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How Music Works: The Science and Psychology…
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How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from…

by John Powell

Other authors: Walter Dixon (Narrator)

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2691561,648 (3.81)5
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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Every so often I come across a book that I can imagine giving as a gift to at least half the people I know. The last one was [b:Yellowrocket|9110743|Yellowrocket|Todd Boss|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1282932744s/9110743.jpg|3334807], the one before that was [b:Earth|1230393|Earth|David Brin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1182086642s/1230393.jpg|1218966]. My 2010/2011 choice is: [b:How Music Works|8463375|How Music Works|John Powell|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1276632563s/8463375.jpg|13327756]

Not just for music geeks:

Is [b:How Music Works|8463375|How Music Works|John Powell|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1276632563s/8463375.jpg|13327756] about music or physics?
Is it for readers who want to better understand music as they are listening?
Is this book for percussionists? for those who play wind instruments? For those who play guitar? Piano?
For those who play their car stereos as loud as they can?
For those who have left a concert crying? or with their eyes crossed? or their hearts beating madly?
Is it for dancers? choreographers? band teachers? parents? People who cry when they hear the NPR theme song?
Movie lovers who know the sound track is crazy important to how much they like a film, but don't know why?

Guess what? The answer is yes to every question above!

Why? Because [a:John Powell|35143|John Powell|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg] uses easy to understand, well illustrated language, lots of descriptive textual and audio examples(on the accompanying CD), plenty of anecdotes and self deprecating humor to help the reader through a huge range of knowledge about the physics and techniques of music which can help anyone become a better musician, listener, teacher, student or just plain music lover!


Still reading? then you might enjoy From Bach To Beer Bottles, The Physics of Music an [a:Ira Flatow|347939|Ira Flatow|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg] NPR Science Friday interview with [a:John Powell|35143|John Powell|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg].

I received this book for free as part of goodreads' first-reads program. ( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
With a lot of humor and avoidance of technical detail, Powell breaks down everything about music including physics, acoustics, decibels, rhythm and melody, and musical scores. Despite the simplicity of the book, I still find myself challenged in remembering all that I learned, but I suspect that this is a good introduction to music for most readers. ( )
  Othemts | Nov 21, 2016 |
Not a bad book, but the author gets totally bogged down in musical jargon towards the middle, which he said he wouldn't do and which I hate. You can avoid this by skipping chapters 7, 8.and 9 and going to the last three chapters, which are more interesting.
The author uses examples which I know, which makes this part of the book fun. ( )
  annbury | Aug 3, 2016 |
Exactly what it says, an overview of the basics from instruments to writing to physics. Well done, even if I knew most of it already, I still learned something by the fact that it’s so clearly written. ( )
  bongo_x | May 16, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a pretty enjoyable book about music and music theory. I thought Powell's writing really shone in his discussion of the acoustics of various instruments / sound in general, although my interest in those topics might be biasing my opinion somewhat. Regardless, his explanations about harmonics, waveforms, etc were particularly well done; I've taken a few courses on speech acoustics in the past, and I wish my professors had been so clearly spoken! I found the book dragged somewhat in the middle, where music theory dominates-- I'm not sure the book truly benefits for 60+ pages on scales/keys, for instance. It picks back up at the end again, happily, although the final chapter ("Listening to Music") seemed to be a bit of a hodge-podge. His discussions of analog/digital technology and how microphones/speakers work were very clearly written, however, if a bit too simplistic for my tastes.

Anyway, if you're looking for a book on basic music theory that isn't super dry, I'd certainly recommend the title. If you're looking for something more physical/psychogical science oriented, this may not be your title. ( )
  kelsiface | Jan 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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John Powellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dixon, WalterNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316098302, Hardcover)

What makes a musical note different from any other sound? How can you tell if you have perfect pitch? Why do 10 violins sound only twice as loud as one? Do your Bob Dylan albums sound better on CD or vinyl? John Powell, a scientist and musician, answers these questions and many more in HOW MUSIC WORKS, an intriguing and original guide to acoustics. In a clear, accessible, and engaging voice, Powell fascinates the reader with his delightful descriptions of the science and psychology lurking beneath the surface of music. With lively discussions of the secrets behind harmony, timbre, keys, chords, loudness, musical composition, and more, HOW MUSIC WORKS will be treasured by music lovers everywhere. The book also includes a CD of examples and exercises from the book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:10 -0400)

John Powell, a scientist and musician, answers questions about harmony, timbre, keys, chords, loudness, musical composition, and many more in this intriguing and original guide to acoustics.

» see all 3 descriptions

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