Musical knowledge is real when it becomes simply how you listen. Rob Kapilow has been helping audiences hear more in great music for almost twenty years with his What Makes It Great™ series on NPR, at Lincoln Center, and in concert halls throughout the United States and Canada. At the heart of his success is an approach that focuses less on historical facts and musical terminology than it does on the ability to pay attention, listen closely, and notice.
In this book, he gives you a set of tools you can use when listening to any piece of music in order to hear its "plot"its story told in notes. He helps you listen to music from the inside out, from the composer's point of view, so that you'll follow the composer's musical thoughts, whether the piece is by Bach, Schumann, Stravinsky, or Gershwin.
Kapilow starts right where the listener doesat the beginning. The book is structured like a piece of music, with topics organized as they would naturally arise in a compositionprogressing from idea, to phrase, to section, to movement, to form. Whether you are an experienced concertgoer or a newcomer to classical music, the listening principles Kapilow shares will help you "get" the music you hear in an exciting, fresh new way.
Throughout, he includes a wide range of examples, from a fascinating, notebynote look at "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to excerpts taken from the standard classical music repertoire. The examples are at the heart of the book and are invaluable in helping you to graspand most importantly, to hearthe musical ideas presented in each chapter, whether it's the "punctuation" of a musical phrase, the meaning of repetition, or the threeact structure of sonata form.
One of the book's unique features is the accompanying Web site, where all of the musical examples can be downloaded, heard, and followed with the help of a realtime scrollbar. There is no need to hunt for recordings and no ability to read musical notation is required to follow and grasp the musical examples.
As you become more practiced in hearing the musical concepts explored in the book, you'll find that they will become a natural, builtin part of your listening experience that will increase your enjoyment of every type of music. All you have to do is listen.