A Student’s Guide to Music History (Preston A. Wells Jr. Guide to the Major Disciplines)

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R. J. Stove’s A Student’s Guide to Music History is a concise account, written for the intelligent lay reader, of classical music’s development from the early Middle Ages onwards. Beginning with a discussion of Hildegard von Bingen, a twelfth-century German nun and composer, and the origins of plainchant, Stove’s narrative recounts the rise (and ever-increasing complexity) of harmony during the medieval world, the differences between secular and sacred music, the glories of the contrapuntal style, and the origins of opera. Stove then relates the achievements of the high baroque period, the very different idioms that prevailed during the late eighteenth century, and the emergence of Romanticism, with its emphasis upon the artist-hero. With the late nineteenth century came a growing emphasis on musical patriotism, writes Stove, especially in Spain, Hungary, Russia, Bohemia, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and the United States. A final section discusses the trends that have characterized music since 1945.

Stove’s guide also singles out eminent composers for special coverage, including Palestrina, Monteverdi, Handel, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Debussy, Richard Strauss, Sibelius, and Messiaen. As a brief orientation to the history and countours of classical music, A Student’s Guide to Music History is an unparalleled resource.

Product Details

  • Series: Preston A. Wells Jr. Guide to the Major Disciplines
  • Paperback: 90 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute (January 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933859415
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933859415
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces

Customer Reviews

Very Good Overview of Classical Music

5 people found this helpful.
 on March 19, 2012
By Bruce J Blanchard
Most books in the arena of Classical Music, though very good in their own respects, usually cover a little of the pre-Baroque era through the musical compositions of say Stravinsky (Rites of Spring) and Aaron Copland (Appalachian Spring). They tend to deal with the greats, such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Lizst and so many others. In this, they would be right. The first thing that strikes me about Stove’s book is he takes it into the modern era with names that took the Classical efforts into new and strange orchestral compositions. Another element within the confines of the book we get to know their personalities making them human, despite the fact they dealt with grander visions of imagination than most of us will ever know. The writing is not pedantic. It does not take the time to list each and every work of the composer; other books will attempt to do just that. It leads you along in a readable way and gives the reader a very nice overview of the composers, their eras, the influences, and their humanity. The book takes the iconic, along with the essential technical aspects of music, and presents the material into a format that you can understand and appreciate. I like this work and would highly recommend it for all who lose themselves with the strains of music that transcend and go beyond the inanities of our normal lives. If you have always been curious about Classical Music and why the rest of us appear to be so lost in the past, this is your chance to understand the grandeur and glory of Orchestral Music.

Great introductory music history book!

 on May 31, 2015
By Gail Nelson
I really enjoyed the abbreviated history, it’s a great overview without too much detail and an enjoyable read.

Any one with interest in the great strides of classical music over the centuries should look into

18 people found this helpful.
 on May 4, 2008
By Midwest Book Review
Music is as old as humanity itself, and to some, just may be older than that. “A Student’s Guide to Music History” covers from the early middle ages and onwards, focusing on classical music’s development since then. Origins of the Plainchant, differences between secular and sacred music, and origins of opera are all covered, as are intriguing portraits of many famous composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss among others. Any one with interest in the great strides of classical music over the centuries should look into “A Student’s Guide to Music History”, which should be in every community library music collection.

clear and succinct

20 people found this helpful.
 on February 26, 2008
By Jeffrey Tucker
I’ve enjoyed this book so much, and give great credit to both the author and publisher. It is intelligent, charming, and incredibly informative given its size. I’m using it in a class with some young teens, and they have loved it — even if it is a bit over their level.

simply marvellous

17 people found this helpful.
 on May 26, 2008
By Monkman
Eurocentric it certainly is, but you will not read a more informative, judicious, concise, indeed subtly brilliant account of the masters of music than this. The publishing person who has slotted this into the 9-13 year-old age range needs to get into a different line of work. The young should certainly be encouraged to read it. But Stove weaves his most potent magic for grown-up minds. Stunning.

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