How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond

How Music Works The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond What makes a musical note different from any other sound How can you tell if you have perfect pitch Why do violins sound only twice as loud as one Do your Bob Dylan albums sound better on CD or vin

  • Title: How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond
  • Author: JohnPowell
  • ISBN: 9780316098304
  • Page: 282
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 John Powell, a scientist and musician, answers these questions and many in HOW MUSIC WORKS, an intriguing and original guide to acoustics In a clear, accessible,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 John Powell, a scientist and musician, answers these questions and many in HOW MUSIC WORKS, an intriguing and original guide to acoustics 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 With lively discussions of the secrets behind harmony, timbre, keys, chords, loudness, musical composition, and , HOW MUSIC WORKS will be treasured by music lovers everywhere The book also includes a CD of examples and exercises from the book.

    One thought on “How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond”

    1. This is a fun book by a geeky professor type who isn't afraid to be silly to get his points across. I have a background in both music and physics, and if I were to write a book on this topic, I'd be hard pressed to be as engaging as Dr. Powell. I even learned a few things myself while reading this thing even though it's primarily designed for those not technically inclined. How Music Works reads like a semester long course in the physics of music for non-scientists. It comes with a CD so you can [...]

    2. Every so often I come across a book that I can imagine giving as a gift to at least half the people I know. The last one was Yellowrocket, the one before that was Earth. My 2010/2011 choice is: How Music WorksNot just for music geeks: Is How Music Works about music or physics? Is it for readers who want to better understand music as they are listening? Is this book for percussionists? for those who play wind instruments? For those who play guitar? Piano?For those who play their car stereos as lo [...]

    3. You know that physics teacher you had that one time? That really dorky British guy with the seriously twisted sense of dry humor, left-field analogies that actually helped you understand, and killer taste in music? Well, guess what? He wrote a book! And it's this one! Yeah!Of course I didn't have John Powell as a physics professor, but oh my god, I wish I had. This guy has written one of the most entertaining, comprehensible, and fun non-fiction primers I've ever encountered. As a reference for [...]

    4. Started out loving this book, and ended loving it more. 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 [...]

    5. An Arpeggio of “Aha” momentsDo you know what is an “Aha” moment? It is not a moment when you learn something completely new. No, such moments are restricted to things that you think you know (whether consciously or subconsciously), but actually don’t know. These are those light-bulb moments that suddenly illuminate a darkened room in which you had been roaming for quite some time, and you end up realising that the origami plants on the window were in fact organic (I cannot deny the pos [...]

    6. 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. 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 [...]

    7. 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. Powell.While not elaborate on the distinctions, especially liked the tidbits and references to Indian classical music. A sample:"traditional non-Western music places far less emphasis on chords and [...]

    8. 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: first chair in every band/orchestra I played in. 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 [...]

    9. Do you mind if I rant for a bit? Of course you don't. First of all, let me be clear: this has nothing to do with the book itself. 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. "What kind of jerk marks up a library book?" I would wonder every time I saw the marks. "Why did they underline practically every [...]

    10. I have studied music through performance (from piano, to voice, to saxophone, to Javanese gamelan), music theory, music history, Sociology of Music, and even Physics of Music from elementary school to graduate school. 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 infor [...]

    11. 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 [...]

    12. 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.

    13. John Powell is a physicist who happens to be a musician. Or maybe it's the other way around. In this book, he meanders through some rudimentary concepts of music that might be useful for the reader who loves music but isn’t going to be taking the time to take formal training.I suppose the purpose of this book is teach your reader something they didn’t know. In my case, I always realized that notes are really composed of a central frequency and its harmonics. But if you remove the first harmo [...]

    14. Very clear explanations of many things that have been frustratingly unclear to me for years. Mr. 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 [...]

    15. 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 [...]

    16. This book is so entertaining! It is funny and clever and very enlightening. I enjoyed almost all of it. It is written for non-musicians in an effort to help them understand what music is all about. The author does a great job of hitting so many aspects of music, but for me, a professional musician, it was a little elementary. With that said, I did learn a few things that I can use in my classroom, and that made it all worth it. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. I can recomme [...]

    17. A lucid and engaging explanation of how the physics of sound production influence music theory. I attended music conservatory and still gained a much better understanding of how music works from reading this book-in fact I really wish I'd had it for an intro to my freshman studies! Powell is very gifted at explaining tricky concepts in a concrete way. After each of his explanations I felt I truly understood what he'd expressed, and his gentle sense of humor made for a fun as well as educational [...]

    18. Some really interesting stuff in here, such as why we have octaves and why they have 12 keys and why some tones sound good together and others awful. My two knocks against this book are 1) I wasn't overly fond of the interspersed jokes - I'm all for lightening up the material, but perhaps my complaint is that the jokes weren't that good! and 2) some of the info about scales and keys in the latter half of the book was just too basic and repetative. But it's a unique book that has interesting thin [...]

    19. He's a scientist, a musician, and a funny guy. This makes John Powell the perfect guy to explain things like why 10 violins aren't 10 times louder than 1 violin, why certain notes sound good together, and how microphones work. For musically inclined, you'll get a nice little dose of science to explain all those eardrum waggling vibrations. For those who cannot read music, you'll learn how (and why) key signatures work. It is fun and interesting with a few illustrations along the way.

    20. AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING.Being a music nerd who has studied some music theory, I thought this was fabulous. A music psychology book simple enough for beginners and technical enough for advanced? Perfect. Funny commentary? Perfect! Makes total sense when applied to band? PERFECT!!! Infinity out of 5 stars.

    21. The book started off great and very interesting, but I lost interest halfway through and got drawn away by books that were more interesting to me.Still I think there is quite a bit of interesting information in here and I definitely have learned a good amount about music and how it works.One thing that wasn't answered to me at the point where I stopped was why louder music sounds better.Perhaps one day when I'm interested in more of the details I will get back into this. Don't let my 3 star rati [...]

    22. Just what I was looking for. Powell talks about the basic physics of sound, and how we've been able to manipulate it to produce notes and music which is pleasing to our ears. He also gives a background on the scales that we use and their origin. I really enjoyed this book given my engineering background and my penchant for music. It's a fairly light read, as well. Definitely recommend.I read this book in English.

    23. A little bit of history of music, a little music theory, a bit of acoustics and some psychology--all relatively lightweight bust still great fun, and shot through with some ridiculous (in a good way) English humour. You probably already know 75% of material here, but worth it for the remaining 25% and as a quick refresher.

    24. If you love music, knowing which eyes of newt and toes of frog go into the magic is thrilling, but if you're just a casual listener this book would be very heavy going. It's very informative, but some of the gags are slightly annoying, especially because the book is written in English vernacular but the narrator is American.

    25. I really like the author. Kinda wish the book would have lasted longer. It seems like this book was written for a person like me. I've been messing around with the guitar most of my life (I'm 55) and recently decided to get serious about learning music theory. I learned a great deal from this book and it was fun.

    26. Excellent explanations of how music works and how to create the various atmospheres in pieces. Loved the CD included to with examples of what he describes in the book. Love John Powell and now I understand a bit more as to how he does what he does.

    27. I probably got less out of this one because I'd just read his later book Why We Love Music‚ with which it overlaps. Despite that it's a very good read‚ particularly for someone who loves different kinds of music but has little idea how it works.

    28. This is the kind of book I really like: People talking about a craft they have mastered through years of practice and knowledge. This guy, John Powell (a composer/conductor) tech you (in others words) the science behind music, and why music is music

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