The History of Musical Instruments and Music-Making: A Complete History of Musical Forms and the Orchestra


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The art of music-making has existed for thousands of years, probably beginning with the voice and then proceeding to simple rhythmic drumming - hitting a log with a stick or banging a rock with a club - and blowing a blade of grass or a conch shell. Since these humble beginnings there has been an explosion in instrument-making, culminating in a seemingly endless variety of forms throughout the world.

This book poses the questions "What is music?" and "What is a musical instrument?" Each of the principal ancient civilizations is investigated in turn - Egypt, Israel, Greece, Rome, India, South-east Asia, China, Japan and Korea - with information about key developments and musical traditions. The text focuses on different methods of music-making, explaining how the string and bow create sound, the tonal quality of single and double reeds, the impact of the development of valves, the variety of drum skins, and the different types of keyboard mechanisms. As the orchestra evolved - from the medieval consort, through Baroque and classical ensembles to the large symphony orchestra - so too the instruments were adapted and modified.

Historically, great instruments have been played in public by great performers, and this book includes information about the most famous players and their instruments, as well as examining the role of the composer and the conductor, and providing a guide to the best-known orchestras and concert halls around the world. The book not only charts the history of the orchestra but also looks at the history of all the major musical movements and forms, including folk music, brass and military bands, country music, jazz, big bands and popular music.

Beautifully illustrated with over 250 full-colour photographs, paintings and illustrations, this volume provides an authoritative history of musical forms and the orchestra, making this an indispensable reference for music lovers everywhere.


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Product Information

Max Wade-Matthews attended the RAF School of Music at Uxbridge and served in brass bands in England, Germany and Hong Kong. After leaving the RAF he formed a living-history brass band, based on the bands of the American Civil War. He has written several books about the history of Leicester, including Musical Leicester, a history of musical life in that city, as well as playing with brass bands, conducting and teaching.
Consultant William Mival is a composer and senior lecturer at the Royal College of Music in London. He is a frequent broadcaster on musical issues on BBC Radio. His compositions include works for the BBC Symphony Orchestra as well as for some of today's brightest young soloists.

General Fields

  • : 9781844767533
  • : Anness Publishing
  • : Anness Publishing
  • : April 2010
  • : 228mm x 297mm
  • : August 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : AV