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Book Details

  • Paperback + Digital Product License Key Folder
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $104.00
  • July 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92988-1
  • 624 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide
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Music Then and Now

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Thomas Forrest Kelly (Author, Harvard University)


A “you are there” guide to masterpieces of Western music.

Music Then and Now offers a vivid introduction to Western music by focusing on 28 works in-depth. Its “you are there” approach—demonstrated by each chapter’s rich historical and cultural context—engages students in the excitement of hearing the music as original audiences did when the music was first performed. Covering all historical periods and genres, the book gives students all the tools they need for close listening. 


You are there

Music Then and Now engages students with rich, contextual history by putting them in the moment when the music was first written, performed, and heard. Kelly treats music as contemporary to its own time. Each chapter focuses on a single masterpiece or small cluster of related works—when they were new.  

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Combines vibrant writing and accessible pedagogy with rich context

Each chapter is organized into three parts—the setting, the music, and the performance—and framed by a contextual introduction that sets the stage and a “Then and Now” conclusion linking the past to the present. In addition, the chapters feature Composer Biographies along with “In Their Own Words” and “You Are There” sidebars to bring the music alive. Six Part Introductions, which provide concise overviews of the major political, artistic, and intellectual trends of the day, frame each historical period.  

Emphasizes close listening

Music Then and Now teaches critical listening skills by focusing on 28 works in great depth. Eighty-four Listening Guides (including multiple guides for longer works) highlight essential musical features in real time, teaching students how to listen. “What to Listen For” boxes spotlight big ideas, and Interactive Listening Guides and Listening Quizzes teach students to thoughtfully engage with all musical styles and genres. The text begins with a brief unit on Fundamental Musical Concepts, teaching students how to listen and what to listen for, accompanied by Author Videos that walk students through the elements of music. Each element is also illustrated with a brief excerpt from the core repertoire. 

Superior video resources

Dynamic author videos, 32 in all, demonstrate how to listen and what to listen for. Six videos walk students through the elements of music, illustrating each element with pithy music examples. The balance of the Author Videos highlights the defining features of individual works. Other videos include the Instruments of the Orchestra, which shows each instrument family in action. and the Metropolitan Opera Videos, which place students in front-row seats to enjoy stunning performances of Don Giovanni, La Bohème, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Die Walküre, Wozzeck, and Doctor Atomic


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    1. Fundamental Musical Concepts and Terms

    PART I Music and Prayer: Medieval and Renaissance Music
    2. Friday, December 25, 1198, Paris: Christmas Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral
    3. Thursday, July 23, 1586, Harleyford Manor, England: William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices and Other Domestic Music

    PART II Music and Speech: Baroque Music
    4. Saturday, February 24, 1607, Mantua: Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo
    5. Tuesday, April 13, 1742, Dublin: George Frideric Handel’s Messiah
    6. Friday, September 18, 1739, Leipzig: Johann Sebastian Bach at Zimmermann’s Coffeehouse

    PART III Music and Reason: Classical Music
    7. Monday, October 29, 1787, Prague: W. A. Mozart’s Don Giovanni
    8. Thursday, December 22, 1808, Vienna: Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor
    9. November 1826, Vienna: A Schubertiade at Joseph von Spaun’s

    PART IV Music and Feeling: Romantic Music
    10. Sunday, December 5, 1830, Paris: Hector Berlioz’s Fantastic Symphony (Symphonie fantastique)
    11. Thursday, March 13, 1845, Leipzig: Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor
    12. Saturday, March 29, 1862, Paris: Clara Schumann Performs Robert Schumann’s Carnaval
    13. Monday, August 14, 1876, Bayreuth: Richard Wagner’s The Valkyrie (Die Walküre)
    14. Friday, December 15, 1893, New York: Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor (From the New World)

    PART V Music and Politics: Twentieth-Century Music
    15. Thursday, May 29, 1913, Paris: Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (Le sacre du printemps)
    16. Monday, December 14, 1925, Berlin: Alban Berg’s Wozzeck
    17. Wednesday, January 15, 1941, Stalag VIIIA, Zgorzelek, Poland: Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time
    18. Thursday, September 26, 1957, New York: Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story

    19. Coda: Into the Twenty-First Century
    Appendix: More Technical Matters


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