HOW MUSIC WORKS JOHN POWELL PDF
Read "How Music Works The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond" by John Powell available from Rakuten. How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to John Powell, a scientist and musician, answers questions about harmony, timbre, Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App. How Music Works. The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond. by John Powell. Share. Trade Paperback.
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An enthralling investigation into the mysteries of music. Have you ever wondered how off-key you are while singing in the shower? Or if your Bob Dylan albums. John Powell, a scientist and musician, answers these questions and many more in HOW MUSIC WORKS, an intriguing and original guide to acoustics. In a clear. Discover the answers in this ear-opening tour of how music works. John Powell, a classically-trained composer and a physics professor.
Interesting in their own right, but not exactly why I bought the book. Nonetheless, Powell instantly got my attention and held it for the duration. Anyone interested in music or British humour should give this a shot! Interessante proposito. Ambizioso, oltretutto: Riesce nel suo intento?
No tanto per essere diplomatici. Consoliamoci con Britten, suvvia https: View all 3 comments. Nov 18, Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing. Started out loving this book, and ended loving it more.
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I play a couple of instruments played is more accurate and my father made his living at it for most of my childhood, so all of us took up an instrument. I'm not going to tell my brothers they played some of the hardest instruments to learn. I kept at it and thus was exposed to music theory, music appreciation and the lexicon of the infrastructure and guts of musicology, but until "How Music Works" the workings were jumbled bits of informa Started out loving this book, and ended loving it more.
I kept at it and thus was exposed to music theory, music appreciation and the lexicon of the infrastructure and guts of musicology, but until "How Music Works" the workings were jumbled bits of information without form or understanding. Light dawns! I was bummed to finish today, contemplated the criminal act of keeping a library book, and then remembered - it's mine! In the back is a "Fiddly Details" chapter that explains the higher concepts in more depth. You'll want to read about the trucker's gear modulation, and you'll never hear another pop song without noting it or in the Beatles' music the lack thereof.
Powell organized this book like a symphony, and like a symphony I'll visit it repeatedly to appreciate even more.
Buy this book - you'll be glad to have it on your shelf. It is not a moment when you learn something completely new. That is because we rarely pick up books on such topics since we subconsciously feel we already know about it. So, for example, most of the science books I have read taught me new things, but almost none have made me reinterpret things I already knew, to the extent this book has. One must note that the simple moments when you understand something are radically different from light-bulb moments.
But if you explain the same thing to someone who has played the instrument for some time, he will start nodding vociferously with a wide grin on his face. But this is really a crucial aspect of my experience of reading this book. Do you know what is a note? It is any sound which has a repeating waveform — which basically means our ears receive the same information again and again many times a second.
This often, though not necessarily, has a physical basis. For example, when you hit your table, it will also produce a note for the layers and particles of wood will always vibrate in the same way provided you hit at the same point with a similar force each time.
That is why most of the solid objects give, more or less, the same sound on being hit again and again. From notes emerges the idea of the octave do you know the relation between the various notes in an octave?
Theoretically there are many other possible keys, many of which have been tried at different points in history, and the fact that just two survive today is an example of musical evolution over the ages ; keys lead us to chords , and chords to symphonies. The fact that Powell has a great sense of humour adds to the experience of reading the book. It is not uncommon to find authors who try to sound funny but fail miserably.
Thankfully though, Powell has a great sense of timing and execution in this regard and this lifts up his exposition by a few notches. Now I know why the sound of a violin is much more rich and complex than that of a flute; why major keys seem to sound cheerful and minor keys sad; what exactly the role of a conductor in an orchestra is, and loads of other such things.
But now, I can tell you it is because plucking at different places leads to the generation of different combinations of harmonics, leading to a different sound. Reading this book has enabled me to see an art form from a very close perspective. This book is doing a great job of turning passive listeners to active listeners. Talking about structure, there is one aspect in which the book does fall behind a bit. Towards the end the author tries to take up some topics, but does not cover them to the extent needed.
As a reader I felt I would be learning them in slightly more detail, because of the importance of the topics chosen, but they are handled in a rushed, almost forced, manner.
However, that should not take anything away from the lucidity of the rest of the book and I am sure that by the time you finish reading it, you will learn a lot of new things you previously had no clue about — including why I chose this specific title for this review. Feb 28, Maura rated it it was amazing Shelves: His explanations are really clear -- and I think that someone who didn't have much a musical background beyond listening to the radio would still be able to follow everything.
The CD that comes with the book is short but r as someone who's played and sung a lot of music over the years, but who hasn't studied either the physics of music or music theory, this was a great book for organizing the bits and pieces I've picked up over the years and adding in a few things I didn't know for good measure. The CD that comes with the book is short but really well organized and helpful.
In short, I am a huge fan of this book! Perfect book to get to know music, except the attempts at humour were bit annoying, sort of pesky, cos they sounded kiddish but appreciate the author for trying to enliven the writing that way, probably he was scared it might be dry but it was not. Learnt many many things from the book. Thank you, Mr. While not elaborate on the distinctions, especially liked the tidbits and references to Indian classical music.
A sample: For example, Indian traditional music concentrates heavily upon it.
The training of a Western classical musician involves lots of repetition in an attempt to play the notes written by a composer correctly. Traditional Indian musical training is all about how to compose your own music on your instrument as you go along.
The idea is that you have a group of notes as your basic building blocks, and you use them to improvise a piece lasting several minutes. The ability to improvise well is a highly respected talent and it can lead to some interesting interplay between the musicians" I revere my country's rich, rich, and deep cultural heritage and grateful for it, it stands up with the best of the world art's tradition and knowledge, so while I do not know enough of it such notings help to increase that awareness for me Feb 20, William Blair rated it it was ok Recommends it for: It's been a LONG time since I studied music theory, or history, or even played "one of the most difficult instruments to learn" according to this author.
By way of disclosure, I'm not a "trained musician" but I was pretty good: And I'm one of those probably rare types that likes to follow a conductor's score while I listen to "classical" music. So it was with interest that I grabbed onto this book, thinking I would learn something new, if not It's been a LONG time since I studied music theory, or history, or even played "one of the most difficult instruments to learn" according to this author.
So it was with interest that I grabbed onto this book, thinking I would learn something new, if not about sound reproduction, but about the tease in the subtitle of the book, "the psychology of beautiful sounds. While there was nothing that I could not or did not understand, this book's writing style is the first non-academic book for which I could say the word "pedantic" was coined.
Beyond belief. I don't think you can explain concepts that fundamentally lie in the realm of physics and anatomy without using, if not big words, big concepts. Instead of wasting dozens of pages about, basically, frequency analysis, why not just go ahead and explain or reference an explanation of Fourier analysis? Even when I knew or thought I knew where the author was going, I was both bored sensless and amazed at his ability to really talk down to an audience which I think the author perceived as being technology- or science-challenged.
What a waste of his mind and effort! I learned many facts that I have never before encountered. The rest is verbal embroidery for the supposedly dense or recalcitrant.
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Unless you truly have the patience to deal with pedantic kingergarten-type instruction, avoid this book. Apr 05, Jan rated it liked it Shelves: Do you mind if I rant for a bit? Of course you don't. First of all, let me be clear: Someone who borrowed this book from the library before me underlined nearly every single sentence in pencil. It was painfully distracting.
The pencil marks themselves weren't especially distracting.
I just couldn't stop thinking about them. And then put check marks at the end of every paragraph?!
Do they read every book like this? Yes, that's right. I erased someone else's damn pencil marks so I could read a book without being thoroughly annoyed by whoever made the marks. But even that was annoying because then it took me twice as long to read. So don't mark your library books, people. It's rude as all get out. End rant. As for the book itself, my rating is closer to 3. It was very informative, and Powell's writing style and sense of humor kept it from being dry and boring.
I'm a complete music novice. I love music but know virtually nothing about the mechanics of it. So I felt like I learned a lot. Also, whenever he pulled out numbers or fractions, I went cross-eyed. Still, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to get a better handle on the nuts and bolts of how music is both made and perceived.
View 2 comments. Nov 18, Urs rated it liked it Shelves: I have studied music through performance from piano, to voice, to saxophone, to Javanese gamelan As a result, I have read many and varied books about music.
This book was by far one of the more enjoyable, engaging, and informative reads compared to others that I have read. Even I learned a few things in this book.
The book is written in everyday language so that the least in I have studied music through performance from piano, to voice, to saxophone, to Javanese gamelan The book is written in everyday language so that the least informed about music can understand. Information is presented in small sectional chunks within the chapters that are easy to digest. There are little exercises to try throughout to illustrate the concepts and to keep the reader engaged.
There is also an audio CD with examples to enhance the experience, as well. The author also peppers humor throughout, which, although mostly corny, helps lighten the material. Nevertheless, this book fell short of my expectation of it being a book that I can hand to anyone to read and enjoy.
One has to have a certain level and type of interest to get through this book, and I truly doubt that the average music lover has this level of interest or cares enough. There were times when even I would have rather been listening to or making music than reading the book. I cannot think of anyone that I know that would read this book all the way through without it being a task for them.
However, if you do have that level and type of curiosity, then this is a good read. Oct 31, Mary BookHounds rated it really liked it Shelves: This book is so appealing on so many different levels. A lot of times, any book that deals with technical subjects become dry and boring. How Music Works is easy to read and very enjoyable. There is so much wonderful snarky, English humor that you don't even realize you are learning something.
Even if you are a casual fan of music, you will find some eye opening facts in here, such as why you hear those discordant sounds at the beginning of an orchestral concert. They are tuning all of the instr This book is so appealing on so many different levels. They are tuning all of the instruments to the same key! I have spent most of my life around musicians and I don't think even they could explain some of the things in this book.
There are wonderful illustration as well as a lot of interesting facts. I mean, how else could you learn the true meaning of decibels or how loud is too loud?
This would make an excellent gift for anyone who love music or thrives on trivia. Dec 21, Josh rated it really liked it Shelves: Kind of like taking a Music Appreciation class taught by a funny physics professor. Good way to learn about the science of music. With jokes. Sep 15, Brian Barnett rated it really liked it. Entertaining and informative introduction to the history, psychology, and physics of music. Dec 30, Rita rated it it was amazing.
Apr 24, Micheal Hermens rated it it was amazing. Great book! Informative and also enjoyable to read! Sep 28, Zach rated it really liked it. John Powell is a physicist who happens to be a musician. Or maybe it's the other way around. In my case, I always realized that notes are really composed of a central frequency and its harmonics. But if you remove the first harmonic, John Powell is a physicist who happens to be a musician. But if you remove the first harmonic, the remaining harmonics will still sound the same to the human ear.
Older speakers took advantage of this, leaving out the lowest frequency like the 55 Hz for the A note so they could save money on the size and materials for the speaker design.
Chord changes were kind of cool too and got me wondering what chords and what key was used in some well known songs. So I found this website that allows you to change the key of several interesting songs, if you go into piano mode.
The part of the book I enjoyed most occurred late and with little elaboration. After describing why classical music has its appeal and then contrasting it with pop songs, Powell gets into how current music is constructed.
By design, these songs are set up to get you to remember the tunes, get addicted and then just as quickly want to move on to another tune. But he is quickly bored as a musiciain to begin with and chooses instead to describe great classical music. This he likens to a long carpet which is gradually unrolled as you begin to walk over it. Each piece you have passed over reverberates and is then repeated in a different key or through a chord change later or transformed into a different melody entirely.
He finds that he has to listen to a long classical piece a dozen times to begin to play the game of anticipation and to view the entire carpet. So while it was an easier read, it left me wanting more. The author is a brilliant guy and I might have found him more interesting in going over a major work of music to draw out for the reader exactly what he is listening to. To keep the level of the reading simple though, Powell used Baa Baa Black Sheep to demonstrate a melody. Oct 02, Sps rated it liked it Shelves: Very clear explanations of many things that have been frustratingly unclear to me for years.
Powell is both a musician and a physicist, so he can say with authority what's happening on a physical level while drawing on examples of instruments, composition techniques, or musical pieces to make his point. Concise explanations of timbre, chords, scales, keys, resonance, and many other confusing concepts.
There are a few too corny gags for my liking--these are always best as a garnish rather tha Very clear explanations of many things that have been frustratingly unclear to me for years. There are a few too corny gags for my liking--these are always best as a garnish rather than a stew--and the anthropomorphizing very occasionally gets in the way of describing what's actually happening.
Overall, however, a blessed resource. So simple and clear! On what makes a note, and which notes we can distinguish with our human ears: However, our eardrums can't respond properly if the ripple pattern repeats itself too quickly or too slowly--we can only hear patterns which repeat themselves more often than twenty times a second but less often than 20, times a second.
This thunking noise is called pizzicato and it's occasionally used by composers to get a tuneful but percussive effect from violins and other stringed instruments--the Pizzicato Polka by Johann Strauss is a great example of this. On a flute, however, the same note involves mostly the second harmonic backed up by the fundamental and the third harmonic. May 01, Carlos Martinez rated it it was amazing. Listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it.
The book gives a very user-friendly overview of the physics of music, as well as an introduction to music theory. I've done my fair share of music study, so the music theory side of things was decidedly familiar, but I still picked up lots of interesting historical information eg how the scale modes - Dorian, Mixolydian etc - got their names.
The physics was almost completely new to me, and I found it fascinating. The level was just right for a Listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it. The level was just right for a popular science book, and I was able to understand most stuff pretty easily without having to rewind much. The Science of a Human Obsession at some point soon, as it adds a neuroscience and psychology element that isn't really covered here.
Jul 09, Ryan rated it really liked it. This book looks at several questions about music that any curious person has probably thought to himself, and does it in a way that requires no special background in music or science. Unfortunately as someone with a background in both, I found this book a little long winded.
Powell likes to make cute jokes about everything, but mostly self-deprecating jokes about scientists. They aren't bad, but literally happen almost every page, and so tend to feel like they are dragging the book out.
Also incl This book looks at several questions about music that any curious person has probably thought to himself, and does it in a way that requires no special background in music or science. New in How Music Works: Description What makes a musical note different from any other sound?
How can you tell if you have perfect pitch?
Why do 10 violins sound only twice as loud as one? Do your Bob Dylan albums sound better on CD or vinyl?
In a clear, accessible, and engaging voice, Powell fascinates the reader with his delightful descriptions of the science and psychology lurking beneath the surface of music. The book also includes a CD of examples and exercises from the book. Review quote "Any readers whose love of music has somehow not led them to explore the technical side before will surely find the result a thoroughly accessible, and occasionally revelatory, primer.
In , he earned a master's degree in music composition from the University of Sheffield in Great Britain. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads.Discover the answers in this ear-opening tour of how music works. The author also peppers humor throughout, which, although mostly corny, helps lighten the material. So how do we actually think about policies and structures that reflect our deepest values, our way of connecting?
How Music Works
To Sell Is Human. To keep the level of the reading simple though, Powell used Baa Baa Black Sheep to demonstrate a melody. About John Powell. So it was with interest that I grabbed onto this book, thinking I would learn something new, if not about sound reproduction, but about the tease in the subtitle of the book, "the psychology of beautiful sounds.
I have a collection of music that was given to me by a friend on an MP3 and I've realized that I've been deleting songs off it that I wasn't getting a strong enough happy vibe off of. Someone who borrowed this book from the library before me underlined nearly every single sentence in pencil.
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