Ruth Katz
A Language of Its Own: Sense and Meaning in the Making of Western Art Music

The Western musical tradition has produced not only music, but also countless writings about music that remain in continuous—and enormously influential—dialogue with their subject. With sweeping scope and philosophical depth, A Language of Its Own traces the past millennium of this ongoing exchange.

Ruth Katz argues that the indispensible relationship between intellectual production and musical creation gave rise to the Western conception of music. This evolving and sometimes conflicted process, in turn, shaped the art form itself. As ideas entered music from the contexts in which it existed, its internal language developed in tandem with shifts in intellectual and social history. Katz explores how this infrastructure allowed music to explain itself from within, creating a self-referential and rational foundation that has begun to erode in recent years.

A magisterial exploration of a frequently overlooked intersection of Western art and philosophy, A Language of Its Own restores music to its rightful place in the history of ideas.

Piano For Beginners 5th Edition

Picking up any instrument for the first time can be daunting, but the new edition of Piano for Beginners will guide you through the learning process. From the correct way to sit at the piano to reading notation, we start with the basics before expanding your musical horizons with easy home recording and genre-specific tutorials. With a glossary of essential terminology, a list of chords and even access to free online resources, Piano for Beginners will be your go-to guide to mastering your piano or keyboard. Featuring: Getting started – Navigate the basics – from accessories to the pedals – with our ultimate guide. Understanding theory – Lay solid foundations by learning how to read musical notation. Playing the piano – Master your instrument with step-by-step tutorials to playing chords and scales. Play in the style of… – Get to know the hallmarks of your favourite genres to replicate their style.

Daniel Theaker, Mike Freen
A Working Musician’s Joke Book

Daniel Theaker’s A Working Musician’s Joke Book is a compilation of the funniest and most popular music jokes today. From groaners to gut busters, these jokes really reflect the attitudes and personalities of people who make music for a living.

James B. Kopp
The Bassoon (Yale Musical Instrument Series)

This welcome volume encompasses the entire history of the bassoon, from its origins five centuries ago to its place in twenty-first-century music. James Kopp draws on new archival research and many years’ experience playing the instrument to provide an up-to-date and lively portrait of today’s bassoon and its intriguing predecessors. He discusses the bassoon’s makers, its players, its repertory, its myths, and its audiences, all in unprecedented detail.

The bassoon was invented in Italy in response to the need for a bass-register double-reed woodwind suitable for processionals and marching. Composers were quick to exploit its agility and unique timbre. Later, during the reign of Louis XIV, the instrument underwent a major redesign, giving voice to its tenor register. In the early 1800s new scientific precepts propelled a wave of invention and design modifications. In the twentieth century, the multiplicity of competing bassoon designs narrowed to a German (or Heckel) type and a French type, the latter now nearly extinct. The author examines the acoustical consequences of these various redesigns. He also offers new coverage of the bassoon’s social history, including its roles in the military and church and its global use during the European Colonial period. Separate historical chapters devoted to contrabassoons and smaller bassoons complete the volume.

Marcel Hébert
Religious Experience in the Work of Richard Wagner

Enthusiasm for the operas of composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) flourished in fin-de-siècle France, fed by fascination for the medieval history and literature that inspired his work. By the 1890s, “”pilgrimages”” to Wagner’s burial city of Bayreuth, Germany, home of a regular festival of his work, were a rite of passage for musicians and the upper crust. French admirers promoted Wagner’s ideas in journals such as La Revue wagnérienne, launched in 1885. These writings fueled a mystique about Wagner, his music, and his beliefs. Philosopher Marcel Hébert developed his Religious Experience in the Work of Richard Wagner (1895) from this background of sustained popular interest in Wagner, an interest that had intensified with the return of his operas to the Paris stage. Newspaper debates about the impact of Wagner’s ideas on French society often stressed the links between Wagner and religion. These debates inspired works like Hébert’s, intended to explain the complex myth and allegory in Wagner’s work and to elucidate it for a new generation of French spectators. Hébert’s discussion of Wagner, written for a popular audience, might seem an anomaly in light of his better-known academic philosophical writings. Yet Wagner’s use of myth and symbol, as well as his ability to write musical dramas that evoked emotional as well as cognitive response, resonated with Hébert’s symbolist approach to dogma, and the appeal to religious experience characteristic of Modernist thinkers in general. By writing about Wagner to discuss these themes, Hébert caught the interest of the educated readership who shared his concern about the clash of ancient faith and modern thinking, and who were receptive to his argument that both could be reconciled through his revisionist approach. Thus, Hébert turned Wagner and his work into a vehicle for popularizing the Modernist vision of framing religion through experience as well as knowledge.

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