Accompanies BBC2's major new TV series and The Story of Music in 50 Pieces on Radio 3Music is an intrinsic part of everyday life, and yet the history of its development from single notes to multi-layered orchestration can seem bewilderingly specialised and complex.
In his dynamic tour through 40,000 years of music, from prehistoric instruments to modern-day pop, Howard Goodall does away with stuffy biographies, unhelpful labels and tired terminology. Instead he leads us through the story of music as it happened, idea by idea, so that each musical innovation – harmony, notation, sung theatre, the orchestra, dance music, recording, broadcasting – strikes us with its original force.
He focuses on what changed when and why, picking out the discoveries that revolutionised man-made sound and bringing to life musical visionaries from the little-known Pérotin to the colossus of Wagner. Along the way, he also gives refreshingly clear descriptions of what music is and how it works: what scales are all about, why some chords sound discordant and what all post-war pop songs have in common.
The story of music is the story of our urge to invent, connect, rebel – and entertain. Howard Goodall’s beautifully clear and compelling account is both a hymn to human endeavour and a groundbreaking map of our musical journey.
©2013 Howard Goodall (P)2013 Random House AudioGo
Since this was a book about music and it was an audio copy, AND a tv series exists, the book should have been illustrated with musical excerpts. How can one relate to theoretical information about the structure and development of music, without auditory examples? Very, very disappointing.
I loved the BBC series, so was excited to find it on Audiobook. I was desperately disappointed to find that there was no music excerpts to illustrate the excellent narrative. I know you would not find this with the written book, but here it just feels wrong. It almost makes it unlistenable, as you hear a point made about a particular piece or moment in musical development, and are waiting for the music to illustrate it, as happens in the TV series. Such a shame, as this is the perfect media to do this.
"Exactly the book I wanted to hear"
I'm musical challenged in so many ways having just start to learn my first musical instrument in my 45th year. I decided I would like to catch up on why music is so embedded in our lives and I searched for 'the history of music' and got 'the story of music'. I found the book interesting from start to finish and I've made multiple notes of other books and biographies I will follow it up with. I listened to it with spotify open and as I needed to reference a piece of music I just added it to a playlist. Well written and at a decent pace throughout.
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