Whether you want to learn how to play an instrument, or just refresh your existing capability, whether you sing in a choir, or would simply like to follow scores while listening, this book will help you achieve your aim. It leads you carefully through the basics of pitch, rhythm, keys, scales, chords, and much more, building your knowledge chapter by chapter until you are able to read music with ease. The visual index of musical symbols laid out at the start will make clear the task at hand.Reference to common instruments and familiar tunes will help bring your learning to life, while self-testing and chapter summaries ensure that you develop and retain this new skill. By the end of the book, you will have come a long way. Your knowledge of music notation will be a pleasure to you, and a useful tool. As well as its practical applications for any performer, this book will give you insights into how music is put together. You will have the feeling of knowing the music from the inside out.
Think of a song that resonates deep down in your being. Now imagine sitting down with someone who was there when the song was recorded and can tell you how that series of sounds was committed to tape, and who can also explain why that particular combination of rhythms, timbres and pitches has lodged in your memory, making your pulse race and your heart swell every time you hear it. Remarkably, Levitin does all this and more, interrogating the basic nature of hearing and of music making (this is likely the only book whose jacket sports blurbs from both Oliver Sacks and Stevie Wonder), without losing an affectionate appreciation for the songs he's reducing to neural impulses. Levitin is the ideal guide to this material: he enjoyed a successful career as a rock musician and studio producer before turning to cognitive neuroscience, earning a Ph.D. and becoming a top researcher into how our brains interpret music. Though the book starts off a little dryly (the first chapter is a crash course in music theory), Levitin's snappy prose and relaxed style quickly win one over and will leave readers thinking about the contents of their iPods in an entirely new way.