THE MAGIC OF MUSIC We all know that music is special and has special powers. You don't need a textbook to tell you that. So what is the point of this book? It does two things. It introduces you to some wonderful music that you may not know, and it shows you how music works and how different pieces have the effect that they do. Sometimes the effect of a piece of music will depend on a very simple idea, like just using a catchy rhythm; or it may depend on something a bit more sophisticated, like an unusual series of chords. We will first go through some of the basics of music so that you understand these effects. Knowing how something works helps you appreciate it more. Then I'll share with you some of the great musical works that I have become familiar with from a lifetime of listening to music. Sharing music is something I do with my students all the time. Usually, of course, I am the one who tells them about pieces they don't know. But quite often they introduce me to some wonderful music that I hadn't known before. Sharing music is one of the great pleasures in life. When you find a piece of music in this book that you think has the magic, share it with someone. Music is an ancient phenomenon: it is probably as old as language. It has even been suggested that singing developed before speech. Prehistoric humans also must have banged on hollow logs or rocks to make music. Flutes made of animal bone have been found from many thousands of years ego. We are born with an innate sensitivity to music. Before we are born, we hear sounds and rhythms in the womb, and even the tiniest infants seem to express pleasure at the sound of music. At four months, an infant can distinguish between sounds that are consonant and those that are dissonant. And most of us have seen babies who can barely walk, rocking back and forth on their feet and clapping their hands to the sound of music. Music is also a worldwide phenomenon. Music is an art or an activity that appears in all cultures around the world. The greatest influence today on music around the world is that exerted by Western classical and popular music. It is this Western tradition that we shall be studying. This does not mean that other musical traditions are less valuable. There are other books that explain the fascinating music of other cultures. But our focus is on the music of Western culture. This culture is very ancient. Its roots are in the Jewish tradition, the tradition of ancient Greece and Rome, and early Christianity. More recently it has been influenced by non-religious concerns, like dancing, and expressions of love, sentiment, youthful rebellion, and sexual attraction. So for most of this book, we will be examining music of the Western tradition, which has a rich and lengthy history. To do this, we will need a working vocabulary to describe music. We will need to learn how to listen to a piece of music intelligently. And we will need to learn about the different historical periods of Western music. For example, Gregorian chant sounds very different from a Beethoven symphony. There are historical reasons for this, which we shall examine. But the very first part of this book is about listening and the elements of music. Listening is not the same as hearing. You can hear all kinds of sounds without listening to them. Really listening to music is an art. It takes time. And it takes commitment. You have to concentrate, just as you do when you are reading a good book. The chapter on listening also introduces you to the elements of music. You can't read a book without knowing vocabulary and grammar. So as you learn about listening, you'll also learn about the grammar and vocabulary of music, such as what a scale is and how harmony works. After you have studied this chapter, you'll be able to hear all kinds of things in the music that you hadn't heard before, and you'll be able to describe them accurately. The rest oYudkin, Jeremy is the author of 'Discover Music', published 2003 under ISBN 9780130915788 and ISBN 0130915785.