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How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition | [The Great Courses]

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

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.
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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.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Nathapong 03-11-15
    Nathapong 03-11-15 Listener Since 2002
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    "Loved every minute."

    Superbly entertaining. Extremely insightful. Deeply inspiring. This is so far the only audiobook I will listen to again. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon T Santa Rosa, CA 03-08-15
    Jon T Santa Rosa, CA 03-08-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Credits well spent"

    This is exactly what I was looking for. I took some music appreciation classes in school and was looking for something to refresh my memory and provide a good historical and technical overview of the development and components of this music. Prof. Greenberg does a great job bringing the stories and historical perspective of musical styles and composer's lives to life with his enthusiastic, sometimes a little goofy, presentation style. I was also looking to gain a greater understanding of the components and structures of specific forms of music and that's all here, all illustrated with musical passages played for the listener, often with Greenberg narrating along to indicate what is going on. I really enjoyed this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    perla allan 03-01-15
    perla allan 03-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Very informative !"

    As someone with no music background, I am very pleased with the lecture. Although it would be nice if I have the printed guide or summary while listening so I can go back to some chapters that I needed to listen again.. I am planning to listen again, although I bought several of the other lectures... I am a slow to grasp the lectures but I guess If I listen to it again and again, maybe it will help...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jared Uraine Las Vegas, NV 02-25-15
    Jared Uraine Las Vegas, NV 02-25-15
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    "Professor Greenberg is the star"

    This course is fantastic for anyone interested in great music on any level. Professor Greenberg takes you on a journey that feels like you're actually there and makes it fun with laughs and surprises along the way. I found myself going back and reviewing several portions a second and third time without annoyance because the stories are enjoyable over again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amelia Ann Favere Takoma Park, MD USA 02-22-15
    Amelia Ann Favere Takoma Park, MD USA 02-22-15 Listener Since 2010
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    "Interesting lectures, lacks course material"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    (This field requires I write 15 words or 25 characters, but I don't have an answer to the question. This is a nonfiction book, and most of my friends like fiction.)


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

    (This field requires I write 15 words or 25 characters, but I don't have an answer to the question.)


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

    (This field requires I write 15 words or 25 characters, but I don't have an answer to the question. This is a nonfiction book.)


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    (This field requires I write 15 words or 25 characters, but I don't have an answer to the question.)


    Any additional comments?

    His lecture provides a basic understanding of Western "classical" music (he prefers the term "concert" music), along with a heavy dose of Prof. Greenberg's personal preferences. Nonetheless, his lecture style may appeal to some and turn off others -- like a heavy spiced curry, you're likely to either love it or hate it. For example, he says "my friends" when introducing new points in his lectures. This happens a lot.

    Prof. Greenberg's lecture style wears a little thin if you batch-listen to the lectures -- they are better spaced out. Like my art history teachers in school, his explanation of history not within his field of expertise is oversimplified to the point of being misleading -- if you studied Western history in some detail, you may find some of his somewhat old-fashioned understanding of change in European history a turn-off. This is most egregious in his first lecture, where he discounts all music in the non-Western tradition as unworthy of study because it did not change -- an assertion that would shock scholars of, say, Chinese operatic traditions, just to name one. But most folks will probably be fine with it, and you know who you are in either case.

    One problem is that the course materials are not included with the purchase. Prof. Greenberg refers to these in passing several times, and it would be extremely helpful to have a copy handy for reference. It took all my creative googling skills to find the name of a medieval French song (it turned out to be written "Quant en moy" by the prolific Guillame de Marchaut) with only a knowledge of modern French to guide me (I had imagined "Contes en noir" in my head from only hearing it said briefly, so this took some time!). Having the course materials available would have made such searches much easier in tracking down recordings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon 02-14-15
    Sharon 02-14-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent Lectures, Thoroughly Enjoyed!"
    What made the experience of listening to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition the most enjoyable?

    Professor Greenberg's lectures cover an incredible scope and make the history of Western music comprehensible. I learned an enormous amount and understood concepts e.g. 'key' and 'circle of 5ths' that I'd never completely understood before. Prof. Greenberg brought the composers to life and introduced me to many I barely knew and I enjoyed the many anecdotes he shared about the personal lives of the great composers.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Professor Greenberg - for his erudition, his passion and his playfulness. I so enjoyed his lectures that I have now purchased another series.


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

    Well, yes - it certainly kept my interest and I looked forward to my daily listening.


    0 of 0 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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 12-13-14
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 12-13-14
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    "Perfect for the raging music addict."
    What made the experience of listening to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition the most enjoyable?

    Robert Greenberg is fabulous as an instructor. His insights instruct and enlighten with humor and grace. I have listened to all of his great composer series.


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

    How to listen to great opera is also very intertaining.


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

    His enthusiasm for the subject and his encouragement that we expose ourselves to music.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to all his lectures you will be enlightened and have wonderful journey into the lives of these great composers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Neal Florida 12-09-14
    Daniel Neal Florida 12-09-14 Member Since 2008
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    "So many choices and still so much to learn . . ."
    What other book might you compare How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition to and why?


    I started listening to Dr. G about three months ago. I started with his masterworks lecture and then switched to this how-to-listen lecture. Along the way I’ve listened to lectures on composers or forms when they fit chronologically and/or when I needed more information before moving on. I’ve wondered what I should listen to next—and as I write this review, I know. My next area of ignorance is symphonies. Dr. G got me through concertos and sonatas so before I go back to masterworks, I’ve got to understand symphonies.


    Any additional comments?

    This has been such a surprising journey—I've learned so much about history and cultures of different countries and people and ideas and I've enjoyed so much music. More music than when I started—I even listen to Beethoven and Bartok now!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Rachel Zohar 10-28-14 Member Since 2008

    boa

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    "excellent. one of my best listen"
    What made the experience of listening to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition the most enjoyable?

    The way it was presented. it was very well organized and full of interesting information about the composers and the music itself. I especially liked the way he related the music to the historical background.


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

    none that I have read.


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

    his enthusiasm and his sense of humor. I loved listening to his way of presenting what might have been a dry series of lectures. I kept saying while listening "what a great lecturer!" He certainly changed my way to listen and understand music.


    Any additional comments?

    he referred many times to a booklet accompanying the audio. I know this has been mentioned by other reviewers, so I add my voice to previous requests on the subject

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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