Bach, Beethoven and the Boys – Tenth Anniversary Edition!: Music History As It Ought To Be Taught

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Amazon Price: $17.95 (as of February 8, 2017 10:24 AM – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Bach, Beethoven and the Boys chronicles the lives of the great (and not-so-great) composers as you've never read them before – exploring their sex lives, exposing their foibles and expanding our knowledge of these remarkable but also human creatures.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Sound And Vision; 10 Anv edition (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0920151108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0920151105
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces

Customer Reviews

This funny book is a must for anyone interested in music.

16 people found this helpful.
 on July 30, 1998
David W. Barber is to music history what Victor Borge is to classical piano; both invigorate their subject with fresh humor and insight. This book is a wonderfully funny look at classical music, and it is all true! Read this book and you will know that classical music is not the stuffed shirt that many believe it to be. Barber’s history is especially humorous for musicians and the musically savvy. One gets the impression that Barber has waded through many scholarly works to pull out these gems of information. It is easy to distinguish between the information and the embellishments, making this a perfect companion to any hard working music student. The illustrations by Dave Donald compliment the text perfectly and are also good likenesses of the composers. The text begins with a painless history of Gregorian Chant and proceedes through 20th Century music, discussing all of the big composers and the major movements in music history. I wholeheartedly recommend this! book to the musically educated and those who want to be.

music history with humour

10 people found this helpful.
 on February 8, 2003
A relatively concise history of Western music with quite a lot of comic flair. One also learns about aspects of Western culture one may have forgotten: such as, that musicians were commonly supported in Europe by their patrons who were wealthy dukes or had other hereditary claims. Also I learned that Handel visited Italy spent the latter part of his life in London and grew quite wealthy; that Bach was happily married but never wealthy, and that he lived in many different German cities; that Mozart was not rich at all;that Haydn visited London; that Tchaikovsky was prone to nervous ailments. In the course of reading this book I borrowed the following CD’s which assisted me in my understanding, as well as being enjoyable listening: Schumann’s “Songs For Children”; Tchaikowsky’s “Symphony #6 (Pathetique)”, several Beethoven piano sonatas including the Appassionata and Pathetique, Handel’s “Water Music”; Mozart’s opera overtures, Haydn’s “Surprise” and “Military” symphonies.

Great read for quick understanding of the famed musicians

6 people found this helpful.
 on October 14, 2004
By Gary King
I received this book from my violin teacher when I was about 8 years old or so, and when I read this book it really helped me to quickly understand the lives behind the music I was playing. The book also had a great sense of humor, and was easy to understand but also not overly simple.

A review for Teachers

4 people found this helpful.
 on November 16, 1997
I read this book when I was in high school and used it on a few papers. I plan to buy it, either here or elsewhere. If you are a teacher, I recommend this book as it presents a different view of these mythical heroes and shows them as heroes. It also teaches what most historians won’t touch in their books and is an easy read for every student. If you are just interested in musical history, I recommend this book as general reading as it is humourous as well as informative.

A Fun Lesson in Music History

4 people found this helpful.
 on August 3, 1997
David W. Barber is an excellent writer and writes about music history in a way that makes it highly enjoyable. It consoles the mind to know that even though they wrote incredible music, all of the famous composers were most definitely human. Bach, Beethoven, and the Boys is a fabulous book and I would recommend it to anyone who has any interest in music

This is a book of HUMOR!

6 people found this helpful.
 on May 22, 2007
By David Adams
Um . . . this is a book of humor, not a book on music history. Well, maybe you have to be a music teacher who has struggled with teaching music history to 12-year-olds who are forced to be in your class to fully appreciate it all. I thought it was hilarious, but then, music teachers who have 2000 students a week think nearly anything is hilarious. Go elsewhere for accuracy or historical facts, but for some reason or other, it seems necessary to point out that this IS a book of humor.

An Entertaining Romp Through the History of Music

8 people found this helpful.
 on May 17, 2005
By David Kidwell
“Bach, Beethoven and the Boys” is a quick and fun read, particularly for someone who already knows a thing or two about music history. Author David W. Barber’s attempt to show some of the great classical composers as regular guys is refreshing. Unfortunately, his impartiality falters from time to time, such as in the sections on Wagner, opera, and twentieth century music. There are also a couple of factual errors and occasional passing references to a composers without further explanation (such as Mahler), and Barber’s penchant for putting most of his funny lines in footnotes becomes annoying after a while.

music history with humour

3 people found this helpful.
 on February 8, 2003
A relatively concise history of Western music with quite a lot of comic flair. One also learns about aspects of Western culture one may have forgotten: such as, that musicians were commonly supported in Europe by their patrons who were wealthy dukes or had other hereditary claims. Also I learned that Handel visited Italy spent the latter part of his life in London and grew quite wealthy; that Bach was happily married but never wealthy, and that he lived in many different German cities; that Mozart was not rich at all;that Haydn visited London; that Tchaikovsky was prone to nervous ailments. In the course of reading this book I borrowed the following CD’s which assisted me in my understanding, as well as being enjoyable listening: Schumann’s “Songs For Children”; Tchaikowsky’s “Symphony #6 (Pathetique)”, several Beethoven piano sonatas including the Appassionata and Pathetique, Handel’s “Water Music”; Mozart’s opera overtures, Haydn’s “Surprise” and “Military” symphonies.

This was a great book.

9 people found this helpful.
 on December 29, 1998
Bach, Beethoven, and the boys, was a great book. It was hysterical and insightful. While giving you all the facts, it let you know a little bit about composers private lives.

Great for Learning and Laughs!

 on April 2, 2016
By Amazon Customer
Funny, entertaining & and a good mix of trivia (e.g. Bach’s silver coffee & teapots) with important stuff about their compositions, personal histories, etc. From other sources I’ve read the past 50 years, I can vouch for the accuracy of Mr Barber’s info, dates, etc. One could only wish the book could give even more detail, trivial & important, about his subjects. Don’t know how much he tells about Rossini and more recent composers, as I haven’t quite finished reading the whole book. Any music lover who has any sense of humor at all will enjoy this tome. I’m eager to read his other books, as well. Highly recommended!

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