Download The Story of Music: From Babylon to the Beatles; How Music Has Shaped Civilization Audiobook

The Story of Music: From Babylon to the Beatles; How Music Has Shaped Civilization Audiobook, by Howard Goodall Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Howard Goodall Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2014 ISBN: 9781482995305
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book)
Regular Price: $19.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$7.95$7.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

A dynamic and expansive tour through 40,000 years of music, from prehistoric instruments to modern-day pop songs

Music is an intrinsic part of everyday life, and yet the history of its development from single notes to multilayered orchestration can seem bewilderingly complex.

In his dynamic tour through forty thousand years of music, from prehistoric instruments to modern-day pop, Howard Goodall leads us through the story of music as it happened, idea by idea, so that each musical innovation—harmony, notation, sung theater, the orchestra, dance music, recording—strikes us with its original force. Along the way, he also gives refreshingly clear descriptions of what music is and how it works: what scales are all about, why some chords sound discordant, and what all postwar pop songs have in common.

The story of music is the story of our urge to invent, connect, rebel—and entertain. Howard Goodall’s beautifully clear and compelling account is both a hymn to human endeavor and a groundbreaking map of our musical journey.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “What really makes the book sing is the author’s argumentative style, giving it narrative momentum from paragraph to paragraph. This really is the ‘story’ of music, not just a chronological laundry list of important people and events.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A lively zip through some forty-five millennia, jumping back and forth between classical, folk, and pop.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Now comes Howard Goodall and everyone’s prayers are answered. He starts right at the beginning, with 25,000-year-old bone flutes. A racily written, learned, and often shrewdly insightful book.”

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • “An accessible guide to roughly 42,000 years of music in just over 300 pages that manages neither to sacrifice precise detail nor pugnacious opinion. This sweep is the book’s key strength, even if it means that some composers receive relatively short shrift. But it is in keeping with the title: this is about music, not a roll call of the greats, and Goodall is unfailingly acute on how technology drives musical innovation…The Story of Music is a clever, engaging read.”

    Scotsman (Edinburgh)

  • “Most of us take music for granted, and yet, as explained in this insightful exploration on the origins of music, someone had to come up with harmony and rhythm; someone had to create musical notation…A masterful and illuminating whirlwind tour through thousands of years of musical history.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A celebrated British composer and broadcaster surveys the evolution and cultural significance of music, from prehistoric caves to Coldplay…He recognizes that the subject requires much inference until the ages of notation, print, and recording, but he plunges bravely into the lake of darkness and manages some illumination…Goodall also explores the invention and modification of significant instruments—the violin, organ, piano…[While] the big names retain their size in his account. Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and myriads of others…the author is also alert to the significance of popular music and has some passages about Broadway and the movies, blues, rock ’n’ roll (whose origin he traces to Benny Goodman!), jazz, and hip-hop. Goodall also discusses the effects of political systems on music and musicians—from pre-revolutionary France to Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union and others. The author continually reminds us of technological advances—print, recordings, radio, films—that enabled music to spread as never before…Cultural history with some attitude and considerable rhythm and melody.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “British composer Goodall…focus[es] on the Western classical tradition and popular music…The musical analysis…[is] well informed…For music listeners interested in Western classical and popular music.”

    Library Journal

  • “It’s a big story that lives up to its subtitle as it spans centuries…Narrator Simon Vance presents the facts and occasional opinions with all the author’s diligence. Like a lecture from a favorite professor, though, the book always entertains and engages…Goodall’s writing is thoughtful, considering such topics as the European influence on the blues and the stresses on composers who worked under Nazi or Soviet regimes. There’s much for the music scholar and casual listeners.”


Listener Reviews

Be the first to write a review about this audiobook!
Write a Review

About the Author

Howard Goodall is an Emmy, Brit, and BAFTA Award–winning composer of choral music, stage musicals, and film and television scores and a distinguished broadcaster. In recent years he has been England’s first ever National Ambassador for Singing, the Classical Brit Composer of the Year, and Classic FM’s Composer-in-Residence. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2011 New Year Honors for services to music education.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and narrator. He has earned more than fifty Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration thirteen times. He was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008 and has been named an AudioFile Golden Voice as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London. He is also an actor who has appeared on both stage and television.