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A History of Western Music

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,252 ratings  ·  34 reviews
In a shift of emphasis, A History of Western Music places people making choices at the centre of the story, not as peripheral figures in the evolution of musical works and styles. Linking historical and social context directly to musical practice and styles, the book is organised around three central themes: people making choices; the tension between cultural tradition and ...more
Hardcover, Seventh Edition, 965 pages
Published July 6th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1960)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,654)
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Alexis
i'm such a nerd. i've never read this cover to cover, but i've probably read every page at least once, and i'm getting ready to the whole cover to cover thing soon for a big exam. i <3 the grout, and each edition has been better than the previous. it even has a few chicks and black people in it now. no black chicks yet. are there any other grout nerds out there?
GeschiedenisBeleven
Iedereen die is geïnteresseerd in de westerse klassieke muziek en haar geschiedenis kent wel het standaardwerk Geschiedenis van de westerse muziek van Donald J. Grout en Claude V. Palisca. Oorspronkelijk verschenen in 1960 beleeft dit nog altijd gezaghebbende boek nu alweer zijn 13e druk.

In de jaren 50 begon de inmiddels overleden Amerikaanse musicoloog Grout aan het monnikenwerk, dat hij uiteindelijk in 1960 in de Verenigde Staten uitbracht onder de titel A History of Western Music. Het vertaa
...more
Kathryn
Everybody else in my class hates this book, but I think it's wonderful. It does go into a lot of detail about the form and structure of specific pieces. But even that information can be useful and interesting. If you want a resource on music history, this is great. It provides great historical context for the development of musical eras and genres, and makes lots of parallels to literature and art too.
Kathy
Quotable:
To the general public Handel is known almost exclusively as a composer of oratorios; nonetheless, for thirty-five years of his life his principal occupation was composing and conducting operas. That Messiah is known to everyone and Giulio Cesare only to a few may be explained by the fact that opera is one of the most ephemeral of all species of musical composition. Yet Handel’s operas contain as large a proportion of memorable music as his oratorios. He was no revolutionist, like Montev
...more
Edi
Marvelous introduction to Music History in Western Civilization.
My copy was well-worn, and almost purloined by Igor Stravinsky, who misunderstood I wanted to autograph the page with a sketch of him by Picasso. Dr. Edgar Sholund of Chapman College
The Blue Crow
The material covered is highly comprehensive ranging from Greek music to electronic music. I appreciate how the book consistently touches on the political, intellectual, and religious movements alongside with the development of music in a given era. The context helps keep everything grounded in the real world so it's easier to relate, understand, and memorize the plethora of musicians and the underlying meaning behind their works. Explanation of the material never gets too difficult to understan ...more
Mandy Dale
Well written documentary style of western history through the ages. I read selections relating to Baroque, Classical and musical Romantic periods for college paper. Despite not being familiar with most aspects of these time periods prior to writing my paper for college, was able to grasp most of the concepts from numerous genres of music (vocal, instrumental, theater, etc.) and write a decent paper earning full marks (equivalent to an A).
Josabry
Aug 06, 2007 Josabry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who REALLY wants to understand music
Shelves: textbooks
So, let me be honest. I read this book to pass the Praxis exam for music teachers. It took about four months to read, and I ended up buying four other books to use as references, most of them music theory books.

I learned more about music from reading this book than I had in the twenty-nine years and eight months prior to picking it up. It was just amazing. His writing style is very dense - when I say four months, I mean four months, several hours a day of reading, note taking, cross referencing
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Kat
I can finally say I have successfully read this tome in its entirety. It provides a very comprehensive history. Although the recent editions edited by J. Peter Burkholder are conveniently written to correspond with the Norton Anthologies in a very useful way, it makes the two resources sometimes seem redundant. My other real complaint is that parts of this volume are not as objective as I would like - using qualitative judgments in situations when objective descriptions would be more useful. On ...more
Alex Kartelias
The sections on Greek and Rome music theory and philosophy was fascinating- as well as the troubadours during the middle ages, and the short bio's from some of the composers from the baroque, classical and romantic periods- but the music theory for most of this book was just long and drawn out. This is not a book to read if you just want an overview of composers and famous classical pieces. The information goes into a lot of depth. But, for those who are music majors, reading this book will be v ...more
Dea
As a resource, it's nice -- pretty comprehensive, gives just enough details to either pique your interest in a certain topic or give you the certainty that you don't really care, etc. Rather dense, but if you're very much into music history, it's great. Otherwise -- unless you're also looking for a sleep aid, a paperweight, or something very large and heavy to collect dust on your bookshelf -- stay far away. You have to really want the knowledge.

Music students: Good luck.
Lindsey
Just finished reading this book from cover to cover in preparation for graduate school entrance exams (granted, it was only the third edition, which is much shorter than the current version). Whew! It was difficult to get through, and I have a feeling the current edition has a better layout and is easier to follow. Still, it was a good review, but left much to be desired (you can only fit so much detail in a 750 page book on the entire history of Western music!).
Pete Carney
Comprehensive for college music majors only. Grout is comprehensive and difficult. It is a historic effort that challenges anyone with passion for music. This book made me want to write a different book. For a different approach to music appreciation check out www.interactivelistening.com all of the music and videos are built into the ebook.
Andrea
It has a great depth and breadth of information--if you can find it. The book is poorly organized and sections are ordered in a counter-intuitive way. Again, a good thorough survey text that deserves its place as the standard of Western music history. Pity you'll have trouble finding things in it.
Jack
Great book. But let's be honest, it's a text book. If you need to study music history, get it now. If you don't but have an interest and God only knows how many hours to kill, it's readable and certainly will give you a great survey of music from Ancient Greece up until the present.
Becky Lu
Since I'm also a pianist aka post music major, I had to study this text for all the knowledge of musical styles and their composers as well as the composers' famed works. Loving this text.
Jayme
This edition is SO much better than the earlier editions (the ones before Burkholder joined up). More readable; includes more info on music and composers not covered in earlier editions.
Irene
I can't believe the amount of information stored in this book. Nevertheless, it is well written and a joy to read, but I'm glad it was translated into Dutch.
J Dunc
Grout is to music what Poe was to Poetry and Fiction and Mystery! Hey, isn't it ironic that the word "POE" is inside of the word "POETRY!"
Kayleigh
Had to re-read for the music history test. This is what I did in August, and it wasn't super fun. 800 pages of dry writing...
Andrew
If they ever made this into an audiobook, the number of accidents due to drivers falling asleep would skyrocket.
Jessi
This book is really good. I'm happy I'm done reading it, but as far as music history texts go, this one is great.
Samuel Vieira pontes
Excelente livro para referências e pesquisa. Aborda de forma ligeira uma ampla gama de assuntos.
Stephen Ian Savage
It is full of [essentialist] fallacies and is written in a simplistic, Philistinian manner.
Tricia
the most boring book ever written; total torture for every music major on the planet
Clara
Wish we would have used a book like this for our history class at Concordia... fantastic!
Candi
Yerg. At least I read it all the way through (again) before the test.
Mark Dickson
The classic used at our university school of music. I'll finish it someday.
Rosemary
Much more concise and informative than my lecturer.
John
Really good. Best music history text I've run across.
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A Short History of Opera The History of Western Music/Norton Anthology of Western Music Historia De La Musica Occidental, 1 Historia De La Musica Occidental, 2 Mozart in the history of opera: A lecture delivered in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, February 25, 1970 (The Louis Charles Elson memorial lectures)

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