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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

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  •  
    McKenna 07-06-16
    McKenna 07-06-16 Member Since 2014
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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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    "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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    "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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    "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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    "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
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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
  •  
    Adam Raleigh, NC, United States 05-26-16
    Adam Raleigh, NC, United States 05-26-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Crack the concert music code with this book!"

    I was brought up to appreciate music. My fondest childhood memories are of listening to music with my father as he explained what the music meant, who the people were who wrote it, why they wrote what they did, and what the cultural context surrounding the music was. I learned to analyze and appreciate music, but the music I was raised to appreciate was rock music. My father is a child of the 70s; I am child of the 80s. The music I was brought up with was Pink Floyd, Rush, Genesis, et al.

    Growing up, I wasn't exposed to concert music and knew nothing about it. I'm a bit of a history buff, so I recognized and appreciated the cultural and historical importance of concert music. That said, I couldn't understand concert music when I heard it. I had no grounding in the forms, knew nothing about the cultural context, and generally had no idea what I was hearing. Concert music sounded like impenetrable alien noise, devoid of form and completely mysterious. It was a language I could not speak.

    This course (and other courses from the fantastic Robert Greenberg) changed that all for me. I now have a small but useful command of the vocabulary and grammar of concert music. I understand the forms and can listen actively to what the composer is doing. I can anticipate what the composer "should" be doing based on the form employed and thus recognize and appreciate when these forms are deviated from. I know my minuet-in-trio from my rondo and my ritornello from my sonata. I can hear a piece of classical music and place it roughly in its proper cultural time and place. I can often guess the national origin of a piece of work, and can make pretty good (and sometimes accurate) guesses as to who composed pieces I hear. I can understand, and thus enjoy concert music.

    This course will improve your appreciation for music both historical and contemporary. Learning about concert music will deepen your understanding of all music, and will help you grow and evolve. I cannot recommend this course enough. It didn't just entertain me, it improved my life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-23-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Truly an educational experience!"
    Where does How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This class is one of my favorites! Professor Greenberg combines delightful humor and true mastery of his field into an amazing experience. I honestly felt saddened after I finished it, wanting more. I can say that this course is a worthwhile purchase for anyone.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The depth of the material and Professor Greenberg's personality makes the course unforgettable.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The lectures on the Classical period were stunning!


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

    Great music isn't universal, but it damn well should be.


    Any additional comments?

    Buy. This. Course.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Apostolos Papapostolou 05-23-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent"

    Prof Greenberg is clearly passionate about the subject. Inspired me to listen to a lot of music and with a different approach!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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