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
"Powell conveys the material with enough humor and cocktail party facts to keep the book light and fun." (Publisher's Weekly)
The examples and the author's comments at the end of each chapter
No, it is a book to study slowly
I would listen to this again so that I could brush up on some of the very helpful points this book makes.
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.
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.
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.
I like history and biography, novels too. I do have a thing for zombie books as well. I need crappy thrillers now and then.
A few chapters--like those on the development of the diatonic scale are really interesting. The author himself steps in at the end of some chapters to demonstrate principles on his guitar, and this really helps. Problems: there are spoken passages referring to notes and scales that could easily have been backed by musical audio. There are hundreds of places where this could have been done. In a description of a flute, there's no sound bite of a flute. Curious why they didn't bother to use more sounds. Some of content is poorly suited to the audio format.
depends on the reader/listener. I am the kind of person who focuses best while driving, so audio books are great.
It covers a lot of basic information on sound and music in a straight-forward, easy-to-understand manner with enough humor to keep it from being dry.
YES - the writer should have a music theorist edit the terminology. There is a difference between a note (what we see on paper) and a pitch (what we hear). the author confuses these. There are a few other discrepancies which might hinder other music theory teachers from adopting this book.
Easly explained diference between ordinary music listener and those with perfect pitch, why some sounds match together and others not. How acients tuned their instruments and why it was standardized just in 1939. It's must have! for everyone who like to play or just learn to play an instrument.
Yes, it was.
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