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This stimulating very short introduction to music invites us to really think about music. Drawing on a number of accessible examples ranging from Beethoven to Chinese zither music, Nicholas Cook prompts us to call on our own personal musical experiences in order to think more critically about the roles of the performer and the listener, about music as a commodity and an experience, what it means to 'understand' music, and the values that we ascribe to music.
From Gregorian chant to Bach's Brandenburg Concerti, the music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods is both beautiful and intriguing, expanding our horizons as it nourishes our souls. In this Very Short Introduction, Thomas Forrest Kelly provides not only a compact overview of the music itself, but also a lively look at the many attempts over the last two centuries to revive it. Kelly shows that the early-music revival has long been grounded in the idea of spontaneity, of excitement, and of recapturing experiences otherwise lost to us--either the rediscovery of little-known repertories or the recovery of lost performing styles, with the conviction that, with the right performance, the music will come to life anew. Blending musical and social history, he shows how the Early Music movement in the 1960s took on political overtones, fueled by a rebellion against received wisdom and enforced conformity. Kelly also discusses ongoing debates about authenticity, the desirability of period instruments, and the relationship of mainstream opera companies and symphony orchestras to music that they often ignore, or play in modern fashion.
Ethnomusicology, an academic discipline founded in 1950, has been defined as the study of the music of others. This definition, at once whimsical and very nearly true, is incomplete. Many of its strongest threads have emerged because a person or a people have wanted to understand themselves, their history, and their identity.
Film music is as old as cinema itself. Years before synchronized sound became the norm, projected moving images were shown to musical accompaniment, whether performed by a lone piano player or a hundred-piece orchestra. Today film music has become its own industry, indispensable to the marketability of movies around the world. Film Music: A Very Short Introduction is a compact, lucid, and thoroughly engaging overview written by one of the leading authorities on the subject. After opening with a fascinating analysis of the music from a key sequence in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, Kathryn Kalinak introduces readers not only to important composers and musical styles but also to modern theoretical concepts about how and why film music works. Throughout the book she embraces a global perspective, examining film music in Asia and the Middle East as well as in Europe and the United States. Key collaborations between directors and composers--Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann, Akira Kurosawa and Fumio Hayasaka, Federico Fellini and Nino Rota, to name only a few--come under scrutiny, as do the oft-neglected practices of the silent film era. She also explores differences between original film scores and compilation soundtracks that cull music from pre-existing sources. As Kalinak points out, film music can do many things, from establishing mood and setting to clarifying plot points and creating emotions that are only dimly realized in the images. This book illuminates the many ways it accomplishes those tasks and will have its readers thinking a bit more deeply and critically the next time they sit in a darkened movie theater and music suddenly swells as the action unfolds onscreen. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
'World music' emerged as an invention of the West from encounters with other cultures. This book draws readers into a remarkable range of these historical encounters, in which music had the power to evoke the exotic and to give voice to the voiceless. In the course of the volume's eight chapters the reader witnesses music's involvement in the modern world, but also the individual moments and particular histories that are crucial to an understanding of music's diversity. World Music is wide-ranging in its geographical scope, yet individual chapters provide in-depth treatments of selected music cultures and regional music histories. The book frequently zooms in on repertoires and musicians - such as Bob Marley, Bartok, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - and attempts to account for world music's growing presence and popularity at the beginning of the twenty-first century. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
This VSI offers readers something no other introduction to folk music does: a cross-cultural, comparative approach, a survey of the basic issues as they have unfolded over time, and specific examples from widely differing sites of how folk musicians themselves, as well as corporations, non-governmental organizations, and governments have made full use of the available resources, older and newer strategies, and multiple agendas that keep the folk music process alive in an increasingly interconnected, yet still localized world.
Martyrdom is a controversial topic, with a long history of provoking fierce debate. In this Very Short Introduction Jolyon Mitchell provides a historical analysis to understand the contemporary debates surrounding martyrdom. Using examples from a variety of contexts around the world, he explores how it has evolved, and what it means today.

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