Extended Audio Sample

How Music Works Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample How Music Works, by John Powell
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 0 (421 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Powell Narrator: Walter Dixon Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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What makes a musical note different from any other sound? How can you tell if you have perfect pitch? Why do ten violins sound only twice as loud as one? Do your Bob Dylan albums sound better on CD or vinyl? John Powell, a scientist and musician, answers these questions and many more in How Music Works, an intriguing and original guide to acoustics. In a clear, accessible, and engaging voice, Powell fascinates the reader with his delightful descriptions of the science and psychology lurking beneath the surface of music. With lively discussions of the secrets behind harmony, timbre, keys, chords, loudness, musical composition, and more, How Music Works will be treasured by music lovers everywhere. The book also includes a CD of examples and exercises from the book.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “By reading Powell’s book we can gain a more solid knowledge of the foundations of music and therefore be better able to appreciate it.”

    New York Journal of Books

  • “Any readers whose love of music has somehow not led them to explore the technical side before will surely find the result a thoroughly accessible, and occasionally revelatory, primer.”

    The Spectator

  • “In this distinctive combination of scientific treatise and laugh-out-loud commentary, composer and physicist Powell…has carved out an intriguing niche by using humor to enliven what could have been an otherwise dry introduction to acoustics…readers…should glean some useful background for music study while simultaneously being entertained.”

    Library Journal

Listener Reviews

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Review by Bobby | 2/15/2014

    " Very engaged in the beginning, seriously slumped in the middle, but picked back up at the end. I learned quite a bit about music that I didn't know before so not a total loss. Still I was hoping for better. And the "humorous" tone got old very quickly even though I'm a fan of the dry British wit. This was not that. It felt more like your dad trying to tell jokes to your high school friends that were awkward and forced. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Review by Garrett | 2/8/2014

    " He's a scientist, a musician, and a funny guy. This makes John Powell the perfect guy to explain things like why 10 violins aren't 10 times louder than 1 violin, why certain notes sound good together, and how microphones work. For musically inclined, you'll get a nice little dose of science to explain all those eardrum waggling vibrations. For those who cannot read music, you'll learn how (and why) key signatures work. It is fun and interesting with a few illustrations along the way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Review by Anthea | 1/29/2014

    " This is a very easy yet thoroughly informative read. I looked forward to reading it every night. The author is witty and engaging. He writes with authority and without condescension. I'd love to meet him - you get a great impression of the real John Powell through the text. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Review by Michael Tuchman | 1/26/2014

    " This book takes on a difficult task - survey all of music theory in a short volume for an audience of novices. Powell's shows superior taste in his choice of topics as well as his ability to simplify. The only complaint about the book comes from the occasionally clever comments. These comments are ostensibly intended to keep the reader believing he's an ordinary fellow, and not an egghead, but they come off as sounding rather condescending. Powell writes well enough that he does not have to resort to this. "

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About the Author

John Powell holds a PhD in physics from Imperial College at London University. He has taught physics at the University of Nottingham and the University of Lulea in Sweden. In 2003, he earned a master's degree in music composition from the University of Sheffield in Great Britain. He is the author of How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond.

About the Narrator

Walter Dixon is a broadcast media veteran of more than twenty years’ experience with a strong theater and performing arts background. He has voiced numerous commercials and animated characters. Having recently left a career in public radio, he is now a full-time narrator with more than fifty audiobooks recorded in genres ranging from religion and politics to children’s stories.