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.
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Exactly the book I wanted to hear
- glen southern
Good book, shame about the lack of music.
Howard Goodall's take on the history of music is fascinating and his descriptions of historical music engaging.
The book helped me consolidate my interest piqued by Howard Goodall's TV series of the same name.
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.
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.