We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition Lecture

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

Regular Price:$59.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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 (1319 )
5 star
 (1039)
4 star
 (187)
3 star
 (56)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (17)
Overall
4.7 (1169 )
5 star
 (921)
4 star
 (173)
3 star
 (47)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (11)
Story
4.8 (1195 )
5 star
 (1001)
4 star
 (129)
3 star
 (37)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (11)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Heath 11-23-16
    Heath 11-23-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of my favorites"

    What an outstanding professor. I wasn't sure why I purchased this one. Then I listened, learned and now have a new appreciation for music and the elegance of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin Francis Tillinghast 09-10-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bravo, Prof. Greenberg, Bravo"

    Prof. Greenberg is an educator par excellence, able to inspire in his student an awe and love for this art form for which he is so passionate about. I highly, highly recommend this course.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-07-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Whets the appetite for more"

    This survey course whets the appetite for more. A great starting point for anyone who wants to enjoy the greats but isn't sure where to begin, "How to Listen and Understand Great Music" leaves one with a budding understanding of composers, periods, and pieces and a desire to explore further.

    I especially appreciated the history portions which gave a contextual background for understanding the composers and their works.

    Robert Greenberg made the content appealling and approachable I will be listening to more courses from him in the future

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carole 09-07-16
    Carole 09-07-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very informative"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    For clarity...In section 4 (Chapter 3). The Roman Catholic Church was not established until the Great Schism in 1054 when they broke away from the First True Church (The Orthodox Church). There should be clarity and credit given to the Orthodox Church.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Max Chee 08-06-16
    Max Chee 08-06-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Almost perfect"

    Excellent narattor and extremely informative piece for anyone who is onterested in the history of music untill the 20th century. You'll learn a few music termonology on the way as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin Praha 518, Czech Republic 07-27-16
    Martin Praha 518, Czech Republic 07-27-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It made me listen classical music"

    I know next to nothing about classical music. Prof. Greenberg tells the story in a very engaging way. It is very informative and fun. No, I did not understand everything. But it is worlds apart listening to some music you know nothing about and listening to music which someone guides you through. It actually made me to start listening classical music.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph C Allen 07-13-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoAnn Bloom 07-06-16
    JoAnn Bloom 07-06-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
Sort by:
  • S. Mercer
    Hamphsire, UK
    12/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A treat for ears and heart"
    Would you consider the audio edition of How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition to be better than the print version?

    Yes, although this is quite a loaded question. When talking about music the ability to listen to the actual pieces being discussed is infinitely better than reading about what the notes sound like.


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

    Hearing Guillaume de Machaut's "Quant en moy" from the 14th century - it captivated me almost instantly and Greenberg's wonderful way of explaining it made me realise there is so much to music from previous ages I have little or no knowledge about.


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

    Not really applicable as this is no fictional "book". However, Professor Greenberg is the key to the whole course. His enthusiasm for the subject is embedded in every lecture and without him it would simply not work. Perfect mix between detail, humor and lecturing.


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

    I might want to but at 48 lectures it is simply too long! Also, pauses are highly recommended to reflect on the various topics.


    Any additional comments?

    Even though 48 lectures might sound daunting at first, I would recommend this course to anyone interested in learning more about (concert) music. What makes this course work is not just the way it is structured - leading through the history of music from ancient times to the early 20th century - but most of all the enthusiastic lecturer, Robert Greenberg.

    I found it a joy to listed to him and am now actively seeking out composers such as Josquin des Prez or Guillaume de Machaut. Before this course I had never heard of either of them. But also well known pieces become much more "understandable" (Beethoven's 5th, Hayden's symphonies, even Schoenberg!).

    Greenberg follows the simple (sounding) principle that music is a mirror of its time; he uses this guideline to explain music throughout the ages.

    It is not a cheap audiobook but this is where a credit becomes the payment of choice!

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • JOHN
    County Cork, Ireland
    4/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining and Informative"

    I was slightly apprehensive about downloading this course of 48 lectures. Would I be able to complete them all? Would they be too technical for a non-musician? I needn't have worried. Robert Greenberg is a wonderfully entertaining narrator whose enthusiasm for the music he is discussing is infectious and whose humorous asides and witty anecdotes often made me laugh out loud. The course is never boring. It helps one to hear the classics with new ears - for example, I will never be able to hear Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique again without being reminded of Erectile Dysfunction - as well as introducing the listener - well, this listener, at least - to music that would not exactly be top of the concert hall charts (I'm looking at you, Arnold Schoenberg). All in all, thoroughly enjoyable and very informative. I would recommend it to anyone keen to get a greater understanding of great music.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Blue Reviewer
    London
    11/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best introduction into music"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. I never appreciated any form of concert music (see I've already leant not to call it classical) before. I was aware of nice melodies i had heard in everyday life; in tv commercials, in the movies etc. I knew it existed, but I never understood it. I can now proudly boast to know a little bit, and it made me seek this type of music out, and enjoy it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the chronological presentation of the history of music from the simplicity of the early days the the more complex forms that developed over time. Each period is nicely explained and accompanied with significant non-musical historical stories which I knew nothing about. So in a way you also get a bit of a history lesson.


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

    Bach and Mozart


    Any additional comments?

    Life-enriching. Thank you.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • missfrizzy
    8/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An absolute triumph!"

    Words can't express how much I've enjoyed this course. Professor Green berg's enthusiasm for music is infectious.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • david
    4/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great for music lovers"

    I enjoyed listening to prof Greenberg, funny guy and very smart in his field which makes each chapter interesting.
    a well structured course enabled me to keep on top when tackling new genres.

    The downside however, having been drilled so hard about JS Bach and never once covered anything of Vivaldi.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A. L. Howell
    UK
    1/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding Lecture Programme"
    Would you listen to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition again? Why?

    Truly fantastic! I have just finished to this series of lectures (almost in one sitting - that how good the course was). Professor Greenberg is incredibly knowledgeable, as you would expect, but also hugely engaging. The structure of the lectures was absolutely right for me - without treating the audience as novices, Prof Greenberg manages to tell you all the stuff that you might not know, with subtlety, as well as all the stuff that you really want to know. The production is very polished without being too obviously so. I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about concert music and understand it better - it certainly worked for me. I shall be investing in many more of Professor Greenberg's courses.


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

    Getting to understand the context in which great composers lived and worked.


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

    Not yet, but I certainly will be!


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The Greatest Lecture Programme ever!


    Any additional comments?

    A big, big thank you to Robert Greenberg for taking the trouble to share his tremendous knowledge and experience with me in this way!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Barry
    Sidcup, United Kingdom
    8/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"
    Where does How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the most interesting, engaging and compelling listens that I've had.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The mixture of historical context and musical theory together with audible examples.


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

    Greenberg's enthusiasm for his subject together with his humour.


    Any additional comments?

    Audible considers the additional course literature as "unnecessary" to listening to the course. I disagree. Certainly the word scores referred to would be invaluable.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew M
    London
    3/19/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Only 1 chapter in and I'm adding a review!"

    I've only listened to 1 chapter so far and yet feel a desire to add a review already. The speaker is passionate, engaging and humorous. The content exciting and thought provoking.

    Whether my review will stay the same after the next 47 chapters I don't know. I haven't listened to audio books on music before and so this was a risk. One that I'm glad I took!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    United Kingdom
    4/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Listen and Learn"
    What made the experience of listening to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition the most enjoyable?

    The Professor gave his lectures with humour and made them very enjoyable to listen to


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

    It would depend on the subject - I only knew the popular classics so was intrigued to learn more


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

    Not a story as such although the story of the progression of music through the ages was the key (please pardon the pun) part of these lectures


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

    I was continually frustrated by the snippets of music used as illustrations and usually wanted to hear more. I now have the task of tracking down some of the pieces to hear them in full


    Any additional comments?

    I was amazed to find how much I needed to know about music and am very pleased that I listened to this series of lectures

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • J. Bendall
    Paris, France
    2/12/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fascinating journey in good company"

    An excellent survey of Western Music up to the early 20th Century - stopping short with Schoenberg - with a good blend of historical/cultural context and technical developments in music

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.