The Story of Music: From Babylon to the Beatles

  • by Howard Goodall
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Music is an intrinsic part of everyday life, and yet the history of its development from single notes to multilayered orchestration can seem bewilderingly complex.
In his dynamic tour through forty thousand years of music, from prehistoric instruments to modern-day pop, Howard Goodall leads us through the story of music as it happened, idea by idea, so that each musical innovation - harmony, notation, sung theater, the orchestra, dance music, recording - strikes us with its original force. Along the way, he also gives refreshingly clear descriptions of what music is and how it works: What scales are all about, why some chords sound discordant, and what all postwar pop songs have in common.
The story of music is the story of our urge to invent, connect, rebel - and entertain. Howard Goodall's beautifully clear and compelling account is both a hymn to human endeavor and a groundbreaking map of our musical journey.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great book, look for the BBC documentary

Howard Goodall is great in all of his BBC work and now he has written this book. Really enjoyable to learn the components of music composition and find out when in (western) history each musical component/idea/approach was invented.

I wish I could purchase a version of this audiobook with imbedded audio samples of the musical pieces that he references in each chapter. The BBC documentary does a great job of playing examples as he describes the parts of the music to listen for.

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- John West

Great intro to musc history

If you could sum up The Story of Music: From Babylon to the Beatles in three words, what would they be?

I really enjoyed this book it gradually teaches you some simple music theory and how music evolved over the centuries in an extremely entertaining way, not dry and academic. It also teaches the language to talk about music which I didn't even know I was missing.
One criticism of the book is that some parts were hard to follow and were begging for an audio example - since this was a direct reading of a book this was obviously not possible.
There is a BBC documentary that seems to be a shortened version of this book, in fact some sections are identical and in the documentary he provides lots of examples of the techniques and details in the book - really brings the subject to life.
If you search on Youtube or Amazon for Howard Goodall you should be able to find them.

I gave it 5 stars as it got me enthusiastic for learning more about music and its structure not just listening to it.


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- Enthusiast

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-14-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.