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Music: A Very Short Introduction by Nicholas…
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Music: A Very Short Introduction (edition 2000)

by Nicholas Cook

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237448,722 (3.4)9
Member:generalising
Title:Music: A Very Short Introduction
Authors:Nicholas Cook
Info:Oxford Paperbacks (2000), Paperback, 152 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:nonfiction, music, read in 2009

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Music: A Very Short Introduction by Nicholas Cook

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    Teoria De La Musica, Una Guia (Tezontle) by Claude Abromont (a20008137)
    a20008137: puede servir especie de complemento musicológico a este libro, para la gente que recién se inicia en el estudio de la música, e incluso para quienes están ya metidos en ello.
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The recurring themes of this book are that the performer and listener are just as important as the composer and that what music does is more important that what music is. These approaches are more easily generalisable beyond the Western musical canon (an idea that is very bound up with the 19th century) into music from other cultures and into different traditions and types of music within Western culture. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Feb 2, 2014 |
I quite enjoyed this little book – and in general find the idea of the Very Short Introduction series a good one. I’m trying to learn about music, a topic which I know almost nothing about, and this was probably a good place to start. It doesn’t review any formal topics, more esoteric ones – the concept of the composer/artist as primary source, authenticity and relative importance of one genre vs. another. I don’t feel well versed enough to analyze things any further at this point, but I plan to reread once I’ve got some more knowledge. But here are some quotes I found interesting:

“Words do work because they do not simply reflect how things are. We do work with words by using them to change things, to make things the way they are. Or to put it more abstractly, language constructs reality rather than merely reflecting it. And this means that the languages we use of music, the stories that we tell about it, help to determine what music is – what we mean by it, and what it means to us. The values wrapped up in the idea of authenticity, for example, are not simply there in the music; they are there because the way we think about music puts them there, and of course the way we think about music also affects the way we make music, and so the process becomes circular. It is this kind of continuity in thinking about things that creates what we call ‘traditions’, whether in music or anything else.”

“High art or ‘art’ music, meant the notation-based traditions of the leisured classes, … Low art meant everything else, that is to say the limitless variety of popular and mainly non-notated – and hence historically irretrievable – musical traditions. Some low art, according to this view, might have valuable qualities of its own, in particular the rural folksongs … such folksongs were seen as conveying something of the unspoilt national character of the countryside and its inhabitants. But that did not stop them being seen as low art, because they did not spring from the individual vision of an inspired composer. The voice of the people might be heard through them, but hardly the voice of Music.”

“students are being inducted into the world of Western musicianship, in which music is made up of ‘things’ to hear, constructed out of notes in the same sense that houses are constructed out of bricks. And this has two results. The first is that music is transformed from being primarily something you do (but do not necessarily know how you do) to something you know (but may not necessarily do); … The second is that it becomes increasingly difficult to conceive that music might work in other ways, or to hear it properly if it does; the harder you listen, the more you hear it in terms of the notes and chords and formal types of the Western tradition, and the less you can understand music that works primarily in terms of timbre and texture, say.” ( )
2 vote janepriceestrada | Jan 9, 2013 |
Brevity demands focus or superficiality. Here, Nicholas Cook's essay is largely about a philosophy of music. Eschewing any more than passing consideration of the international history of music, he acknowledges the diversity of music but starts his intellectual journey with Beethoven and his more detailed examples are drawn more from 'Classical' music than Rock or Pop. Despite this, the main thrust of his argument is about our response to music and its creation; there is nothing here about musical structures or forms. As this idea of involvement and perception develops, the book becomes increasingly academic. This is a short sharp introduction for the intelligent articulate non-musicologist who might consider studying further. I imagine that someone seeking such a grounding would prefer this to be the opening of a larger book while those to whom brevity is critical would prefer a broader more superficial approach. ( )
  TheoClarke | Jun 12, 2009 |
This "Very Short Introduction" to music invites us to think about music and the values and qualities we ascribe to it, but in a rather "popped-up" manner. The world teems, it states, with different kinds of music - traditional, folk, classical, jazz, rock, pop - and each type of music tends to come with its own way of thinking. Drawing on a wealth of overly accessible examples ranging from Beethoven to the Spice Girls to Chinese zither music, Nicholas Cook attempts to provide a framework for thinking about all music. By examining the personal, social, and cultural values that music embodies, the book controversially asserts the shortcomings of traditional conceptions of music, and sketches a more inclusive (for this, substitute "dumbed down") approach emphasising the role of performers and listeners.
  antimuzak | Mar 27, 2006 |
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Nicholas Cookprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gentili, NathalieTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192853821, Paperback)

What is music? How is it constructed? How is it consumed? Why do you enjoy it at all? In Music: A Very Short plays Introduction, Nicholas Cook invites us to really think about music and the role it plays in our lives and our ears. Drawing on a number of accessible examples, the author prompts us to call on our own musical experiences in order to think more critically about the roles of the performers and the listener, about music as a commodity and an experience, what it means to understand music, and the values we ascribe to it.
This very short introduction, written with both humor and flair, begins with a sampling of music as human activity and then goes on to consider the slippery phenomenon of how music has become an object of thought. Covering not only Western and classical music, Cook touches on all types from rock to Indonesian music and beyond. Incorporating musical forms from every continent, Music will make enjoyable reading for beginner and expert alike.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

What is music? How is it constructed? How is it consumed? Why do you enjoy it at all? In Music: A Very Short plays Introduction, Nicholas Cook invites us to really think about music and the role it plays in our lives and our ears. Drawing on a number of examples, the author prompts us to call on our own musical experiences in order to think more critically about the roles of the performers and the listener, about music as a commodity and an experience, what it means to understand music, and the values we ascribe to it. This introduction begins with a sampling of music as human activity and then goes on to consider the slippery phenomenon of how music has become an object of thought. Covering not only Western and classical music, Cook touches on all types from rock to Indonesian music and beyond. --From publisher's description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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