While every person the world over enjoys some type of music, appreciating the art is a much different task. With all the different styles and genres available today, it can be difficult to understand the appeal of certain flavors of music. Roger and Anita Kamien’s Music Appreciation textbook gives students an introductory look at the why and how of musical formation throughout the ages.
It doesn’t take a background in music theory to understand music appreciation. While knowing the difference between picazzo and staccato may help to give a violin concerto, music appreciation simply requires guidance. Roger Kamien and his wife Anita are part of the former group, but their textbook teaches students the latter. Music Appreciation focuses on musical styles throughout the ages, from primitive pre-music to the styles popular today. The focus is on music from around the globe, and aims to instruct students on how to look out for differences and similarities in each musical genre.
Roger Kamien holds a PhD in musicology from Princeton. Since 1983, he has been the Zubin Mehta chair at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has played the piano for 20 years, as well as a wide variety of other instruments. As such, Kamien knows the variety of uses the piano has had throughout history, and the way it applies to music appreciation. His book goes through the piano’s popularity in a variety of genres, from classical to ragtime to jazz and beyond. Kamien is also sure to hit on the many uses of other popular instruments, such as the guitar, bass, drums, and every other popular jazz instrument. He also gives exhaustive information about other lesser-known instruments to increase one’s musical knowledge. Together with is wife Anita, Roger Kamien has created a full assessment of musical history as it stands today.
In its 10th edition, Music Appreciation has more information and song selections than ever. While every edition uses the best musical choices to represent each genre and time period, edition 10 utilizes this to the largest extent yet. Song titles, artists, and lengths as well as a myriad of other information is included in each in-text excerpt, so the student can fully understand Kamien’s point.
Music Appreciation also has an online segment that adds further enrichment to a student’s learning. Songs listed in the book are available in their entirety online, thereby quickening the pace of one’s learning. These songs are also available on accompanying CDs. There is a 9 CD set that gives the full history of music appreciation, or a shorter 5 CD set for a lesser price.
Music is one of the most complex and interesting subjects in any school’s curriculum. Music Appreciation provides a well thought-out, intuitive look at just why humans are drawn to certain genres, and what genres appear over time in the course of history. The Kamiens’ have provided a book that is the standard in music appreciation understanding.
The ISBN numbers for the 10th Edition of this textbook are 0078025087 (ISBN-10) and 978-0078025082 (ISBN-13); and for the 7th Brief Edition, 0078025095 (ISBN-10) and 978-0078025099 (ISBN-13); 6th Brief Edition, 007340134X (ISBN-10) and 978-0073401348 (ISBN-13); 5th Brief Edition, 0072966556 (ISBN-10) and 978-0072966558 (ISBN-13).
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Students that would rather utilize a free alternative to Music Appreciation may want to take a look at this Connexions course, Understanding Basic Music Theory, as there is a lot of resourceful content available that any music student would appreciate. Topics like octaves and scales, frequencies, intervals, and more are discussed at length in a free and publicly viewable form thanks to Creative Commons and Open Educational Resources.