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I’m excited to begin this miniseries on textbooks; I wish someone had let me in on the contents of college textbooks before I arrived! I’m simply going to give you a quick break down of the textbooks I’m using this semester and their names, edition, class, etc. This will give you a better expectation of what’s going to happen in college and what you’ll be learning!
The first book I’m talking about is The Enjoyment of Music, the eleventh edition, and the shorter version. This is (obviously) for my music class: Music Appreciation.
The book is pretty straightforward and follows a specific timeline. While we’re not exactly studying music history, it’s important to understand the influences that affected the musical pieces we listen to in class and how each time period’s classic style and sound differs.
There are a couple of introductory chapters that begin with things like orchestra seating charts, basic concepts of music like harmony, melody, and rhythm, different genres, and other very elemental musical concepts.
After that, we begin to study music in the context of time periods. There are six periods covered in the book:
Each time period contains elements completely unique to its style. For example, the Middle Ages focused heavily on the lute, and the Baroque period leaned on exaggerated art styles.
One suggestion I have for this class is to really read the textbook and take advantage of the resources offered. Unless your professor is the type to give you all of the required information in class, you really need to do your homework here!
There are dozens of terms, charts, concepts, ideas, names, places, and time periods that are important to studying music, and you need to know them ALL to master this textbook.
One thing I particularly enjoy is the way this textbook integrates other mediums of art into its content. The chapters all contain pieces of artwork done by important painters in the time period you’re studying and a caption explaining how the piece is relevant.
In the introductory chapters, these paintings and sculptures give you a visual definition of a term or concept you’re studying. For example, a photograph of a nautilus shell is used in conjunction with the concepts of repeating measures and patters found in music.
Overall, I enjoy this textbook more than others; it’s far more interesting than my math book! But you really need to listen to the songs mentioned, understand them, and understand the fundamental ideas in this textbook to get the point.
Enjoying music isn’t about being an idle listener; it’s about learning to recognize important elements of songs and musical pieces so that you can truly appreciate what you’re hearing.