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Understanding the Fundamentals of Music

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  23 reviews
In this course, Professor Greenberg offers a spirited introduction to this magnificent language nimbly avoiding what for many of us has long been the principal roadblock, the need to read music.

For anyone wanting to master music's language, being able to read musical notation is a necessity. But this course, as Professor Greenberg notes, is a basic course, designed to int
Audible Audio, 13 pages
Published July 13th 2013 by The Great Courses (first published 2007)
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While I highly recommend all of Robert Greenberg's Teaching Company Great Courses, this one I'd suggest to those who really want to understand the specific funamentals of music. This course dives into the nitty gritty of timbre, beat, tone, etc. While I found it incredibly informative, it's not quite as interesting or engaging as his other courses. I do however highly recommend if for those who are committed to fully understanding how to listen to and understand great music. I'd recommend listen ...more
Jared Gillins
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
In general, the lectures got harder to follow and really process as they progressed. I simply don't have much depth of background in music theory. But Greenberg assures the listener that you're not supposed to just get it all on your first listen, that the course was designed for repeat listening, and I can appreciate that. It's one of the Great Courses I'd actually like to own (as opposed to just borrowing them from the library).

As always, very well constructed and lectured extremely well.
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good intro. to music theory. This series would be excellent to listen to several times as it takes repetition to learn this material. Impressive attempt to explain music theory without musical notation.
Emmy Gregory
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert Greenberg is one of the best TGC teachers I've found and he is a joy to learn from. Having enjoyed a few of his other courses via Audible I finally got round to shelling out for this one on TGC itself, since it's not on Audible (yet, anyway). For someone like me who already knows quite a bit of music theory, but has picked it up in dribs and drabs from playing instruments and singing rather than studying it directly, it was really interesting to go through the subject from the very simple ...more
Dhs Sparrell
A *listening* course in music / orchestra. Not a music notation course. I'm listening as I go to and from work.

It's stirring up my urge to listen to more classical music: I'm listening for things I've heard about from prof. Greenberg. Greenberg! Whoa, pedigree: Rogers Sessions->Andrew Imbrie-->Robert Greenberg. Impressive.

Fun course.

Nice sample passages to illustrate this and that. Get you fired up about the music. And not just sloppy simple picks, like say only things from Vivaldi's four seas
Kristi Richardson
I will have to listen to these lectures again and again because it is like a foreign language, trying to figure out what Professor Greenberg is talking about.

I have to admit that I am tone deaf so listening for the beats or the rhythms are very difficult for me.

However, I did find this the most comprehensive series about music fundamentals in which I have ever listened.

I highly recommend this course and any course by Robert Greenberg. He is the best Professor the Great Courses has.
David “Skip” Everling
Music Theory taught with dramatic flair by Robert Greenberg. Covers Timbre, Beat & Tempo, Meter, Pitch & Mode, Intervals, Tonality, Key Signature, Melody, Harmony, and Texture. Applies particularly to western Classical music, which Greenberg plays great works of throughout the course to illustrate each subject. ...more
Nicolás Díaz
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: educational, music
Very complete and a great introduction to the fundamentals of western music. Despite the complexity of the subject, it is never arid given Robert Greenberg enthusiasm and the focus on telling by example.
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started out good, but went over my head about half-way through. Will need to listen to it more than once to grasp it all.
Robert Greenberg does an excellent job, though. His enthusiasm is inspiring all on its own.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly "fundamental" concepts, explained clearly and entertainingly. Wish I had listened to this book prior to the other ones by Prof. Greenberg, since the terminology here would have helped a lot with my understanding of the other ones.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all students of music!
This is a fantastic video course! The author/speaker requires no understanding of written music. He starts from the beginning , so you need know nothing about music theory, but he advances to advanced concepts in it! Great for all students of music!
Hlöðver Sigurðsson
As a musician, this sharpened my sens of musical understanding. I am amazed how Greenberg manages to make these lectures on the hearing aspect of music without making it unaccessible to the average Joe.
Sergey Georgievich
Very useful, listened to it three times.
Evgeniy Vasilev
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have to listen to it for several more times.
Nina Braden
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent but very technical and at times rather difficult. Adding more lessons and slowing the pace might help.
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the Key Signature & The Circle of Fifth the most!.
It takes me long time to understand it while practicing and I just got it now!
Merci Monsiuer Robert :)
Oct 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little hard to follow with no visual aids, but still great.
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent course you could listen to over and over again and still find new nuggets. All the less than 4* reviews are from people who didn't listen when he said that you'll probably need to listen to it a few times to really get the material. Music theory is complicated. And though I know a lot about it and have taken classes in it, this was still fresh, interesting, and well worth listening to. Gave me tons of ideas, taught me several things I didn't know, and was also a great refres ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
12 hours 15 minutes running time.
As usual Greenberg is mesmerizing and energetic.
The topic is however much dryer that his other lectures.
As he says himself: the goal is to help get an outline of a huge topic. He is doing this well in my opinion.
Jim A
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Lots of information in this. When I critiqued a piece of modern music to my music degree holding fiancé, she told me not to be a music snob lol
Jun 23, 2011 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Audio book - because "a musical excerpt's worth a thousand pictures."
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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

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