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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

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  •  
    tony mancill 08-06-14
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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
  •  
    Thosigmar 07-13-14
    Thosigmar 07-13-14 Member Since 2013
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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
  •  
    Mark Myers Beautiful Taos, NM 11-15-13
    Mark Myers Beautiful Taos, NM 11-15-13 Member Since 2010
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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
  •  
    Eliu Montoya Mariscal Mexico, Mexico Mexico 10-02-13
    Eliu Montoya Mariscal Mexico, Mexico Mexico 10-02-13

    DaReader

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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
  •  
    Donn Patton WA United States 07-28-13
    Donn Patton WA United States 07-28-13 Member Since 2012

    Donn

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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
  •  
    augustine 08-15-13
    augustine 08-15-13
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    "Professor Greenberg needs to tone it down."

    The information presented provides for a good general survey with sufficient depth to give one the knowledge to listen intelligently to great music.

    Unfortunately, Professor Greenberg tries too hard to be funny. This is OK at first, but after about the 15th lecture it begins to wear thin. This series would have been so much better with a less "in your face" attempt at humor. Professor Greenberg needs to tone it down quite a bit.

    I was going to download the more in depth lectures that give further insights into musical styles and composers, but in all honesty, I don't think I could take anymore of Professor Greenberg's artificial attempts at stand up comedy.

    In conclusion, with less schtick, this would have been an outstanding general survey course.

    12 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Cram 06-25-17
    Don Cram 06-25-17
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    "Professor, Please Don't Shout"

    The course content was good, as much as I could stand to listen to. The instructor used a theatrical voice, often nearly shouting to emphasize some point. That might have been appropriate for a lecture to an audience of a thousand or more, but for a class of one it just became annoying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    amypgeier 06-22-17
    amypgeier 06-22-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Prof is knowledgeable and hilarious"

    Started listening when I decided to start playing the cello at age 43. Amazing master class in Western concert music. The prof is a little off the wall, in the best possible way. I plan to listen to more of his Great Courses. This course has music samples, vivid stories about composers, and a journey through time and music. NOTE: It's very white European male centric - that's its primary limitation. He apologizes early on that the course is limited in that way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    daintysteppin 05-20-17
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    "Loved the course"

    This course is highly educational for even someone who knows zero about music but it is also laugh out loud funny thanks to the professor's incredible sense of humor. I loved it and now have a much greater appreciation for music that will continue to enrich my life greatly!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 05-13-17
    Mark 05-13-17 Member Since 2016
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    "The Definitive Survey of Western Art Music"
    Would you listen to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition again? Why?

    I periodically re-listen to the entire 35+ hour lecture series. Professor Greenberg does what seemingly every "Intro to Western Music" class fails to do: provides a critical framework for interpreting the major broad strokes of European music, from ancient to post-modern.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Professor Greenberg brought the music to life in a way that continues to captivate my imagination. I love thinking about the culture that created the Seikelos Epitaph, an Ancient Greek work studied in this lecture. I love putting myself in the heads of the monks who composed chants, or into the brains of the Renaissance composers creating a tonal system, or into the heads of the German Baroque or Classical composers and comparing their approach to that of the Italians, French, or Russians.


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

    He injects enough personality to be like a tour guide to the subject. He gives context just when it is needed, and in just the right amounts. He knows when to re-emphasize themes, what is fresh in our heads and what overwhelms the listener. I feel like I'm listing to a true fan and student of the Western music tradition, someone with his own idiosyncrasies, yes, but also a broad and empathetic appreciation of each composer and era.


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

    Everything you wanted to know about Classical Music but were embarrassed to ask


    Any additional comments?

    After a dozen or so lecture series on the humanities, arts, history, and other topics, I return to this as the cream of the crop. This remains the most captivating of my Audible purchases, one that I return to periodically to retrain my ear for, and appreciation of, the vast diversity of Western concern music. At this price point, I simply cannot recommend it enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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