How Music Works

How Music Works : A Listener's Guide to Harmony, Keys, Broken Chords, Perfect Pitch and the Secrets of a Good Tune

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Have you ever listened to an incredible piece of music and wondered exactly why it makes you want to dance or cry? Are you mystified by how musicians just 'know' what notes to play next when they're improvising? Or why certain notes sound great together and others clash? Discover the answers in this ear-opening tour of how music works. John Powell, a classically-trained composer and a physics professor, decided to write this entertaining, pain-free guide to the ingredients of music when he discovered that all the other books on the subject gave him a headache. Here he reveals the often little-known facts and fascinating science behind what we listen to, explaining the basics of harmony, scales, chords, keys and rhythm in a way that's easy for everyone to understand. He also shows us why a note has a different sound to a normal noise, why Chinese people are more likely to have perfect pitch, and even why Beethoven and Led Zeppelin are musically similar. This book reveals things that people who play music should know but often don't, and will help all of us - even if we can't read a note - increase our listening more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 130 x 214 x 22mm | 281.23g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • Particular Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • B&W integrated
  • 1846143152
  • 9781846143151
  • 28,603

About John Powell

John Powell holds a PhD in Physics from Imperial College, London and a Masters' Degree in Music Composition from Sheffield University. He divides his time between scientific research, running a laser firm and composing music, and is a Visiting Professor of Materials Science (specialising in laser research) at The University of Nottingham (UK) and The University of Lulea (Sweden).show more

Review quote

Thoroughly accessible, and occasionally revelatory ... It's hard to imagine how Powell could have done a better job Spectatorshow more