An eclectic and comprehensive volume, replete with both color and black-and-white photographs, this beautiful book is arranged in an unusual style, which assures that a reader will have to consult the index to find anything. "P," for instance, includes sections about Percussion, Pipes, Pitch and Volume, Plucked Instruments, and Pop Music (including Boy Bands and Britney Spears). "W" features Weird Instruments, Woodwind Family and World Music. This technique makes for interesting skimming but difficult access to information, so plan to thumb through the pages to find plenty of fascinating tidbits rather than using the book for orderly study. Several inaccuracies should have been caught before publication, for instance on page 21barbershop music is not sung by "usually four singers" but can feature any number; four singers make up a barbershop quartet. And in Jason Polise's excellent introduction, which uses movie scores to explain how music affects our emotions, he creates the grammatically incorrect sentence, "As an audience, use of music in this way..." However, the book has many fine points and should be well-received. A "Watts Reference" guide. 2001, Franklin Watts/Scholastic, $32.50 and $19.95. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Judy Chernak
Gr 4-8-This simple, succinct guide will appeal to readers interested in exploring many aspects of music. Subjects range from performers to instruments, elements to musical forms, and pop to classical. Topics are covered in one to several pages, with a brief explanation, definition, or background for the term followed by more detailed information on ancillary areas. Each page has bright, colorful photos and reproductions that aid in clarifying, creating interest in, and helping to understand the text. Occasional sidebars present lists of relevant musical pieces and terms. Without getting too complicated, the book succeeds in explaining each subject well enough for readers to acquire a basic understanding of it. Students will find this volume useful in beginning music research; it may even spark a desire to know more.-Susan Shaver, Hemingford Public Schools, NE Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.