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How to Listen to and Understand Great Music (Great Courses, #700)

4.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  365 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Great music is a language unto its own, a means of communication of unmatched beauty and genius. And it has an undeniable power to move us in ways that enrich our lives - provided it is understood.
If you have ever longed to appreciate great concert music, to learn its glorious language and share in its sublime pleasures, the way is now open to you, through this series of 4
Audio CD
Published 1998 by The Teaching Company
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(showing 1-30 of 749)
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Benjamin Thomas
My friends, this is one amazing series of lectures. This is thanks almost entirely to the professor, Robert Greenberg, whose incredible ability to keep the listener engaged in the subject matter is beyond my ability to describe adequately. He is eloquent, yet down-to-earth; extremely knowledgeable on his subject matter, yet doesn't make the listener feel stupid; humorous without being silly. But most of all, he is super enthusiastic about the material and that certainly rubbed off on me.

Now, I'v
Julie Davis
Dec 17, 2014 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
I just discovered this was available through Audible for the mere cost of one credit. Just finished the first lesson and have to say that the tidbit about Beethoven at the end was practically worth the price all by itself. I will never listen to that piece of music again without laughing ... brilliant.

Lesson 26: the Symphony, music for everybody.

Miss Allbright: Today's topic will be Hell.
Bart: All right. I sat through Mercy and I sat through Forgiveness. Finally, we get to the goo
Sep 24, 2012 Alexis rated it it was amazing
This lecture series was amazing. Sure, I did not learn to tell the difference between at Rondeau and a Minuet, or between A and A', or to tell when theme 1 is codaing into theme 2. But I know all those things exist now, which is cool, and throughout the 48 lectures, I listened to a whole lot of great music. And I think, for a little while at least, I will be able to tell the difference between a Mozart and a Beethoven, or a Debussy and a Tchaikovsky...
The professor is funny, passionate and engag
Tom Rowe
Jun 14, 2012 Tom Rowe rated it really liked it
This lecture series taught me a lot about concert music. I can now appreciate it on several new levels.
It is so full of information that I could listen to it again and still get a lot out of it. Greenberg is a riot. He is so funny and makes the material so much fun. Towards the end, I even strarted writing down some of his better quotes like "two twists short of a slinky." HA! It would get five stars, but it didn't sell me on opera. I'm still not sure what it is and how exactly it differs from
David Everling
Jan 11, 2015 David Everling rated it really liked it
48 lectures, 45 minutes each

Course Lectures:

Sources-The Ancient World and the Early Church
The Middle Ages
Introduction to the Renaissance
The Renaissance Mass
The Madrigal
Introduction to the Baroque
Style Features of Baroque Music and a Brief Tutorial on Pitch, Motive, Melody, and Texture
The Rise of German Nationalism in Music
Baroque Opera, Part 1
Part 2
Baroque Sacred Music, Part 1-The Oratorio
Part 2-The Lutheran Church Cantata
Baroque Instrumen
Nov 04, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it
This is an audio-class which I listened to in my car (for months upon months!) -- 48 lectures doesn't sound like a lot, but at 45 minutes each, well... it took some time.

Very good class, outstanding professor who made me laugh all the time! What I missed is not his fault -- it was that dedicated note taking, study, and review work that I used to do in college which really cemented the lessons and helped me compare and contrast themes and ideas throughout courses. I would have also liked a few r
Vladimir Mityukov
Jul 10, 2014 Jerzy rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
Overall, it's been a good (but LONG!) course.

I do wish Greenberg had spent a bit less time on telling jokes or gossiping about composers' personal lives, and more time on concrete musical examples (which were great when he presented them---just not as often as I'd have liked).

The course has given me more appreciation for how novel some old/familiar-sounding works must have been when they were first composed. The first few lectures (pre-Baroque) were particularly good, helping me understand why h
Jul 30, 2015 Mariana rated it it was amazing
At times so exciting and at times very demanding, it took me 2 months to finish this course. But I definitely feel that my understanding of music has reached another level, especially its evolution throughout time. I'm looking forward to another one of Greenberg's courses.
Well, It's so lovely.
Academically, I like the course design and the music works selected.
Musically, I guess I will be more appreciative to whatever I play :))
Regardless I like it or not, but what those great musicians did and how music expressed much about their life; both personal & political, makes me understand alot.
Historically, I like that Professor paid a great attention to "The Middle Class" and how it was formed and how this affected music and art. This was very important to me in u
Neil Crocker
Jan 31, 2016 Neil Crocker rated it it was amazing
You don't read this; you listen to it. In this case all 48 discs. Professor Robert Greenberg is a riot. He is a total music nerd with a fantastic turn of phrase and contagious enthusiasm for great music. Although I did not retain more than about 10% of the information covered, I enjoyed listening to almost every minute of this course and am ready to attend some music recitals, with a little background knowledge and a framework for listening to and understanding the music being played. Awesome!
Jun 28, 2015 Kristin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, learning
Well, I've been avoiding writing this review for a few days now. Basically, the whole experience struck me so hard I've become inarticulate and I'd love to just say "WOW" and be done with it. But, alas, that doesn't help you. So, here's a bit of a review.

I don't often give five stars. I'm quite chintzy with them, in fact. However, in this case, I wish I had more than five stars to give.

David has given us a listing of the course contents. As you can see, it's quite broad. Honestly, I got the book
Dhs Sparrell
Mar 08, 2015 Dhs Sparrell is currently reading it
I've listened to 40/48 CD's, and I'm taking a break, reading Charles Rosen, _Classical Style_.

I think for what it does, Greenberg's lecture series is good. However, taken the wrong way, perhaps it may leave the listener thinking in too rigid a fashion about musical structure.

On the other hand, I enjoy *Rosen's* early discussion, in _Classical Style_, in that he suggests that sonata form in the classical period may not really be a precise form as such, and more something that developed organical
Bill Glover
Dec 12, 2014 Bill Glover rated it really liked it
48 lectures, that took a while. I'm glad for the historical context, it was definitely interesting. It's only been a hundred years since the time of recorded music. Before than people lived in mostly music free environment and if they wanted to hear some they had to play it themselves. It's strange to imagine, and interesting to try and figure out the ways in which that's effected every other part of our society across so many ethnic ad cultural boundaries. One of the last books I read was about ...more
Dec 17, 2013 Sullyfitz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
This was one fantastic audiobook! This is part of the the Great Courses lecture series and if you order it through Great Courses it would cost about $300. However, if you order it through, it costs one credit, which is about $14.00. the only difference is that you don't receive the written course material, which might have come in handy on occasion but is not necessary to enjoy this incredible experience.

So what is this great experience? It is nothing short of a 48 lecture course on,
Oct 02, 2008 Suzy rated it it was amazing
I've just finished the series, and what a joy driving has become thanks to Dr. Greenberg! To illustrate my ignorance and that I've now actually learned something thanks to him.... I glanced at Chris' shelves and put on Bolero. I'd always labeled it "classical" in my mind, but as I listened to it, it clicked that the music was about timbre (I'd just listened to Greenberg's lecture on Debussy), was experimental, didn't sound classical, and that it had to be "modern"--and then it clicked that Ravel ...more
Karen Young
Jun 29, 2015 Karen Young rated it it was amazing
I listened to this as an audiobook (duh, music, right?). Basic overview of western music from the early Greeks until modern-era music (Shoenberg etc). Robert Greenberg makes this more fun than it might sound; picture one of the Car Talk guys telling you stories about the composers and you get the general idea. I have a background in music, but even so, I had to pay attention to some of the concepts, but overall very accessible.
Jared Gillins
Feb 29, 2016 Jared Gillins rated it really liked it
Overall, this was excellent. I've always loved music, but "classical" and opera have been my largest blind spots for most of my life. This series of lectures has constituted a big step toward correcting that.

One small critique: I would have liked a little more time spent on a conclusion to sort of tie everything together at the end. Not a huge deal, but it would have been nice.
Chris Aldrich
Jun 10, 2013 Chris Aldrich rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This was simply lovely and interesting. Given the huge amount of material one could cover under such a broad topic, Greenberg did a fantastic job "editing" and creating as simple and clear a line through the material as possible. Obviously there is a lot missing, but you can only do so much in an introductory treatment. And even with the introductory treatment, I'll likely need a second and third pass through everything to really absorb it all.

I can't wait to delve into some of his other works o
Bob Blainey
Aug 02, 2015 Bob Blainey rated it it was amazing
Whatever your knowledge of concert music and music history, please treat yourself to these lectures by Bob Greenberg. His knowledge, passion and especially his sense of humour bring both the music and the composers alive. The two lectures on Beethoven's 5th alone are worth the price of the course!
Jun 28, 2015 Senta rated it it was amazing
I listened to the "book on tape."
Absolutely loved it! The narrator (Robert Greenberg) is hilarious and very
easy to follow as he describes many abstract musical terms and endless dates of music origin.
Will listen to it over again to catch all the fine points. Really enjoyed this!!
Jessie Lorenz
Aug 30, 2014 Jessie Lorenz rated it it was amazing
This course is amazing, it change how I will listen to music forever. Here's a YouTube playlist of the moving pieces featured in this recording. I can't say enough wonderful things about this audiobook. Get it. You won't be disappointed.
Aug 03, 2016 Manish rated it it was amazing
Incredible course that I've heard twice. Prof Greenberg makes classical music accessible and structured so that I can still make use of some of what he said almost a year after having listened to the course
What an amazing lecture. Yes, it's long, but considering how long music has been around this barely scratches the surface. Robert Greenberg is an excellent lecturer, entertaining and teaching simultaneously, keeping me wanting more. I will definitely be seeking out more of his lectures - this was the perfect way to be introduced to the Great Lectures series.
Apr 13, 2016 Shockvalue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent survey course on concert music.
This has revived my interest in concert music.
If you are looking for a survey course on this subject, I would recommend this without hesitation.
Mar 31, 2016 kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished Lectures 1-27. I intend to continue to the end, 48 lectures in all. It is a wonderful course. But t'was time for Kevin Burke's Irish fiddle and William Jackson's pipes!
Nov 04, 2014 Jean rated it it was amazing
Brilliant course. Funny lecturer. Gave me a greater appreciation even of Schönberg who was never a favorite. Wish it was even longer. Will seek out his other courses.
Jun 24, 2016 Jesse rated it it was amazing
I love The Great Courses, and I especially love Professor Robert Greenberg and his music history and appreciation courses. I consider myself to be very knowledgeable already in the subject of classical music, but I still learn so much from every lecture. Highly recommend.
Mar 14, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing
This is a Great Courses series of lectures by a professor who LOVES his subject. He infuses each lecture with a great enthusiasm, funny jokes, insightful commentary, and direct dialogue. I finished listening to these and felt more knowledgeable and more appreciative of what I was listening to. There were moments when his teaching helped me appreciate works to the point where I felt tears spring to my eyes because the music had evoked the emotion that the composer had intended.
Brad D. Faglie, MD
Jan 12, 2015 Brad D. Faglie, MD rated it it was amazing
I have few "great" professors. Indeed, a quick mental survey comes up with two maybe three. I was completely absorbed by Robert Greenberg and his survey course of great music from start to finish. This course has done what I believe all great courses should strive to do. I have learned much, had fun doing it, and feel now there is so much about the western music canon and it's evolution I still want to learn. I will be purchasing his other "great" courses.
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Robert M. Greenberg is an American composer, pianist and musicologist. He has composed more than 50 works for a variety of instruments and voices, and has recorded a number of lecture series on music history and music appreciation for The Teaching Company.

Greenberg earned a B.A. in music, magna cum laude, from Princeton University and received a Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Ca
More about Robert Greenberg...

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“Along the way [Mozart] got married; fathered seven children (two of whom survived into adulthood); performed as a pianist; violinist; and conductor; maintained a successful teaching studio; wrote thousands of letters; traveled widely; attended the theater religiously; played cards, billiards, and bocce; and rode horseback for exercise. Not bad for someone portrayed as a giggling idiot in the movies.” 6 likes
“When we hear a Mozart piano concerto today, we're most likely to hear the piano part played on a modern concert grand. In the hands of a professional pianist, such a piano can bury the strings and the winds and hold its own against the brass. But Mozart wasn't composing for a nine-foot-long, thousand-pound piano; he was composing for a five-and-a-half-foot-long, hundred-and-fifty-pound piano built from balsa wood and dental floss.” 3 likes
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