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How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition Lecture

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition

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Publisher's Summary

Great music is a language unto its own, a means of communication of unmatched beauty and genius. And it has an undeniable power to move us in ways that enrich our lives - provided it is understood.

If you have ever longed to appreciate great concert music, to learn its glorious language and share in its sublime pleasures, the way is now open to you, through this series of 48 wonderful lectures designed to make music accessible to everyone who yearns to know it, regardless of prior training or knowledge. It's a lecture series that will enable you to first grasp music's forms, techniques, and terms - the grammatical elements that make you fluent in its language - and then use that newfound fluency to finally hear and understand what the greatest composers in history are actually saying to us.

And as you learn the gifts given us by nearly every major composer, you'll come to know there is one we share with each of them - a common humanity that lets us finally understand that these were simply people speaking to us, sharing their passion and wanting desperately to be heard. Using digitally recorded musical passages to illustrate his points, Professor Greenberg will take you inside magnificent compositions by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Verdi, Wagner, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and more. Even if you have listened to many of these illustrative pieces throughout your life - as so many of us have - you will never hear them the same way again after experiencing these lectures.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses

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  •  
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 12-10-13
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 12-10-13 Member Since 2013

    BJS

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    "If you want to learn about the history of music .."
    What made the experience of listening to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition the most enjoyable?

    Professor Greenberg loves has a passion for music and you know this with every word he speaks, he also makes the information fun. I laughed out loud a few times as well. This is like taking a 36 hour college course. You can't sit down and listen to more than 4 chapters at a time, but you'll want to because of Professor Greenberg.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Professor Greenberg....LOL


    Which character – as performed by Professor Robert Greenberg – was your favorite?

    Himself.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Couldn't do it.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a wonderful course, however like any college course you really don't want to take it again. One listen is more than enough to teach you quite a bit about ancient to modern music and Professor Greenberg makes it easy to get the knowledge.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wade Johnson 09-30-15
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    "Mind melted"

    With an undergrad in Music, I thought going into this would be a lot of repeat of things already known. I couldn't have been more wrong. Fascinating stuff. Beware though, 48 lectures can be quite a bit to take for the novice.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin A. Gower Point Pleasant, NJ USA 01-09-15
    Robin A. Gower Point Pleasant, NJ USA 01-09-15 Member Since 2011

    Robin

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    "Understanding enhances pleasure"

    Perfect balance of explanation and demonstration. Learned, genial teacher makes difficult ideas accessible. The pieces studied will be "owned" forever by the student.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David S Doty Austin, TX United States 10-13-14
    David S Doty Austin, TX United States 10-13-14 Member Since 2012
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    "The most illuminating Great Course I've heard yet"

    This is my third listen from the Great Courses. All have been very good, but this one was absolutely wonderful. I can't recommend it highly enough. I am one of the least musical people I know. I have no musical training, and one of the worst tin ears I know. Robert Greenberg was both highly entertaining and very clear. He made me understand concepts that could not be more foreign to me.

    For me, the course accomplished four things: 1) it explained concepts like polyphony, conjunct vs disjunct, and melisma, giving me a vocabulary to describe what I hear in a way I was never able to before.

    2) it explained various musical forms and the rules they follow, allowing me to know what I should be listening for in a particular piece of music, so that I can actually follow along instead of just listening and saying "that's pretty."

    3) it provided an overview of the history of western music, with all of its different periods, what each contributed to music theory, and what each was philosophically about.

    4) it exposed me to enough actual works of music that I was able to decide which periods (The Romantic), composers and works (too many to name here) appeal to me, and that I want to hear more of.

    If there was one negative, it is a small one. The Audible editions of The Great Courses come without written materials. Since this course is a minimum of $350 on the GC website and I got it for my $15 credit, I can't say it was a bad decision. With most courses, I never even notice that the written materials are missing. With this one, while I still found it very easy to follow and enjoy, there were many times that I wished I had the materials. He would discuss notation and refer to the materials, for example. I would wonder how to spell terminology I only heard pronounced. Now that it's over, I definitely wish I could just glance through a list of all the composers and works I had heard throughout, to refresh myself as to which ones I wanted to listen to more. Still, the course was very easy to follow without them, and it was definitely a small price to pay for 95% off.

    The professor has a large number of other courses from the company, and I am actually tempted to immediately dive into another one. Since I already have a backlog of other courses I purchased in a sale, I am forcing myself to move on to something else. But I am certain I will be listening to more of his courses soon, and will almost certainly be listening to this one again in the future.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 04-10-15
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 04-10-15 Member Since 2008

    Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It Doesn't Get Any Better!"

    I've spent the last four weeks immersed in this Great Course. I feel like I am coming away a changed, better person--enlightened, with my interest in classical music rekindled. I took an elective course in college many years ago, music listening, but I haven't experienced this type of music since then, with very few exceptions. This course changed all that.

    Professor Greenberg is simply amazing. I feel really privileged to have the chance to listen to his 48 lectures. He is sharp as a tack--brilliant, actually. And he brings to it such enthusiasm and such a love of music! Add to this a sharp sense of humor that is ever-present and which gave me so many little bursts of laughter through out this marathon listen.

    To add to the enjoyment of listening to great music excerpts, Professor Greenberg tells anecdotes of the individual composers' lives. This made them come alive for me--they were not just names to associate with music but actual people struggling with life like all of us. Very colorful people, indeed. How can I ever forget the story of Hector Berlioz' lusting romance with his "Henriette?" How can I not want to listen to the music of Liszt after learning his story?

    Greenberg has succeeded here. I strongly recommended this audiobook if you want to reignite your interest in great music. It is educational but also pure fun!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sid Bhat 09-26-15
    Sid Bhat 09-26-15
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    "The best professor for music appreciation or any other subject!"

    I feel fortunate to have learned from Prof. Greenberg, for I have a habit of starting new things and losing interest. It is because of him and only him that I have mastered this course. I have even read his notes and done a repeat of listening to his lectures, which is unprecedented for somebody like myself who suffers from ADHD. A personal 'thank you' to Prof. Greenberg for his mastery of the subject, his passion for teaching and his genuine empathy and generosity toward his students, even if faceless in this situation. Thank you, Sir!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Sepich 09-01-15
    Eric Sepich 09-01-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Enjoyable to the End!"

    This course has really helped me learn and have a greater appreciation of western music throughout history. From music terminology to understanding the historical context, operas, concertos and other works make much more sense! The enthusiasm of Robert Greenberg helps you to understand the significance of the music. I look forward to going further in depth into specific composers and eras after listening to this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hermanji 08-10-15
    Hermanji 08-10-15 Member Since 2012
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    "A Music and History Master Class"
    What made the experience of listening to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition the most enjoyable?

    All of the elements of this work contributed to its success. Professor Greenberg is a powerful teacher and profound scholar in that he takes us into the love of his life, and shares with us everything we ever wanted to know about music, how it works and why it is so indispensable and elemental to us.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Professor Greenberg breathed life into each historic character he has presented here, including the character of the music he introduces us to.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite moment is the course so far has been the reviving of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony for our listening ear. We are able to see the brilliant intention and architecture of Beethoven, rescued from the oblivion of its own success as an icon of our society.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. This is an audio book that shifts the Person of your being, because music changes us. If you give yourself to owning this work as Professor Greenberg has given himself to preparing it, you cannot possibly be the same person, and such changes take time. My words seem extravagant to our all too sophisticated "Talking Head" sound-bite sensitivities. However, we have trivialized our lives, and this work helps us back to a gravitas we thought lost forever.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tony mancill 08-06-14
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    "One of the best Great Courses out there!"

    I have over 50 Teaching Company courses and this course is one the best. I'd rank it in the top 5 of all the TeachCo courses I have taken. Both educational and entertaining (frequently, downright funny), the course offers a broad survey of Western music starting in the Middle Ages up through the early 20th century.

    I had listened to several of Professor Greenberg's other courses prior this one, and all of them are good. As a speaker, he has an engaging and accessible style, yet he is still able to deliver the pedagogic goods via inventive analogies and repetition, as needed, without making it feel dull or like you're in a classroom. (Or, if you are in classroom, it's like your favorite teacher of all-time.)

    If you are interested in music and haven't experienced one of Professor Greenberg's courses, this is be a good one to start with because it will give you an idea of where you might like to dive deeper. I did it backwards, listening to some specific courses first (as an aside, the course on Bach is fantastic!) and then trying this survey course, but wish I had started with this one. Even as a survey, it is expansive - (48) 45-minute lectures - and greatly furthered my understanding of music.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thosigmar 07-13-14
    Thosigmar 07-13-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A mind-enriching listening experience"
    If you could sum up How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition in three words, what would they be?

    Absolutely. Bloody. Marvellous.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition?

    Too many to single out. There were several moments that I considered "Aha-Erlebnisse", as experienced through Prof Greenberg's insights, naturally.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Robert Greenberg – was your favorite?

    Jes' hisself, of course. The more you listen, the more you appreciate his humour and presentation.He has a genius for offering great insights against a background of light-hearted banter. And his enthusiasm is irresistible.


    Any additional comments?

    I've been a lover of "classical" music and opera all my life, but have had no formal training in music. Can't even read a damn note. In spite of this shortcoming, and regrettably unable to grasp some of the more subtle technical points, I've been able to follow the lectures in broad flow with pure pleasure. Many of his comments are "stunners", and I'm not joking. Just a single example: He remarks, after a glorious explanation of the passacaglia form as used by Bach, that the passacaglia can be regarded as a “metaphor for the invisible hand of God controlling the rich chaos of the everyday”. This just took my breath away (and not that I'm a believer). Old, and feeling depressed? Get this. Even better if you're young and your mind is still fresh.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Petal
    9/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow!! I thought I hated opera/ concert music"
    If you could sum up How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition in three words, what would they be?

    Three words? Are you kidding me. I'd compose a piece or a whole opera if I could. Okay, here's a shot - BUY THIS NOW!!

    If like me you hate(d) opera and could never quite manage the enthusiasm for most concert (what you probably call classical) music, then you really must read or listen to this book. I dare you to listen and not be transformed into liking what you think you hate.


    What other book might you compare How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition to, and why?

    I can't compare it to any other book as I never before bought a book to try learn something about a subject I knew I positively disliked. I usually buy books because they intrigue me or it may be a leap into the unknown. This was a leap into the disliked. Boy, am I glad I made that leap.


    What about Professor Robert Greenberg’s performance did you like?

    His passion for his subject and teaching that to others; his knowledge of historical events and how he intertwines those with music from that era; his humour - he's often hilarious; his ability to make music and the various protagonists come alive.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were several moving moments some from Prof. Greenberg himself or when a musical knowledge penny dropped for me. However the hairs at the back of my neck stood when I heard the soprano performance of 'Una voce poco fa' from the opera Il barbiere di Siviglia (The barber of Seville). I'm now seeking out a live performance.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm glad I came across this book and some of the previous reviews. It may have spared me the embarrassment of being treated to concert and opera tickets by friends only to hate and sleep through most of the performances.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Adisha
    United Kingdom
    11/21/15
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    "Outstanding music course"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook course and it's exhuberant presentation by Professor Robert Greenberg and highly recommend it to all lovers of classical music.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David B
    6/3/15
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    "Had me hooked"

    Learnt a lot and laughed out loud a lot. Hugely interesting and informative guide to the history of Western music. Very entertaining and pleasingly irreverent delivery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andy
    Leicester, United Kingdom
    2/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good informative and a good listen"
    Would you listen to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition again? Why?

    There is so much information to absorb and so many insights I will be listening over and over


    What did you like best about this story?

    so much insight learned a lot


    Have you listened to any of Professor Robert Greenberg’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I have two of his others and this one compares very well


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dt Horan
    5/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Impossible to listen to this lecturer"
    What didn’t you like about Professor Robert Greenberg’s performance?

    Why does the man have to shout at me. I felt I was being harangued by an over-the-top ham actor from a bad melodrama. What he had to say (judging by the notes) was splendid; but after three lectures I could take no more . . .


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • gordon
    RADLETT, United Kingdom
    1/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "indepth and thorough"
    What did you like most about How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition?

    Definitely learnt a lot from this. Good use of examples and balance between talk and music


    What does Professor Robert Greenberg bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    he can be a bit annoying at times and his humour is like Chrismas cracker jokes


    Any additional comments?

    I knew nothing about music and this was most in-depth and interesting.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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