Classical Music 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Classical Music
Eldridge, Meg, Strings
Classical Music101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Classical Music. Hyperion Books, 2002. 336 PPs., $14.95. ISBN 0-7868-8627-7.
Classical Music 101 is an amazingly complete volume, considering the scope of its content. Even as a professional musician, I found it entertaining and informative to read. This book covers all of the mysterious elements that my friends who aren't familiar with classical music have asked me over the years: What are the instruments that make up a symphony orchestra? How did they evolve? How do they produce sound? The book also covers the topic of tone quality (timbre) and how it applies to the "voices of the orchestra," as well as the evolution of the orchestra, how composers compose, how conductors conduct, how singers sing, how to listen at a live performance, and whether to study the music beforehand or just trust your experience.
Author Fred Plotkin addresses what it means to really listen to and appreciate music.
He states that the goal of his book is "to teach the reader to develop listening skills and memory and to nourish an eagerness to make connections among different composers and their works. …