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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.

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 Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
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One of the best Great Courses out there!

I have over 50 Teaching Company courses and this course is one the best. I'd rank it in the top 5 of all the TeachCo courses I have taken. Both educational and entertaining (frequently, downright funny), the course offers a broad survey of Western music starting in the Middle Ages up through the early 20th century.

I had listened to several of Professor Greenberg's other courses prior this one, and all of them are good. As a speaker, he has an engaging and accessible style, yet he is still able to deliver the pedagogic goods via inventive analogies and repetition, as needed, without making it feel dull or like you're in a classroom. (Or, if you are in classroom, it's like your favorite teacher of all-time.)

If you are interested in music and haven't experienced one of Professor Greenberg's courses, this is be a good one to start with because it will give you an idea of where you might like to dive deeper. I did it backwards, listening to some specific courses first (as an aside, the course on Bach is fantastic!) and then trying this survey course, but wish I had started with this one. Even as a survey, it is expansive - (48) 45-minute lectures - and greatly furthered my understanding of music.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A mind-enriching listening experience

If you could sum up How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition in three words, what would they be?

Absolutely. Bloody. Marvellous.

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

Too many to single out. There were several moments that I considered "Aha-Erlebnisse", as experienced through Prof Greenberg's insights, naturally.

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

Jes' hisself, of course. The more you listen, the more you appreciate his humour and presentation.He has a genius for offering great insights against a background of light-hearted banter. And his enthusiasm is irresistible.

Any additional comments?

I've been a lover of "classical" music and opera all my life, but have had no formal training in music. Can't even read a damn note. In spite of this shortcoming, and regrettably unable to grasp some of the more subtle technical points, I've been able to follow the lectures in broad flow with pure pleasure. Many of his comments are "stunners", and I'm not joking. Just a single example: He remarks, after a glorious explanation of the passacaglia form as used by Bach, that the passacaglia can be regarded as a “metaphor for the invisible hand of God controlling the rich chaos of the everyday”. This just took my breath away (and not that I'm a believer). Old, and feeling depressed? Get this. Even better if you're young and your mind is still fresh.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Everything I could want in a music course

What made the experience of listening to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition the most enjoyable?

Greenberg is passionate, lively, funny, and always crystal-clear.

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

I thought a lot of early music, including plain chant and the madrigal, were not for me. Boy was I wrong!

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

No.

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

Almost every time he plays an excerpt that he's been describing, I'm moved.

Any additional comments?

I fell in love with great music rather late in the game, at age 22, without any knowledge. I've always steered clear of explanation and analysis, fearing that intellectualizing music would throw a wet blanket over my enjoyment. I was wrong. These lectures have increased my enjoyment enormously.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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From hiphop to orchestral music

Where does How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have bought and listened about 20 audiobooks so far and without hasitate I can assure this is the best of all.
I consider myself as a complete music ignorant, though I like it. My previous audibooks where none of them about music nor art appreciation. I'm an engineer and without any prior music education.
Though this audibook gave the basis to start understanding great music. Gave me the basis to open my own road in music appreciation.
A phat and big round TEN for Robert Greenberg.

What did you like best about this story?

That is exactly what this audibook is: a story!
Robert Greenberg nailed it from the 1st chapter all along the last one. He explained with great humor, knowledge and humble, the human history and where every piece of music and composer fits. He explained the different ages with great detailed but never pretentious. This is the perfect formula for any person without any prior music knowledge to be involved in this wonderful world.

Which scene was your favorite?

Robert's sense of humor, intelligent and even sarcastic comments

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

The moment I started understanding some Mozart's movements.
The moment I started to differentiate the inner structure of menuettos, sonatas, passacaglias, fuges, rondos, etc.. I started to realize that this was the perfect audiobook for a guy like me.
The moment my ipod started to be filled with classical, baroque, romantic music, operas and not just to hear them, but to own them.
This audiobook really moved me because I am not a passive listener any more, now I understand, now they are not Beethoven's, Mozart's, Debussy's any more, now I'm active, now they are mine.

Any additional comments?

I really want to thank Robert Greenberg for this wonderful work. I do not know him personally but I believe he changed me in a deep and aesthetical manner.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A fascinating, entertaining, and informative jour

Would you listen to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition again? Why?

Absolutely, lots of insightful information

Who was your favorite character and why?

Guillaume de Machaut

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

n/a

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

n/a

Any additional comments?

I have listened to classical music all my life, but never really had a deep knowledge of its forms or history. This lecture series has given me a much deeper understanding and greatly broadened my musical pallet.

I especially enjoyed the history of ancient music.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Waste of time

Any additional comments?

The only positive thing I can find to say is the professor is enthusiastic. However, this comes across as annoying, arrogant and snobbish to me. After about 4 hours of listening to this 30+ hour title, I think the only thing I've learned about music is descending notes always indicate negative emotions. Early, the professor states he will define a bunch of musical terms and then proceeds to define a couple but then continuously uses terms like "theme", which I have no idea what this means in this context. I found very little about music but the professor does attempt to give a lot of historic background. However, the history of music is not what I was looking for. Too much of this is surrounded by personal opinions and observations I could really live without. For example, I really don't care if Mozart or Bach or Beethoven or whoever had smallpox scars. This adds nothing to the understanding of music. I just can not force myself to invest another 30 hours into this and am returning it for a refund.

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Narrator is excellent.

I have a bettet understanding and appreciation for orchestrial music. The narrator was able to convey extreme music theory in an entertaining manner.

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Learn and Laugh

Loved this series of 48 lectures. Lest you think this is dry stuff, let me tell you Professor Greenberg is not only informative but witty and humorous to boot!
He knows his stuff, and gave loads of background information on composers and historical context.
Well worth your time to listen!

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  • Richard
  • Fair Lawn, NJ, United States
  • 12-20-17

Putting the evolution of classical music into perspective

Although Greenberg’s over enthusiastic and friendly style is sometimes off-putting, and you’ll frequently think this series could be more efficient with your time, this is an excellent perspective on how music has evolved over the last 1500 years. It is this relationship with other composers, genres, and eras that makes Greenberg’s description of different works so interesting and adds such depth to how you’ll listen to classical music. Plus, his rants about the different composers’ personalities further puts their music into a fuller and more interesting context. If you like music, you’ll find this series most interesting and valuable

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Robert Greenberg Strikes Again!

Having listened to other courses by Dr. Greenberg, I looked forward to this one due to the material it encompasses. As always, I'm impressed with his knowledge, but I really love the way he presents the material. He makes the material accessible and a lot of fun, which makes it much easier for me to learn.

I highly recommend any of Dr. Greenberg's courses.

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  • Andy
  • 02-21-14

Very good informative and a good listen

Would you listen to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition again? Why?

There is so much information to absorb and so many insights I will be listening over and over

What did you like best about this story?

so much insight learned a lot

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

I have two of his others and this one compares very well

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • gordon
  • 01-04-15

indepth and thorough

What did you like most about How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition?

Definitely learnt a lot from this. Good use of examples and balance between talk and music

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

he can be a bit annoying at times and his humour is like Chrismas cracker jokes

Any additional comments?

I knew nothing about music and this was most in-depth and interesting.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dt Horan
  • 05-11-16

Impossible to listen to this lecturer

What didn’t you like about Professor Robert Greenberg’s performance?

Why does the man have to shout at me. I felt I was being harangued by an over-the-top ham actor from a bad melodrama. What he had to say (judging by the notes) was splendid; but after three lectures I could take no more . . .

0 of 2 people found this review helpful