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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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (1147 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joseph C Allen 07-13-16 Member Since 2015
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    3
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    "Masterpiece"

    This was the best audible book I ever listened to. It's one of those books I plan to listen to again. I feel like it made me a better person. I can't say enough about it and have been sending the link to this to all my friends. Everyone I know has had the same reaction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    george c. ellison 07-10-16 Member Since 2015
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    12
    7
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    "Too scholarly and not enough genre specific"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Robert Greenberg?

    Great Courses, yes. Professor Greenberg, no.


    What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

    The early chapters spent far too much time on very minor issues on music that didn't help one iota in learning different genres of music. When Professor started covering Pythagoras and his geometric theorem on a note I thought I'd run off the road out of boredom.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Give an overview in the beginning of what you intend to cover; tackle each major genre of music and don't worry about presenting a historical chronological story of how a note started to the 16 or so different pieces of a Mass. This reader wanted to learn about each genre of music, i.e. how to identify them and appreciate them. I didn't want to understand the history of how music started at a doctorate level.


    What character would you cut from How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition?

    Most of it.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd scrap it and start over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoAnn Bloom 07-06-16
    JoAnn Bloom 07-06-16 Member Since 2016
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    7
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    "Interesting, Engaging, Entertaining & Funny"

    If you like music, choose this one! Heck even if you dont like music choose this one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    McKenna 07-06-16
    McKenna 07-06-16 Member Since 2014
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    9
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    "entertaining, informative"

    Fun, comprehensive treatment of a subject we should all know something about. I really enjoyed this series of lectures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lois Thompson Portland, ME USA 07-01-16
    Lois Thompson Portland, ME USA 07-01-16 Member Since 2010
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    5
    5
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    "I Kinda Get It!"

    At last a music history course, and I didn't even know I wanted one! Now I want more, and recommend this class to anyone who'd like to round out understanding of the arts. At first the narrator/writer annoyed me some, too chummy, but I got over that and grew to appreciate his earthy style and manner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer St. Louis, MO USA 06-10-16
    Amazon Customer St. Louis, MO USA 06-10-16 Member Since 2013
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    5
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    "A masterwork about masterworks"
    Would you listen to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition again? Why?

    This course ties together history, people, music, and art. The world of concert music is open to me now; I have a framework and background that makes concert music sound like more than pretty sounds. In the meantime, I learned a lot about European history; fitting the history with the music helps both stick in my head. And I learned a lot about teaching - the structuring of this course is masterful. It returns to the same pieces to show new angles, it weaves individual composers into tapestries of influences and revolutions and evolution of sound.


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

    This is, indeed, a performance.


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

    I listened to no more than one lecture per day. You need a quiet place or noise-cancelling headphones to hear the music samples properly.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    funboytim 06-08-16
    funboytim 06-08-16 Member Since 2006
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    1
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    "I learned something valuable"
    Would you listen to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition again? Why?

    I need to capture the details better so I need to re-listen and follow along with the text in order for the information to become a permanent part of my knowledge base.


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

    I know of no other book that contains the entirety of this information and therefore it is incomparable.


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

    This is my first listen to Professor Greenberg


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

    Never. Its not possible unless you are tied to a tree and spoon fed for 45 lectures. Who might even consider that anyway? These courses are not created with that idea in mind.


    Any additional comments?

    I learned so much about the history of music, the language of music, and the evolution of music and why my western ears feels comfortable with music in its present form and why I enjoy the music that I do. I feel edified as a result of the read/listen. I would hope everyone gets to listen to these lectures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david hart 06-03-16
    david hart 06-03-16 Member Since 2007
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    9
    3
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    "Great music makes for a great listen."
    What did you love best about How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition?

    I learned a lot about how to dissect music.


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

    Professor Greenberg's impassioned defense of early 20th century music. And, my friends, I mean IMPASSIONED!


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

    It was interesting throughout.


    Any additional comments?

    Prof. Greenberg needs to learn what the phrase "begs the question" means.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin 05-30-16
    Benjamin 05-30-16 Member Since 2005
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    "Excellent"

    Excellent audiobook and very knowledgeable professor and I learned and appreciated all 48 chapters.
    Thank you

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles J. Bumgardner 05-28-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    9
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    "Western music from Ancient Greece to Schoenberg"
    Would you consider the audio edition of How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition to be better than the print version?

    (Not applicable)


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

    Explication of "music as a mirror" reflecting culture of its creator.


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

    Yes, Bach & High Baroque. This one's a bit more informal/popular.


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

    That would be pretty tough!


    Any additional comments?

    I've listened through this course three times now over the years, and learned more from it each time. A few comments:

    (1) Greenberg well deserves the accolades he receives for his work with the Teaching Company. Never dull, he has honed this course in particular (this is the 3rd edition!) to a razor-sharp edge to make it thoroughly engaging.

    (2) I'm a Christian and Bob Greenberg is a secular humanist, so I would occasionally differ with his take on this or that. That said, Greenberg does do, I believe, a good and evenhanded job covering the history of Western music.

    (3) I appreciated the balance of highlighting the most historically significant composers, and thought that Greenberg's selection of pieces to highlight was judicious. As well, he doesn't simply play and comment on a given piece, then leave it behind; often, a given piece will resurface later in the lecture series as Greenberg compares it to music of later eras.

    (4) I've noticed several reviewers have said that the accompanying notes were missing. That may perhaps have been the case at the time of those reviews, but the notes are included in pdf format at this time. I had a little bit of a hard time finding them, but an Audible rep helped me.

    (5) I had considered incorporating this course into our family's homeschool curriculum. However, though not prevalent, there are a number of risque/off-color comments and jokes as the course progresses, and parents should be aware of this. The course as a whole seems to be aimed to a college-level audience, and the comments/jokes reflect this.

    (6) Listening to this course over a relatively short time period (say, a month) really highlights the changes in musical composition over time, especially over the last half a millennium. In conjunction with his first lecture on "music as mirror," Greenberg will often discuss how given changes in music reflect changes in thinking in the broader culture.

    (7) I appreciated how Greenberg engages secondary literature at times; very judiciously (not excessively), he incorporates comments of modern musical authorities about the piece or composer under discussion. As well, he will often incorporate comments from contemporaries of a given composer, which is helpful.

    The value I place on this series is reflected in the fact that I've listened through it three times over the years. For those interested in shifts in church music in particular over the span of time, and the connection of those shifts with philosophical trends, I also highly recommend Quentin Faulkner, Wiser than Despair: The Evolution of Ideas in the Relationship of Music and the Christian Church (1996). It is not an easy read, but it richly rewards the reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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