Natalie's Reviews > How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond

How Music Works by John        Powell
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Jan 05, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction, first-reads
Recommended for: music lovers, musicians, music students, music teachers, concert goers, theater lovers, film buffs

Every so often I come across a book that I can imagine giving as a gift to at least half the people I know. The last one was Yellowrocket, the one before that was Earth. My 2010/2011 choice is: How Music Works

Not just for music geeks:

Is How Music Works about music or physics?
Is it for readers who want to better understand music as they are listening?
Is this book for percussionists? for those who play wind instruments? For those who play guitar? Piano?
For those who play their car stereos as loud as they can?
For those who have left a concert crying? or with their eyes crossed? or their hearts beating madly?
Is it for dancers? choreographers? band teachers? parents? People who cry when they hear the NPR theme song?
Movie lovers who know the sound track is crazy important to how much they like a film, but don't know why?

Guess what? The answer is yes to every question above!

Why? Because John Powell uses easy to understand, well illustrated language, lots of descriptive textual and audio examples(on the accompanying CD), plenty of anecdotes and self deprecating humor to help the reader through a huge range of knowledge about the physics and techniques of music which can help anyone become a better musician, listener, teacher, student or just plain music lover!


Still reading? then you might enjoy From Bach To Beer Bottles, The Physics of Music an Ira Flatow NPR Science Friday interview with John Powell.

I received this book for free as part of goodreads' first-reads program.
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Reading Progress

January 5, 2011 – Started Reading
January 5, 2011 – Shelved
January 7, 2011 –
page 34
12.5% "I wish I would have read this when I was _____________ (fill in the blank) with whenever you last heard a magnificant voice, or slept with a musician, or tried to understand someone who's world moves to the sound of music everyday!"
January 8, 2011 –
page 96
35.29% "Wonderful to read about how the body works instead of how it fails! The perfect antidote to all those sidebar ads encouraging users to fix themselves up, cure themselves, and become better people! The phenomenon that is music and our body's response to it is wonderful to learn about."
January 14, 2011 –
page 96
35.29% "Why cave people liked chords and harmony: Everyone was delighted, and people became less fretful about the total absence of weatherproofing."
January 18, 2011 – Finished Reading

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