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Music Books

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By: Alfred Moffat (1866-1950)

Our Old Nursery Rhymes by Alfred Moffat Our Old Nursery Rhymes

Our Old Nursery Rhymes (1911) is a book of 30 of folkloric songs arranged by Alfred Moffat and beautifully illustrated by H. Willebeck Le Mair. You and your child can listen and sing along .These nursery rhymes were performed by 17 talented university student musicians who are sisters in the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity for Women at California State University-Stanislaus. The project was conceived as an opportunity to offer service to the music-loving community around the world and to children everywhere.

By: Aristotle (384-322 BC)

Poetics by Aristotle Poetics

Aristotle’s Poetics from the 4th century B.C. aims to give a short study of storytelling. It discusses things like unity of plot, reversal of situation, and character in the context of Greek tragedy, comedy and epic poetry. But it still applies today. It is especially popular with screenwriters as seen in many script gurus’ how-to books.(Summary by Robert Foster)

By: Arnold Kennedy (1853-1938)

Book cover Merry Clappum Junction

This is a jolly little book about a little boy, a dog, a train and a house. But not an ordinary train, oh no, and not an ordinary house either! And there are songs, too. The Preface is short, dull and only for the grown-ups. (Summary by Ruth Golding)

By: Christopher Wilson (1874-1919)

Shakespeare and Music by Christopher Wilson Shakespeare and Music

Shakespeare's plays are full of music: love songs, comic ditties, serious ballads, and songs for witches and spirits. Over the centuries musicians and composers have also created musical adaptations based on Shakespeare's plays. Composer Christopher Wilson's Shakespeare and Music (1922) documents the musical history of each play across various genres, including opera and incidental music. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)

By: Friedrich Kerst

Mozart, The Man and the Artist as Revealed  in His Own Words by Friedrich Kerst Mozart, The Man and the Artist as Revealed in His Own Words

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His name is one of the most recognizable names in history and one of the most enduring of composers. At age 5, this “wunderkinder” took to the stage and began his life as a prolific and celebrated creator-genius of such luminous works the world has not known since. This collection of morsels taken from his personal letters is engaging and gives a look into the mind of the boy wonder. Was he mad? Was he miraculous? (Summary by Aaron Elliott)

By: Friedrich Wieck (1785-1873)

Piano and Song by Friedrich Wieck Piano and Song

This book talks about teaching, learning and performing on the piano in a delightful style, alternating between conversation and instruction. As he was the father of Clara Schumann and Robert Schumann's teacher, need I say more?

By: Gaston Leroux (1868-1927)

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux The Phantom of the Opera

A masterly mix of romance, drama, mystery, suspense, love and jealousy, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux will haunt you long after you've turned the last page. Today the world knows it by Andrew Lloyd-Webber's long running musical on stage and its 2004 film adaptation, and earlier from Lon Chaney's screen portrayal of the dark intruder who roams the Paris Opera House. However, Gaston Leroux's novel was first released as a serial in the French magazine, La Gaulois over four months in 1909-10...

By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

The Perfect Wagnerite by George Bernard Shaw The Perfect Wagnerite

The Perfect Wagnerite: A Commentary on the Niblung's Ring (originally published London, 1898) is a philosophical commentary on Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, by the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw. Shaw offered it to those enthusiastic admirers of Wagner who "were unable to follow his ideas, and do not in the least understand the dilemma of Wotan." He interprets the Ring in Marxian terms as an allegory of the collapse of capitalism from its internal contradictions. Musicologically, his...

By: Gustav Kobbé (1857-1918)

How to Appreciate Music by Gustav Kobbé How to Appreciate Music

Originally published in 1906, this book is essentially a how to guide on music appreciation. Includes sections on the pianoforte, orchestral, and vocal music. Good for anyone who wishes for a greater appreciation of the wonders of music. (Summary by prwells32)

By: Henry Edward Krehbiel (1854-1923)

How to Listen to Music by Henry Edward Krehbiel How to Listen to Music

This book is "not written for professional musicians, but for untaught lovers of the art". It gives broad instruction on composers, styles, instruments, venues - and when to believe the critics. (Summary by Sarah Jennings)

By: James Huneker (1860-1921)

Chopin: The Man and His Music by James Huneker Chopin: The Man and His Music

A biography of the Polish composer and virtuoso pianist Frédéric Chopin and a critical analysis of his work by American music writer and critic James Huneker. (Summary by Julie VW)

By: Jessie Fothergill (1851-1891)

The First Violin by Jessie Fothergill The First Violin

May Wedderburn is a quiet provincial girl, living in small and seemingly boring Skernford. Underneath the dull exterior, there is mystery, suspicion and fear in this little town, surrounding the austere local wealthy landowner who is very interested in marrying poor May. It looks as though she will have to marry him whether she likes it or not until an unsuspected alliance is formed between her and a respected old lady. They both escape to Germany where music and excitement await them.

By: Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908)

Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus

Bearing a striking resemblance to Aesop of Aesop's Fables fame, American author Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus is also a former slave who loves to tell simple and pithy stories. Uncle Remus or to give it its original title, Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings was published in late 1880 and received instant acclaim. The book was reviewed in hundreds of journals and newspapers across the country, leading to its immense success, both critical and financial. “Remus” was originally a fictional character in a newspaper column...

By: John Meade Falkner (1858-1932)

The Lost Stradivarius by John Meade Falkner The Lost Stradivarius

The Lost Stradivarius (1895), by J. Meade Falkner, is a short novel of ghosts and the evil that can be invested in an object, in this case an extremely fine Stradivarius violin. After finding the violin of the title in a hidden compartment in his college rooms, the protagonist, a wealthy young heir, becomes increasingly secretive as well as obsessed by a particular piece of music, which seems to have the power to call up the ghost of its previous owner. Roaming from England to Italy, the story involves family love, lordly depravity, and the tragedy of obsession

By: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Victory: An Island Tale by Joseph Conrad Victory: An Island Tale

Recollections of the life of Axel Heyst, one-time manager of the liquidated Tropical Belt Coal Company in a fictitious island in the Pacific. After retreating from society in response to his professional failures, the misanthrope is drawn back by a romantic affair. (Introduction by S. Kovalchik)

By: Josephine Preston Peabody (1874-1922)

Book cover After Music

Josephine Preston Peabody was an American poet and dramatist. She was born in New York and educated at the Girls’ Latin School, Boston, and at Radcliffe College.

By: Karl Wilson Gehrkens (1882-1975)

Music Notation and Terminology by Karl Wilson Gehrkens Music Notation and Terminology

Until relatively recently, music students at all levels of study—from the conservatories to public schools—had few resources available for the formal study of musical notation and terminology in the classroom. In fact, it was not until 1914, when Professor Karl Gehrkens at the Oberlin School of Music published this compilation of class notes and sources he collected over the years, that a uniform text became available for schools and universities everywhere. Since the publication of this monumental work, similar textbooks have emerged, but Dr...

By: Lilli Lehmann (1848-1929)

How to Sing (Meine Gesangskunst) by Lilli Lehmann How to Sing (Meine Gesangskunst)

Lilli Lehmann, born Elisabeth Maria Lehmann, was a German operatic soprano of phenomenal versatility. She was also a voice teacher.She wrote: "Every serious artist has a sincere desire to help others reach the goal—the goal toward which all singers are striving: to sing well and beautifully." This is the 1915 second (expanded) edition of her book and includes many illustrations and diagrams, both physiological and musical, which the listener will find useful.Much of Lilli Lehmann's advice is complex and demanding - the standards which she set for herself were beyond the highest aspirations of most professional singers...

By: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Selected Letters of Beethoven by Ludwig van Beethoven Selected Letters of Beethoven

A selection of Beethoven’s letters from the compilation by Dr. Ludwig Nohl and translated by Lady Grace Wallace. (Summary by Scott D. Farquhar)

By: Margaret Sidney (1844-1924)

Five Little Peppers Grown Up by Margaret Sidney Five Little Peppers Grown Up

Five Little Peppers Grown Up continues the story of Ben, Polly, Joel, David, and Phronsie Pepper. Together with the Kings, the Whitneys, and other friends old and new, the Peppers learn and teach about life and love as they grow into adulthood. (Summary by Angela)

By: May Gillington Byron (-1936)

Book cover Days with the Great Composers

These light entertainments, originally published anonymously, are an imagined day in the life of each composer (Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Chopin, Wagner, Gounod, Mozart, Schumann, Tschaikovsky). This gives the author scope to describe each one's work and life, sketchily, of course, but interestingly. (Summary by David Wales) Note: This is a compilation of three books, each describing three composers. The second book - middle three chapters - has no online version as of yet.

By: Owen Wister (1860-1938)

Padre Ignacio, Or The Song Of Temptation by Owen Wister Padre Ignacio, Or The Song Of Temptation

Padre Ignacio has been the pastor of California mission Santa Ysabel del Mar for twenty years. In 1855 a stranger rides into the mission bringing news and a spiritual crisis. It's really more of a novella than a novel. (Summary by David Wales)

By: P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975)

Jill the Reckless by P. G. Wodehouse Jill the Reckless

Jill had money, Jill was engaged to be married to Sir Derek Underhill. Suddenly Jill becomes penniless, and she is no longer engaged. With a smile, in which there is just a tinge of recklessness, she refuses to be beaten and turns to face the world. Instead she goes to New York and becomes a member of the chorus of "The Rose of America," and Mr. Wodehouse is enabled to lift the curtain of the musical comedy world. There is laughter and drama in _Jill the Reckless_, and the action never flags from the moment that Freddie Rooke confesses that he has had a hectic night, down to the point where Wally says briefly "Let 'em," which is page 313...

By: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy Under the Greenwood Tree

This novel is subtitled The Mellstock Quire, A Rural Painting of the Dutch School. The Quire is the group of musicians who accompany the hymns at the local church and we follow the fortunes of one member, Dick Dewy, who falls in love with the new school mistress, Fancy Day. Another element of the book is the battle between the traditional musicians of the Quire and the local vicar, Parson Maybold, who installs a church organ. This battle illustrates the developing technology being introduced in the Victorian era and its threat to traditional country ways...

By: Thomas Tapper

Stories of Great Composers for Children by Thomas Tapper Stories of Great Composers for Children

This is a collection of ten short, entertaining, informative picture-book biographies of famous composers. Each book tells about the childhood and great achievements of a composer, and includes a short musical example.

By: Unknown

Folk Ballad Collection by Unknown Folk Ballad Collection

First collection of sung and spoken folk ballads (13 in collection).

By: Various

Christmas Carol Collection by Various Christmas Carol Collection

This year’s selection of carols and Christmas music – both sacred and secular.

Hymns of the Christian Church by Various Hymns of the Christian Church

A collection of classic Christian hymns spanning the centuries. Some of the hymns are read; others are sung.

Hymn Collection by Various Hymn Collection

A selection of twenty hymns sung in this recording.

Public Domain Hymns - 01 by Various Public Domain Hymns - 01

"Originally modeled on the Psalms and other poetic passages (commonly referred to as "canticles") in the Scriptures, Christian hymns are generally directed as praise and worship to the monotheistic God. Many refer to Jesus Christ either directly or indirectly. Since the earliest times, Christians have sung "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs", both in private devotions and in corporate worship (Matthew 26:30; 1 Cor 14:26; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13; cf. Revelation 5:8-10; Revelation 14:1-5)...

By: W. S. Gilbert (1836-1911)

The Bab Ballads by W. S. Gilbert The Bab Ballads

The Bab Ballads are a collection of light verse by W. S. Gilbert, illustrated with his own comic drawings. Gilbert wrote the Ballads before he became famous for his comic opera librettos with Arthur Sullivan. In writing the Bab Ballads, Gilbert developed his unique “topsy-turvy” style, where the humour was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd. The Ballads also reveal Gilbert’s cynical and satirical approach to humour. They became famous on their own, as well as being a source for plot elements, characters and songs that Gilbert would recycle in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas...

Book cover More Bab Ballads

This is a subset of the first twelve poems from the second collection of Gilbert’s “Bab Ballads” – light verses poking fun at the life and people of his time in Gilbert’s unique “topsy-turvey” style. The epitaph on his memorial on the Victoria Embankment in London is “HIS FOE WAS FOLLY AND HIS WEAPON WIT”, an epitaph amply exemplified in these verses. (Summary by Graham Redman)

By: William E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963)

The Souls of Black Folk by William E. B. Du Bois The Souls of Black Folk

The Souls of Black Folk is a well-known work of African-American literature by activist W.E.B. Du Bois. The book, published in 1903, contains several essays on race, some of which had been previously published in Atlantic Monthly magazine. Du Bois drew from his own experiences to develop this groundbreaking work on being African-American in American society. Outside of its notable place in African-American history, The Souls of Black Folk also holds an important place in social science as one of the first works to deal with sociology.

By: William S. Gilbert (1836-1911)

The Pirates of Penzance by William S. Gilbert The Pirates of Penzance

The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic finds out, however, that he was born on 29 February, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year...


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