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Best Music History Books That You Need

While there are many courses and tutorials online, learning from a book is still one of the best ways to greatly improve your skills. Below I have selected top Music History books.

1. Music: The Definitive Visual History (Dk Smithsonian) (2015)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedMusic: The Definitive Visual History is a comprehensive guide to the history of music, from opera to electronica, and is now available in paperback.Produced in association with the Smithsonian and including images from The National Music Museum in South Dakota, Music: The Definitive Visual History takes readers through the progression of music since its prehistoric beginnings, discussing not just Western classical music but music from all around the world.Telling the story of musical developments era by era, and linking musical theory, technology, and human genius into the narrative, Music: The Definitive Visual History profiles the…
Author(s): DK

2. An Outline History of Western Music (1997)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedThis succinct overview of the development of Western music can help students of all levels understand the evolution of musical styles. Although the text is only half the size of most music histories, it is enhanced by the many cross-references to the best anthologies and recordings for further information and examples….
Author(s): Milo Wold, Gary Martin, et al.

3. The Oxford History of Western Music (2018)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedThe Oxford History of Western Music, College Edition, Second Edition, immerses students in the engaging story of the Western musical tradition. By emphasizing the connections among works, both within each cultural era and across time and place, the text goes beyond a basic retelling of the music’s history to build students’ ability to listen critically to key works. A full suite of instructor resources, a free open access student Companion Website, a three volume score anthology, and streaming audio recordings support the text, making The Oxford History of…
Author(s): Christopher H. Gibbs, Richard Taruskin

4. How Music Works (2017)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedHow Music Works is David Byrne’s incisive and enthusiastic look at the musical art form, from its very inceptions to the influences that shape it, whether acoustical, economic, social or technological. Utilizing his incomparable career and inspired collaborations with Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and many others, Byrne taps deeply into his lifetime of knowledge to explore the panoptic elements of music, how it shapes the human experience, and reveals the impetus behind how we create, consume, distribute, and enjoy the songs, symphonies, and rhythms…
Author(s): David Byrne

5. Listening to Music (with Introduction to Listening CD-ROM) (Available Titles CourseMate) (2010)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedThe only music appreciation text on the market to include listening exercises throughout the book, Listening to Music (Sixth Edition) masterfully develops and refines the listening skills of students. Acclaimed for unparalleled clarity and accuracy, Wright succinctly covers traditional Western music from medieval to modern. Musical examples from each historical period are discussed within their social context, giving students a broad sense of not only the construction of a piece, but also its historical and cultural meaning. Concluding chapters discuss (1) popular music and its impact on musical globalization, and (2) music…
Author(s): Craig Wright

 Best Music History Books That You NeedRockin’ Out offers a comprehensive social history of popular music in the United States that takes the reader from the invention of the phonograph to the promise of the Internet, from the heyday of Tin Pan Alley to the present day sounds of singer-songwriters, pop country crossovers, rock, and contemporary hip hop. It offers an analysis and critique of the music itself as well as how it is produced and marketed, including such recent phenomena as the rise of television idols, the introduction of reggaeton, and the return of protest music. Accessibly written, this text is…
Author(s): Reebee Garofalo

7. Literature of the Western World, Volume II: Neoclassicism Through the Modern Period (5th Edition) (2000)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedThe most comprehensive best-selling anthology of its kind, the second volume in this two-part survey enables readers to choose among the most important canonical and less-familiar texts of the Western literary tradition in Europe and the Americas. It offers complete texts whenever possible, uses the best translations of foreign-language material, and, when appropriate, presents more than one text by each author. Volume Two provides detailed historical and biographical notes and introductions to the later literary periods including Neoclassicism and Romanticism; Realism…
Author(s): Brian Wilkie, James Hurt

8. Concise History of Western Music (Fifth Edition) (2014)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedThe most student-friendly music history text available, now with Total Access. Barbara Hanning’s Concise History of Western Music offers students a manageable introduction to the forces that shaped music. Combining concision with the imaginative pedagogy that her text pioneered, Hanning focuses on an essential repertoire of 109 characteristic works―from the Middle Ages to the present―providing students with the cultural and historical context to illuminate the music and remember its significance. The new Total Access program unlocks a full suite of media resources with…
Author(s): Barbara Russano Hanning

 Best Music History Books That You NeedExplore the rich terrain of American popular music with the most complete, colorful, and authoritative introduction of its kind. In the fifth edition of their best selling text, American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MP3, Larry Starr and Christopher Waterman provide a unique combination of cultural and social history with the analytical study of musical styles….
Author(s): Larry Starr, Christopher Waterman

10. Music, Thought, and Feeling: Understanding the Psychology of Music (2008)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedExamining the intersection of music, psychology, and neuroscience, Music, Thought, and Feeling surveys the rapidly growing field of music cognition and explores its most interesting questions. Written in clear, engaging language that balances scientific and artistic perspectives, this book provides an excellent introduction to–and critical analysis of–the major issues in music cognition, making it ideal for courses in psychology of music. Assuming minimal background in music or psychology, the book begins with an overview of the major theories on how and when music became a widespread aspect of human behavior. It also covers: * How…
Author(s): William Forde Thompson

11. Rock Music Styles: A History (2014)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedIn its seventh edition, Rock Music Styles: A History offers an updated perspective on the development of rock music from its origins to its most contemporary styles. Charlton takes students through genres by focusing on featured performers, exploring important songs in Listening Guides, and drawing connections between musical developments throughout the decades. Additionally, decade overviews and chronology charts detailing historical and rock-related events side by side provide a historical and social framework through which to understand rock music styles in the 20th…
Author(s): Charlton Rock Music Styles, Katherine

12. The Music of Black Americans: A History (Third Edition) (1997)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedA new edition of the classic text on African American music. Beginning with the arrival of the first Africans in the English colonies, Eileen Southern weaves a fascinating narrative of intense musical activity. As singers, players, and composers, black American musicians are fully chronicled in this landmark book. Now in the third edition, the author has brought the entire text up to date and has added a wealth of new material covering the latest developments in gospel, blues, jazz, classical, crossover, Broadway, and rap as they relate to African American music. Over 50 photographs…
Author(s): Eileen Southern

13. Music History: History of Music: From Prehistoric Sounds to Classical Music, Jazz, Rock Music, POP Music and Electronic Music (2017)

 Best Music History Books That You NeedThis is the fascinating story of music. How it started with a song and became one of our most beloved arts. History of Music: From Prehistoric Sounds to Classical Music, Jazz, Rock Music, POP Music and Electronic Music is a quick dip into our relationship with sound and movement through time. You’ll learn how music and songs grew from humble beginnings into an art that enriches, entertains, and relaxes us….
Author(s): Andrew Sullivan

 Best Music History Books That You NeedPaperback Publisher: Thomson (2006) ASIN: B0039XBXE2 Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,668,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #12813 in Popular Music (Books) Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?…
Author(s): Glenn Appell

Best Music History Books That You Need

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some music history books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Narratives from Beyond the UK Reggae Bassline: The System is Sound

Author(s): William 'Lez' Henry, Matthew Worley
ID: 2888455, Publisher: Springer International Publishing;Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2021, Size: 5 Mb, Format: pdf

Punk, Fanzines and DIY Cultures in a Global World: Fast, Furious and Xerox

Author(s): Paula Guerra, Pedro Quintela
ID: 2454427, Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2020, Size: 6 Mb, Format: pdf

Hebdige and Subculture in the Twenty-First Century: Through the Subcultural Lens

Author(s): Keith Gildart, Anna Gough-Yates, Sian Lincoln, Bill Osgerby, Lucy Robinson, John Street, Peter Webb, Matthew Worley
ID: 2700634, Publisher: Springer International Publishing;Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2020, Size: 3 Mb, Format: pdf

Please note that this booklist is not definite. Some books are really hot items according to Chicago Tribune, others are written by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant books you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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