Classical Music For Dummies (5A10)

Title: Classical Music For Dummies

Author: David Pogue and Scott Speck

Publisher: For Dummies

Good morning everyone. I’m Lee Ka Ka from 5A.

Are you a classical music lover? If so, the book “Classical Music For Dummies” would definitely suit your interest. It consists of aspects mainly on history, instruments and music theory.

The first section “Welcome to the classics” introduces what habits a highly effective composer should form. A composer’s work should keep one’s mind focused with variety and pacing. The pieces should often contain various musical ideas, dynamics, or melodies. So you will feel like you’re watching a movie with an explosion every minute for hours.

After that, you will read about periods and musicians. I guess everybody knows Bach, the Father of Music. He is a great organist and composer in the Baroque Era, who created music full of counterparts that have incredibly astounding melodies. At the end of this section, you can learn how to spot different music genres such as sonatas, fantasias, operas and ballets.

The second section is about common problems that people come across in a concert hall performance. One interesting fact mentioned is about whether the audience should clap pauses. If you do start applauding, it is really simple to end the embarrassment, which is when you realize the music goes on and everyone is glaring at you. Another amusing one is a gourmet guide to pre-concert dining. In order to avoid using the restrooms, the author advises you not to eat food such as steak or cheese. Other than causing interruption to performers and other audience, never ignore the fact that ladies’ rooms are always in a shortage. So the author suggests, either act as an experienced concertgoer, to eat after the concert, or simply dress as a man. In the next chapter, the author then shares how to appreciate some masterpieces and classics.

Almost every instrument that appears in an orchestra is introduced in section III, including piano, strings, reeds, brass and percussions. Not only does the book show us basic information of the instruments, it also tells their evolution in orchestra. For example, you must be able to hear violin in all classical music pieces as it comes from the very beginning in history. Whereas the saxophone surges in popularity in modern classical music, and its importance still maintains in the jazz scene. After describing the instruments, suggestions on where to hear great moments of some of them are provided.

Finally in section IV and V, the book teaches technical information on the whole process of creating and performing music. It introduces rhythm and pitch, interval and harmony. Then, it’s about the best ten musical terms, chamber music pieces and classical music jokes. Lastly, it suggests how we can apply the knowledge to go beyond this book, and that the best way is to make your own music.

This book is really informative and the author introduces most of the content with a sense of humor. Everything is clearly illustrated and so I find it pleasant while reading it. If you are interested, you can find this book in the school library. That’s all of my sharing. Thank you.