March 17, 2007

A Good Book About Music

I have been neglecting the blog lately - too much going on, not enough time or, more importantly, energy to write.

Lots to think about, though. . .

See, for instance, Sam's recent comment below in "Why Music?"

In response to Sam, I'd like to recommend a book I've been recently (re)reading:

Allen Shawn: Arnold Schoenberg's Journey (Harvard, 2002)

This is one of the best books about music I've ever read. There's enough musicological depth and score samples to be useful to the musician, but also written with such enthusiastic and erudite prose that any reader, regardless of their musical knowledge, would surely gain insight into Schoenberg's admittedly difficult and (sometimes) forbidding music. As Sam points out in his comment below, reading what others have to say about music can help us sharpen our own thoughts and beliefs about music. Shawn's book is an excellent place for a novice to begin to understand Schoenberg; it is also an inspirational read for those of us who already know and love the music.

I hope to get back on track with the blog, but in the meantime, let's celebrate good writing about music.



Sam said...

Thanks for the tip! I'll get to it within the next year. In the meanwhile, just to throw it out there, my candidate for best book about music is Graham Lock's Forces in motion.

Rodger Coleman said...


I agree. Forces In Motion is definitely one of the best books on music ever. It really goes a long way towards making Braxton's most difficult music understandable. My only quibble is that I was there were no score samples. Clearly, Braxton uses notation in a very interesting way, but without being able to *see* it, it's hard to picture.

That said, reading the book for the first time enabled a much deeper appreciation and understanding of Braxton, both as a musician/composer and as a person. I re-read it once every couple years and get more out of it each time.