The History of Rock Music – Book Review

During the fifties and later, vital, energetic, and rebellious youth produced their own music in contrast to traditional music, becoming a target for censors and conservatism. When I saw this book with an Elvis-like drawing on its cover, I had to pick it up, because it reminded me of the times when most of us in my generation were, musically speaking, in love with Elvis and his successors.

The type of music called rock music sprung up from peacetime America but was adopted by the youth through the entire world. Although it started as an act of a rebellion, rock music became the governing music form for the next few decades, eventually turning into a customary music genre and leaving its throne of rebellion to other types of music. Rock music involves a vocal melody accompanied by musical instruments such as guitars, drums, and keyboard instruments.

When rhythm and blues met country music, rock music was born. The book, “The History of Rock Music,” gives this type of historical information alongside with the biographies of and information about famous rock stars who determined and shaped the course of rock music from early on. In addition to the musicians, Dick Clark with his television show “American Bandstand” promoted the rock music and coerced its respectability by the general population.

Among the earlier artists mentioned are Little Richard, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Woodie Guthrie, and Bob Dylan, and from the sixties on come the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Motown, Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, The Doors, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. Later, when hard rock surfaced, its representatives became Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, and Black Sabbath. From seventies on, singer-songwriters came into the music scene like Jackson Browne, James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell.

The book not only gives information about music groups and presents several features from actual history, but it also provides details on the instruments and the evolution of rock music trends to the end of the nineties, from before Elvis’s time to Curt Cobain’s grunge.

“The History of Rock Music” is a volume from the Masters of Music Series, in hardcover and 64 pages, with ISBN-10: 0764151371 and ISBN-13: 9780764151378.

The author, Andrea Bergamini, has written other books on music like Beethoven and the Classical Age, Music of the World, and Le rock. Also, a great deal of appreciation goes to the book’s illustrator, Ivan Stalio, who has illustrated numerous volumes such as: The Atlas of World Religions, Adapting to the Environment, The Animal Atlas, The History of Technology, Life Cycles, Mammals, and Plants.

With its large pages filled with bright photos, graphics, and illustrations, this young adult book is a delightful book to read and enjoy for people of all ages.

Touching Stories, Moving Music Make This Book Impossible to Put Down

Stories of Music gives the reader (listener? viewer?) an emotionally satisfying journey through the world of music, as Holly E. Tripp weaves together the stories of more than 40 authors and artists, from 11 countries, telling in their own words and mediums how music has impacted their lives. I found it to be a very emotionally moving book.

Having grown up within a musical family, Tripp was fascinated by stories of her great-grandmother, especially the one where she held “jam sessions” through a telephone party line. Her own parents gave Tripp a guitar when she was 16 and she has been writing and playing music ever since. But it was after the sudden death of her brother that she fully realized the impact music has on emotions – and healing – as the songs that kept coming to her somehow brought him closer to her, and helped her deal with his death.

When she began this book Tripp says she put out a call for submissions from authors and artists, thinking she’d be lucky if she got 100. Instead, more than 1,000 poured into her inbox, and she carefully chose those which she felt represented people universally, and best told the impact that music has on individuals to offer fun, hope, healing, and impact on their lives. The result is an interactive, multi-media book that contains stories, poems, photographs, and music and videos that the readers can listen to and watch on their mobile devices.

I love how the anthology is laid out. The first poem (which I listened to the poet read aloud) talks about music weaving through generations in an old home. Then the stories advance through time, with artists’ stories from their childhood, through adulthood, of how music has impacted their lives. My favorite photograph lies at the end of the book, of an aged pair of hands clutching sheet music. “Music,” Tripp says, “… transcends religion, race, language, and even time.”

There are fun stories of music and children; a powerful poem about Civil Rights marches; and a story on how music is helping an artist’s home country of Bosnia heal after war. There are the impactful stories of bringing Mozart’s music into a prison and using rock music to help heal depression. And there’s the history of traveling musicians, from the beginnings of time to a group who currently participates in the Massachusetts Walking Tour every year. Another story (with included music) of a cellist – which bridges generations through Saint-SaĆ«ns’ “Le Cygne” – is beautiful to read and listen to. It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite, but I was really touched by the story of an interview with Glen Campbell shortly after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011.

Stories of Music is a wonderful book, which I found hard to put down. There were times when it had me in tears at the moving examples of how music touched – and many times saved – lives. It also made me smile, as one artist describes how kids in Haiti enthusiastically play music after their meal, even more excited about the music than the food.

Tripp has done a marvelous job of bringing music to life, and showing that music indeed, does speak a universal language. No matter what country or background, what religion or political persuasion, the artists in this book all have one thing in common: music impacts their lives, and they use it to communicate their hearts.

I would recommend this book to anyone, musician or non-musician. Tripp plans to publish a second volume, and I can’t wait to read it.

Tonal Music Book Review

Are you a lover of music, I do not mean to ask you if you like music, most everyone does and most everyone has specific tastes, but there is a lot more to music than just listening. Perhaps you’d like to learn more about its structure, and how to analyze it? If so, let me recommend a very good book to you:

“Form in Tonal Music” by Douglas M. Green; Holt, Rinehart and Winston Publishing Company Incorporated; New York, NY; 1965; ISBN: 0-03-46015-7.

This book takes the confusion out of the typical study of music analysis, as it simplifies harmony and counterpoint disciplines, allowing the student to understand how to construct without over loading with historical music tunes and famous names. Knowing the music without confusion first, is the aim of this book, and thus, maybe it is a good first read, prior to music analysis from a historical perspective. I think I’d recommend it to just about any serious music student.

The book has chapters on the basics of form, shape, genre and harmonic structure of the phrase, along with developing, and combining phrases. Then the book, which is written very much like a text book discusses the various analytical methodologies. The student will learn of variations, ternary forms, rondo, sonata (very comprehensive), and binary forms.

The concerto movement, fugue, and similar genres are discussed and then there is a final chapter, which is very fascinating, even proves that Green really knows his stuff, as he goes into the unique forms of structure. You will be fascinated by the amount of information and ways you can apply this knowledge when you are completed.