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Understanding Music


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Table of Contents

Preface Part I 1 Introduction 2 Sounds 3 Wittgenstein on music 4 Movement 5 Expression 6 Rhythm Part II 7 My Mozart 8 Beethoven's Ninth Symphony 9 The trial of Richard Wagner 10 A first shot at The Ring 11 True Authority: Janacek, Schoenberg and us 12 Thoughts on Szymanowski 13 Why read Adorno? Bibliography

Promotional Information

Roger Scruton explores the fundamental elements that constitute a great piece of music, now in paperback for the first time.

About the Author

Roger Scruton is visiting professor of philosophy at the University of Oxford and Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington DC, USA. He has published more than 40 books and writes regularly for The Times, The Telegraph and The Spectator.


The prolific philosopher turns his attention back to music, exploring the fundamental elements that make a great piece. Ranging from Wagner to Hoagy Carmichael and even a final chapter on 'the disaster of pop', this is trademark, provocotive Scruton. * The Bookseller *
As a welcome addition to Roger Scruton's continuing canon of fascinating works on the nature and meaning of music, this short, dense book amply supports his genuine and lifelong belief that aesthetic contemplation offers the key to proper understanding of motivation and meaning, not just in ourselves, but in everything around us. * Literary Review *
Illuminating ... touching ... much to inspire. Anyone who is capable of being deeply moved by music should read it. * BBC Music Magazine *
Roger Scruton presents a depth of knowledge and understanding that could make listening to a symphony all the more meaningful ... worthwhile for those who would like a deeper relationship with classical music. * Good Book Guide *
Aesthetic arguments are well summarised, disagreements presented very largely without querulousness; [Scruton] ... avoids shrill dogmatism. And while he makes substantial reference to music theory, he does so without the cack-handedness of many non-specialist music students. * Classical Music *

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