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How Music Works Audiobook

How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond

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Publisher's Summary

An enthralling investigation into the mysteries of music. Have you ever wondered how off-key you are while singing in the shower? Or if your Bob Dylan albums really sound better on vinyl? Or why certain songs make you cry?

Now, scientist and musician John Powell invites you on an entertaining journey through the world of music. Discover what distinguishes music from plain old noise, how scales help you memorize songs, what the humble recorder teaches you about timbre (assuming your suffering listeners don’t break it first), why anyone can learn to play a musical instrument, what the absurdly complicated names of classical music pieces actually mean, how musical notes came to be (hint: you can thank a group of stodgy men in 1939 London for that one), how to make an oboe from a drinking straw, and much more.

With wit and charm, and in the simplest terms, Powell explains the science and psychology of music. Clever, informative, and deeply engaging, How Music Works takes the secrets of music away from the world of badly dressed academics and gives every one of us—whether we love to sing or play air guitar—the means to enhance our listening pleasure.

©2010 John Powell (P)2010 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

"Powell conveys the material with enough humor and cocktail party facts to keep the book light and fun." (Publisher's Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (360 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Gilmara Lima Mendes Piscataway, New Jersey 05-05-14
    Gilmara Lima Mendes Piscataway, New Jersey 05-05-14 Member Since 2016

    Audible Obsessed wishes she had more time for so many audiobooks.

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    "Enlightening, but..."

    Although the author tries to give layman an over view of music and how it works, if you don't know anything (or practically anything) this book is not for you. This book should be read, not listened to. This is the kind of book where you have to read some concepts over and over, and you also have to do some practice on your own (even though there is some demonstration at the end of each chapter, but it feels too theoretical).
    When I purchased this book, I thought I was going to learn about psychology of music, or even some concepts of music therapy, but this book is not about that. This book gets very technical at some points, and some dumb at others. I feel a little disappointed.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad Duluth, GA, United States 01-21-12
    Chad Duluth, GA, United States 01-21-12
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    "I recommend this to anyone who is in to music!"
    Would you listen to How Music Works again? Why?

    I would listen to this again so that I could brush up on some of the very helpful points this book makes.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    andrew Bountiful, UT, United States 11-25-11
    andrew Bountiful, UT, United States 11-25-11
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    "A Shade of Gray"

    Rather lifeless narration, as others have said. His voice is quiet and tedious. I also felt for much of the book that this company had discovered a man incapable of humor. Wasn't there a Saturday Night Live sketch about a disease where people were incapable of finding anything funny...He tells these jokes like he has no idea what a joke is. There is very little change in voice. The information was pretty interesting though, somewhat basic. But it will teach you to tune a pentatonic harp, and I learned enough that I felt my money was well spent. I'd have listened to it all in a few days if I could have kept my head up for more than two hours straight through the narration. Though he seemed more subtle and understated than stodgy by the end, when I'd adjusted to him.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LDY NH 05-17-16
    LDY NH 05-17-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Disappointing"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I expected meatier content. It was interesting to learn about the vibration cycles that constitute sounds or notes, but after that the author did not seem to have much to say. Lots of attempts at "humor" which I felt were only there to increase the word count (because the jokes were not funny.) Sorry to leave a crummy review, but I was very disappointed.

    Good narration. Kept me listening long after the content went missing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Orem, UT, US 04-20-16
    Amazon Customer Orem, UT, US 04-20-16
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    "Avuncular tour of all aspects of music"

    Simplified, yet detailed explanations of Music Theory, lightened with occasional British humor. The overall tone of the lecture is to encourage the listener to further exploration and a greater appreciation of all kinds of music.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elliott Ray 03-25-16
    Elliott Ray 03-25-16
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    "Informative"

    I definitely learned a few things, even though I've been studying music for years. I would definitely recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Tempe, AZ, USA 03-22-16
    Steven Tempe, AZ, USA 03-22-16 Member Since 2008
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    "Best music book on audible"

    Very interesting for novice and expert alike. Audiobook is great because it provides music samples to illustrate points.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrian 12-24-15
    Adrian 12-24-15
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    "Great info brought in an easy way"

    John Powell and the narrator Walter Dixon do a great job explaining the physics and other mysteries of music. I had so much fun listening to this. If you want to understand why music is music, this is a great book to start.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cora Hegler 11-18-15
    Cora Hegler 11-18-15
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    "Answers for the mysteries of Music"

    Thanks for the Fun information buffet on sounds, music, with great why and how explanations. The author served dessert at the end of each chapter with musical examples.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 06-04-15
    Lisa 06-04-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Not as detailed as I'd like"

    Wish there was actually more music theory in here, as well as more actual music (there is a bit), given that this is an audiobook. As an amateur guitarist of several years, knowing the basics of chords and scales, I don't feel like I learnt very much about music, other than a few tidbits.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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