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Publisher's Summary

Music is a performative art. It stresses movement through time and engages our suggestive sense of its passing. Music has tendency, it normally invokes goals of various sorts, both near and far. Music has closure, a sensation not just of ending, but of expecting no more. Music also has accent. It is a dynamic process of stresses and nuance that often varies in dimension from one performance to the next.

This course is not designed as a chronological survey of musical history and its many stylistic periods or moments, nor an exploration of the lives and output of individual composers. Instead, these lectures focus on the development of listening skills. Through this course you will develop new levels of aural awareness that will allow you to better appreciate the richness, complexity, and excitement at the heart of all great concert music.

©2003 Richard Freedman (P)2003 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Modern Scholar: Understanding the Fundamentals of Classical Music

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Somewhat dull...

Note: I'm a classically trained musician.

While I was able to follow this with no problem, I had difficulty keeping myself engaged, even with the supplemental materials.
Part of the problem was in the Audible format: it was somewhat difficult to rewind and repeat recordings, which meant I lost patience and stopped bothering after a few sections. Thus, his point was lost, and when he later elaborated, I just didn't care.

I will try this another day, however, and see if I like it better then.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Quick overview of classical music

It may be me, but a bunch of it was a bit above my head. It is probably good listen for those with more than basic musical understanding.

7 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Awful

This book was a shattering disappointment to me. Like, I suspect, many of my generation, I grew up loving pop/rock music. However, I feel like I’ve heard anything worth listening to already. Ninety-nine new releases in every hundred sound stale and derivative. So, to keep my love of music alive, I keep trying to get into classical music.

Paul McCartney suggested once that Mozart had a profile similar to a Beatle in 18th Century Vienna. No, he didn’t. The equivalent of the typists at the Cavern Club were not going to see the Magic Flute in the evening. They listened to folk music, Austrian or Bohemian or Hungarian as they found it. Everyone gets pop music straight away; classical music is something that requires a bit of homework.

I hoped this would be a book to help in that process of learning how to appreciate classical music. It’s not. It’s rubbish, a hopeless, mixed-up mess. The book is about the fundamentals of classical music. The very first chapter is concerned with the difference in timbre and playing style between modern instruments and instruments that were contemporary with the composer. That distinction is fundamental to classical music in the same way that learning how to operate the radio is fundamental to learning how to drive a car.

Reader, I hated this book. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Educational

Will have to rewind several times and listen to it over and over in order to get a good grasp of the author's extraordinary knowledge on the subject

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

exhausting mess

author is pretentious and uses words inefficiently. I wouldn't categorize this as a fundamental to classics

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Flaminia
  • 02-05-13

Not my best pick

I was eager to listen to this audiobook after listening to another title in the same collection (Masterpieces of Western Music) but I was finally disappointed with Mr. Freedman.

The lectures are full of "if you listen carefully you will hear" - which of course presupposes an exercised ear which is not my case - while Mr. Lependorf (Masterpieces) would take small bits of music apart to MAKE you hear.

I have no musical preparation but could enjoy fully from Masterpieces... while felt left aside in these lectures. Probably someone with more musical experience would profit more but I'd say that these classes should be thought for basic students and not for intermediate.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-04-19

A Good Introduction

This was a nice introduction which would work well for those without a string musical background. Follows a nice concept/theme progression as opposed to chronological/historical which most books follow. This is a nice change. Would recommend.