Music: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780192853820

Nicholas Cook
160 Pages
112 x 179 mm
Pub date
Feb 2000
Very Short Introductions


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  • Nicholas Cook is an excellent expositor who writes with humour and flair. Anthony Storr described Cook's book, A Guide to Musical Analysis, as 'fascinating' and 'provocative'.
  • Referring throughout to familiar musical examples, this Very Short Introduction will involve the reader, and raise thought-provoking questions about what music is, and how it is constructed and consumed.
  • Covers not only Western music and not only classical music - Nicholas Cook discusses everything from rock to Chinese zither music
  • 'another eminently readable publication by the people's musicologist' Anthony Gritten, University of East Anglia

This stimulating Very Short Introduction to music invites us to really think about music and the values and qualities we ascribe to it. 

The world teems with different kinds of music-traditional, folk, classical, jazz, rock, pop-and each type of music tends to come with its own way of thinking. Drawing on a wealth of accessible examples ranging from Beethoven to Chinese zither music, Nicholas Cook attempts to provide a framework for thinking about all music. By examining the personal, social, and cultural values that music embodies, the book reveals the shortcomings of traditional conceptions of music, and sketches a more inclusive approach emphasizing the role of performers and listeners. 


1: Musical Values
2: Back to Beethoven
3: A State of Crisis?
4: An Imaginary Object
5: A Matter of Representation
6: Music and the Academy
7: Music and Gender

About the author: 

Nicholas Cook is Professor of Music at Cambridge University He is the author of articles and books on a wide variety of musicological and theoretical subjects; the latest, from Oxford University Press, is The Schenker Project: Culture, Race, and Music Theory in fin-de-siecle Vienna. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2001.

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