Understanding Music / Edition 7

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Active Listening with More Depth, More Focus, and More Knowledge

Understanding Music teaches students what to listen for in music, while offering instructors and students an economical option for their music appreciation course. Jeremy Yudkin’s text is a rich music appreciation program that supports the instructor’s ultimate goal of having students listen actively to the music.

The new seventh edition has been revised from beginning to end, making the text more focused, more accessible, and more engaging, with new and improved features. Additionally, the new MySearchLab with eText, an online program that includes an interactive etext, assessment, and help with research and writing, can now be packaged with the book.

A better teaching and learning experience

This program will provide a better teaching and learning experience– for you and your students. Here’s how:

  • Personalize Learning – The new MySearchLab with eText delivers proven results in helping students succeed, provides engaging experiences that personalize learning, and comes from a trusted partner with educational expertise and a deep commitment to helping students and instructors achieve their goals.
  • Improve Active Listening — The author brings the music to the foreground for the student with features like “Quick Listen,” helping students listen to and understand the music.
  • Engage Students – This book is designed in every way to keep students engaged. In addition to the “Listening Guides” and focus features on artists and events, the new “Performance in Context” feature spotlights significant performance spaces or musical venues.
  • Support Instructors – With an updated Instructor’s Manual, MyTest, PowerPoints, and MySearchLab assessments, instructors have all the resources they need to teach this course effectively.

Note: MySearchLab with eText does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MySearchLab with eText, please visit www.mysearchlab.com or you can purchase a ValuePack of the text + MySearchLab with eText. ValuePack ISBN-10: 020590985X / ValuePack ISBN-13: 9780205909858

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The perfect choice if you are teaching a course in music appreciation for non-music majors and your time is limited." Donald Olah, Clarion University

"This is a modern textbook with lots of visual and non-linear descriptions. It would appeal to a contemporary student who is used to getting most material online." Claire Boge, Miami University

"A friendly, well illustrated survey with brief sections, many formats of learning, and an extensive discussion of pop music." Jeff Morris, Texas A&M University

"This is an accessible music appreciation text my students have been using for over a decade." Amy Black, Clayton State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205441013
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 174,836
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeremy Yudkin was born in England and educated in England and the United States. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Classical and Modern Languages from Cambridge University and his Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from Stanford University. He has taught at San Francisco State University, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, Harvard University, and, since 1982, at Boston University, where he is Professor of Music, Chair of the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, and Associated Faculty of the Department of Judaic Studies and the Center for African American Studies. Dr. Yudkin was also Visiting Professor of Music at Oxford University from 2006 to 2010.

A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Boston University’s Society of Fellows, the Camargo Foundation, and the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, he has written articles for the Journal of the American Musicological Society, the Journal of Musicology, the Musical Quarterly, Musica Disciplina, and Music and Letters, and contributed to several volumes of essays. His research specialties include the Middle Ages, early Beethoven, jazz, and music of the Beatles. A noted lecturer, Professor Yudkin has given talks and presented papers across the United States and in Europe and Russia. He is the author of eight books on various aspects of music and music history, including Music in Medieval Europe (1989), The Lenox School of Jazz (2006), and Miles Davis: Miles Smiles and the Invention of Post Bop (2008).

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Table of Contents

In this Section:

1. Brief Table of Contents

2. Full Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Music Around the World

Chapter 2 The Elements of Music

Chapter 3 The Art of Listening

Chapter 4 The Middle Ages: 400-1400

Chapter 5 Renaissance: 1400-1600

Chapter 6 The Baroque Era: 1600-1750

Chapter 7 The Classic Era: 1750-1800

Chapter 8 Beethoven

Chapter 9 The Nineteenth Century I: Early Romantic Music

Chapter 10 The Nineteenth Century II: Mid- to Late-Romanticism Music

Chapter 11 The Twentieth Century and Beyond, Part I: The Classical Scene

Chapter 12 The Twentieth Century and Beyond, Part II: Jazz, an American Original

Chapter 13 The Twentieth Century and Beyond, Part III: Popular Music in the United



Chapter 1 Music Around the World

Introduction to the Study of Music

Music as a Reflection of Society

Listening to Music from Around the World


Chapter 2 The Elements of Music

What is Music?

The Elements of Music

Musical Form

Making Music: Voices

Making Music: Instruments

The Orchestra

Musical Performance

Emotion in Music

Live Performances

Historical Periods and Individual Style

Chapter 3 The Art of Listening

Sound, Rhythm, and Dynamics

Words, “Blue Notes,” Rhythm, Swing, Improvisation

Form, Tempo, Meter, Keys, and Cadences

Keys and Cadences

Chapter 4 The Middle Ages: 400-1400

General Characteristics of Medieval Music

The Music of the Middle Ages

The End of the Middle Ages

Chapter 5 Renaissance: 1400-1600

Life and Times in the Renaissance

Renaissance Music

General Characteristics of Renaissance Music

Music in the Early Renaissance

The Mid-Renaissance

The Late Renaissance

The Counter-Reformation and the Music of Palestrina

Chapter 6 The Baroque Era: 1600-1750

Life in the Baroque Era

General Characteristics of Baroque Music

The Early Baroque (1600-1700)

The Late Baroque (1700-1750)

Chapter 7 The Classic Era: 1750-1800

From Absolutism to Enlightenment to Revolution

General Characteristics of Classic Music

The Classic Meters

Chapter 8 Beethoven

Beethoven’s Life

Beethoven’s Music

Chapter 9 The Nineteenth Century I: Early Romantic Music

The Age of Romanticism

Early Romanticism

Chapter 10 The Nineteenth Century II: Mid- to Late-Romanticism Music

Late Romanticism

Chapter 11 The Twentieth Century and Beyond, Part I: The Classical Scene

General Characteristics of Twentieth-Century Music

Impressionism and Symbolism



Other Composers Active Before World War II: Bartok, Shostakovich, Britten, Ives, and Copland

Building Bridges

After the War: Modernism, the Second Stage




Chapter 12 The Twentieth Century and Beyond, Part II: Jazz, an American Original

The History of Jazz

Chapter 13 The Twentieth Century and Beyond, Part III: Popular Music in the United States

Styles of Popular Music Beginnings: 1850-1950

The Fortunate Fifties

The Turbulent Sixties

The 1970s and 1980s: Variety, Legacy, and Change

The Nineties and Beyond

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There is nowadays more music in our lives than at any previous time in history. Music surrounds us as we buy food or clothes, drive our cars, sit in parks, or jog down the street. Much of this is our own choice: we have radios in our cars, portable cassette players on our belts. Some of it may be unwanted: our neighbor's stereo, for example, or a "boom box" on the beach. Some of it we actually do not notice. There is so much noise in our daily environment that the music playing in elevators or stores sometimes simply merges with the surroundings.

In addition to the sheer quantity of music around us, there is a wider range of music available than ever before. We can listen to jazz, reggae, Vivaldi, Beethoven, or country ballads. Twentieth-century technology has presented us with an unparalleled wealth of musical possibilities. The very idea that a one-hundred-member symphony orchestra can be heard with crystal clarity and rich resonance in our own bedrooms would have startled most of the composers in this book.

The consequences of this situation are (like the consequences of most technological advances) both good and bad. It is a wonderful thing to be able to go to a record store and buy a recording of a piece of music composed hundreds of years ago or thousands of miles away. But the ubiquitous nature of music today has also had negative consequences on the role that music plays in our society. For most of our history music was rare: it therefore had more importance in people's lives. The composition and performance of music required deliberation and effort. Whether it was the commissioning of a symphony by an aristocratic patron or the playing of a country danceby peasants, music was performed with care and listened to with attention—it was never without significance.

The result of all this is that we have lost the art of listening.

Music is the only one of the three great arts—literature, the visual arts, and music—that can be absorbed without attention, passively. Music can surround us while we concentrate on other things; it can even be there in the background, entirely unnoticed.

This is not true of painting. To appreciate a painting we have to give it some of our attention. We have to study the forms and colors, the balance and proportions of its overall design. We may admire its style and technique, its humor, vigor, or despair. A good painting shows us objects or people or life in a new light. A great painting affects us profoundly and leaves us changed. Few people have seen Picasso's Guernica and not been deeply moved.

Literature has the same demands and the same rewards. We must pay attention to a book or a play. They cannot merely fill the room while we vacuum or accompany us while we jog or shop. And the effort of attention is repaid. A good book resonates in our own lives; a great book changes us forever.

Music, too, is the expression of the deepest part of our souls. It expresses what words and paintings cannot. And for true understanding, music requires careful attention and the engagement of the intellect, just as painting and literature do.

But even careful listening is not enough. Music is the expression of people in society. And, like the other arts, music is formed in a historical and social context. In the eighteenth century, for example, European music was the reflection of a hierarchical and orderly society, influenced by the ideals of the Enlightenment. Much eighteenth-century music, therefore, is carefully ordered and balanced, organized in a framework of fixed and widely accepted formal patterns. How can we truly understand this music if we do not know the forms used by composers of the time? It would be like reading Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter without understanding the attitude of seventeenth-century New England puritans towards adultery; or reading Shakespeare without knowing the meaning of blank verse.

Like literature, music has its rules of grammar and its rhetorical effects. Without understanding the grammar and rhetoric of music, we experience it as a pleasant sensation and little else. By learning about the social context and the structural language of music, we can experience it to its fullest. We can hear the passion of Beethoven, the brilliance of Bach, the wit and genius of Mozart. We can understand how a jazz musician can weave compelling improvisations, seemingly out of thin air. We can engage with music at its deepest level. And like a great painting or a great book, it will change us forever. It will fill our lives with beauty and joy. It will deepen our understanding of what it means to be human.

It is with this philosophy in mind that I have come to write Understanding Music. I believe today's college students taking music appreciation courses want to learn "how" to listen to music—how to hear music, if you will—as more than just a combination of sound and melody. To this end, I have tried to write a book that will be sensitive to the needs of today's students, a book that will guide them carefully and methodically through the art of listening itself, as well as one that will teach them the power of music as a form of human communication, and in doing so will transform the student from a passive recipient to an active participant. Unique in its design, approach, and content, Understanding Music offers students a global approach, an explanation of the richness and diversity of the European tradition, a focus on listening, a thoughtful selection of works for study, a discussion of patrons and audiences, careful consideration of the role of women in creating music, and an enlightening treatment of the history of popular music. Listening to music is one of the great pleasures of human existence. I believe strongly that it is our vital task to demonstrate to our students that with a little effort, knowledge, and concentration, that pleasure can be immeasurably enriched.



Understanding Music is now published in full color. This not only makes the book highly attractive to read, it also provides many opportunities for greater clarity of explanation and presentation. The Listening Guides are easier to follow, charts and maps are more lucid, and the various elements of design on the page (marginal quotes, teaching tips, picture captions, explanatory boxes, etc.) are more clearly distinguished.


The AIE provides a wealth of helpful teaching tips, suggestions for classroom exercises, parallel pieces, historical comments, etc., printed in the margins of the text. The annotations appear only in the Instructor's Edition of the book and are of tremendous help in shortening preparation time and enlivening classroom presentations.


An important innovation for the Third Edition has been the inclusion of Style Summaries at the end of each chapter. These focus on the essence of musical style for each historical period. The Style Summaries also contain boxes that list the musical elements central to each style.


Understanding Music has a complete and independent chapter on the Art of Listening. This chapter stresses the importance of active listening as a vital commitment on the part of the students. It guides them moment by moment through five short works, each of which illuminates different musical elements, techniques, and vocabulary for the listening experience. These activities lay a solid foundation for the students' listening work throughout the remainder of the book. The Fundamentals chapter and the Listening chapter are carefully coordinated to provide a supportive framework for the listening experience.


The Listening Guides are clear, easy to follow, and illuminating. Form and structure, texture, instrumentation, and musical motives are explained, and special moments, such as surprising gestures, unexpected key changes, or departures from conventional form are highlighted. Each Listening Guide is supplied with exact timings and CD track numbers to identify important structural points within each work. (See following page.)


In addition to the highly successful collection of works from the previous edition, new works, new listening guides, and new performances have been incorporated for the Third Edition. These include the African mbira, the plainchant Kyrie, the Palestrina motet, the Bach organ Prelude and Fugue, the scene from Handel's Giulio Cesare, Beethoven's early piano variations, and Penderecki's Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima.


Music does not occur in a vacuum. Throughout the book, music is presented in the context of its social and historical milieu. In addition, each chapter contains a special box that discusses the changing role of patrons and audiences in the history of music.


The book opens with a short chapter on "Music Around the World." The main focus of the book is on music of the European tradition, but this focus is both explained and put into context by a look at music as a global phenomenon.


Popular music is treated not just as a token but as a cultural phenomenon in its own right. The history of popular music is surveyed from its beginning until the present, and due weight is given to musical, cultural, and commercial considerations.


This book lends itself to great flexibility. It has been used effectively in courses of one quarter, one semester, and two semesters. Sample syllabi for all these applications are given in the Instructor's Resource Manual.



The recordings that accompany the book come in two available packages: 1) A Student Collection of three CDs that contains most of the important works covered in the text. 2) A Complete Collection of seven CDs containing all the works analyzed in the text. All the CDs are tracked not just for the beginnings of works or movements but also at internal points, so that instructors and students can instantly find important moments within a piece.


The Understanding Music recording program has been enhanced by the addition of a new CD that can be customized to the preferences of the individual instructor. With dozens of works of recorded music from which to choose, instructors can tailor the Understanding Music listening experience to their unique specifications. When packaged with the text the CD is FREE. Certain limitations do apply. Contact your local Prentice Hall representative for more details.


Produced by Films for the Humanities exclusively for the third edition of Understanding Music, and narrated by the author, this two-and-a-half-hour video compendium presents a wealth of short film extracts for classroom use. Each film clip illustrates and illuminates a particular topic from the text. Margin notes found throughout the Annotated Instructor's Edition alert the instructor to the availability of each video item. A complete table of contents and descriptions of each item are provided with the tape. This Companion Videotape is available only to instructors who have adopted Understanding Music for their classes.


A unique Bonus Disk for Instructors brings spark to the classroom. It contains Peter Schickele's "sports narration" of the Beethoven Fifth Symphony, alternate performances and additional movements of works on the main recordings sets, comic extracts, a piece to demonstrate unusual meters, some popular versions of classical works, demonstrations of early instruments, and other items for lively moments in the classroom.


The Understanding Music Companion Website greatly enhances students' understanding. Through a variety of on-line multiple choice and essay questions, critical listening exercises that use RealAudio® to deliver sound and music, and links to pertinent websites around the world, students are able to reinforce their comprehension of key concepts from the book. For the Third Edition, the website has been updated and revised, and the section on Music Fundamentals has been expanded to include an interactive tutorial.


The book is accompanied by a CD-ROM that scrolls and highlights all the Listening Guides on the Student CD Collection as the music is being played. This presents the closest approximation to a private tutor that any student could desire. Quizzes that follow each listening guide help to reinforce listening skills; additional composer biographies are included; and there is an interactive glossary of musical terms. The CDROM is packaged, at no additional charge, with both the Student and Complete CD collections.


To facilitate the teaching and learning processes, Understanding Music is also accompanied by an Instructor's Resource Manual, filled with helpful items, including tests; a Student Study Guide; and Computerized Testing Files, available for Windows and Macintosh.

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