodic pieces and technical exercises. Unlike many collections, the grade is not too steep; you should be able to play all or almost all of the pieces within a year if you practice diligently. Unlike the other reviewer, however, I would recommend starting with a teacher right away if you can find a competent one. I know that I developed a number of bad habits that took considerable work to get rid of, and I would have learned faster and had more fun if I had had a teacher.

Two-thirds of the pieces here are at what Duncan calls "achievement level two," a designation which matches his method book (a good buy on Amazon, although I've never used it much but do own it). The rest of the pieces are for the third-level student, and they are significantly harder but still within reach.

I would also recommend getting another book of Renaissance pieces if you enjoy that era as I do. The vast majority of the pieces here are Classical,and I myself prefer the Baroque and Elizabethan pieces. Also, if you want to learn something with a serious Spanish flavor, e.g., a Malaguena, you will have to look elsewhere, as Duncan is squarely in the Classical era. Sor, Carcassi, Carulli, etc. are here, but Duncan doesn't even include any Bach, although there is a beautiful little piece by Krieger and another by de Visee.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent music collection to start with
I've had this book for over five years and the music sounds great.It starts out with relatively easy pieces and you can learn to play nice sounding music from the get-go.Right and Left hand notation is used for problem areas.The author lists the notes/min that you can match with a metronome to get a sense of a goal of how fast to play. Most of the pieces are in the first five frets. If you want to progress beyond five frets, I would hook up with a teacher. All the pieces area good mix of Sor, giuliani, carulli, carcassi, etc. ... Read more

20. The Classical Music Experience With Web Site, Second Edition: Discover the Music of the World's Greatest Composers
by Julius Jacobson II M.D.
Hardcover: 384 Pages (2008-04-01)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$2.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1402211988
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Hear and Discover the sounds and stories of 65 great composers

The Classical Music Experience tells the stories of the world's most celebrated composers, ranging from Bach to Bernstein, including the works of Hayden, Beethoven, Rossini, Chopin, Brahms, Britten, Rachmaninoff and more. It weaves 500 years of history and music into a rich tapestry of sound and story unlike any other book of its kind.

On an exclusive web site, Kevin Kline guides you through illuminating excerpts of the music of the world's greatest composers. Plus, you'll get access to all the music featured in the book from Naxos, the world's leading classical music label, at Naxos.com.

You'll learn that:

--George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue was commissioned by a bandleader to prove that jazz could be socially acceptable if dressed in symphonic clothing.

--The rhythm of the opening four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony spells out the letter "V" in Morse code and came to stand for "Victory" to the Allies during World War II.

--Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring inspired a riot in the concert hall at its premiere in Paris on May 29, 1913.

...and much more! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good Tour Through The Classics and Their Composers
This was a great find in my public library.There are often many pieces I hear on the radio where I fail to catch the composer or even the name of the work and performer.This book filled in the blanks.It also led me to a greater appreciation of well known and not so well known compositions, and introduced me to many new works and composers unknown to me.

The writing is light and lively, often humorous with good and interesting historical facts.I actually used Youtube to listen to the recommended examples for each composer so that I could see and hear some variations and interpretations of a particular performance .I would have liked to have seen some more in depth explanations of some elements in the music, something not too technical, but a little more "look how the composer does this with these techniques and notes."

Overall, I would highly recommend this book for anylayman and student of classic music. ... Read more

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