Your audiobook is waiting…

The Story of Music

Narrated by: Howard Goodall
Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
3 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Accompanies BBC2's major new TV series and The Story of Music in 50 Pieces on Radio 3

Music 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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

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.

Would you ever listen to anything by Howard Goodall again?

No -

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for cattyish
  • cattyish
  • 08-23-14

Good book, shame about the lack of music.

What did you like about this audiobook?

Howard Goodall's take on the history of music is fascinating and his descriptions of historical music engaging.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

The book helped me consolidate my interest piqued by Howard Goodall's TV series of the same name.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

The narration was fine, but I was disappointed to have no music within the audiobook. Having seen the TV series by the same name, I thought there would be music. Remembering or imagining music while reading this audiobook wasn't useful for me.

Do you have any additional comments?

I would have paid more for an audiobook with all the music tracks included. I appreciate that the licencing costs for the music might be considered prohibitive, but I would have liked to have had the choice.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for glen southern
  • glen southern
  • 04-07-13

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 04-07-13

Needed Music!

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.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Adisha
  • Adisha
  • 04-17-16

Brilliant, thoroughly researched & well-presented!

This is a truly outstanding audiobook eloquently read by the author himself. Mr. Goodall's passion and expertise in the subject matter shines through.
It is packed full of fascinating anecdotes, gem facts and details that reveal themselves on each listen. The content is diverse, broad in scope and many controversial subjects (such as sinister and political backstories) are boldly tackled head-on.
Check out Spotify for helpful playlists [filed as HGSOM] of key music and songs mentioned in the text. If you are like me, you'll probably want to research topics covered in more detail; in which case I highly recommend purchasing the superbly written book of the same title, which contains key illustrations, available also digitally for Kindle.
I would wholeheartedly recommended this audiobook for anyone with a keen interest in music history and development and consider this a 'must read' for composers, musicians and anyone who appreciates music, irrespective of knowledge and experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ten10
  • Ten10
  • 03-09-16

it would be perfect if only it had links to music

Would you listen to The Story of Music again? Why?

I did try but it would be so much better if there was actual music to accompany the book and the listening

What did you like best about this story?

The detail and pure extent and knowledge of the subject matter

Any additional comments?

A pleasant voice to listen to; and end excellent knowledge of the material.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-23-19

A captivating, fascinating listen

The task of telling the full “story of music” is an unenviable one - such is its length, complexity and depth that it could easily fill several volumes the size of this one. But Howard Goodall embraces the challenge with poise and capability, convincingly guiding the listener through the maze of composers, genres and musical cultures which have gone into creating the vast and layered tapestry that makes up music today.

The result is as interesting as it is informative, and as well as providing a comprehensive timeline of the development of western music (and the ways in which it has evolved both separately and alongside ‘world’ music) it also touches on music’s symbiotic relationships with religion, race, morality, nationalism, technology and much else besides.

As well as all of this, it’s hard to imagine a better narrator - Goodall’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject matter is obvious, and only adds to the overall enjoyment of what was already a wonderful text.

I have seen at least one other review mention that musical examples would have enriched the experience, and while this is true it is a fault more of the medium than of the author or publisher - I can’t imagine the copyright headaches which would ensue trying to incorporate such a feature into an audiobook. With that said, the same technology which allows us to listen to this audiobook also provides the potential to listen to almost any piece of recorded music ever released - I found that taking regular intervals to pause and visit Spotify to look up the specific pieces and composers mentioned enhanced my understanding for the subject matter immeasurably, and I’d recommend the same to any listener. Obviously not always practical (if you listen whilst driving, for example), but definitely a worthwhile effort to get as much as possible out of the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-03-19

Very good

Narrator voice could of been slightly more interesting, but, as an academic study its interesting.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cormac
  • Cormac
  • 03-01-18

Very interesting but needs music examples

What did you like best about The Story of Music? What did you like least?

Very well written and read, full of lots of fascinating information. The big drawback is that it's a book about music and how it works but does not include any actual musical examples so you have to try to imagine the notes and sounds the author is describing or worse - youtube them. Would have been infinitely more useful if he could have played examples of the sounds he was talking about.

Who was your favorite character and why?

n/a

Did Howard Goodall do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

n/a

Could you see The Story of Music being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

n/a

Any additional comments?

Please include sounds next time.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andy J Buchanan
  • Andy J Buchanan
  • 09-01-17

A spectacularly missed opportunity

Overlong, oddly passionless, selective and opinionated, this was hard work to consume. Some of the actual content is fascinating but it's poorly presented and the fact that an audiobook about music contains no clips of the music about is such a missed opportunity. Disappointing.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-30-17

Excellent

A very interesting and surprisingly witty and entertaining audio book, easily as good as the television version.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Milamber
  • Milamber
  • 07-05-17

An argument for audio samples.

i loved everything about this book EXCEPT there was a great opportunity to add musical samples to compliment the various referenced pieces. if you don't already know what hes talking about in a certain peice you need to either pause and go and find it or just take his word for it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful