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Ah, Music!    by Aliki order for
Ah, Music!
by Aliki
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2003 (2003)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

'What is music?' asks Aliki and then answers the question with a joyous exploration of the subject, of interest to all ages. We learn that music is rhythm, 'a beating-the-eggs beat, a heart beat'; it is melody, 'the tune I can hum, or the song that is sung'; pitch and tone; volume; feeling; and it is a creative art. We learn about written music, about performance, instruments in an orchestra, the role of the conductor, and singing voices.

Aliki explains harmony and singing a round, and introduces Italian musical terms like fortissimo. Different styles of dance are illustrated, from classical ballet to an East African drum dance - they all 'express the music'. A historical overview takes us from a prehistoric reindeer-bone flute through a Mesopotamian lyre, Mayan trumpet, and Greek panpipes, to the development of musical notation, and composition for groups of musicians.

Classical composers are introduced from the Renaissance to modern times, and the invention of sound recording and the phonograph described. I especially liked the section on the cultural diversity of music. It shows us bagpipes, a sitar and a didgeridoo, with a little girl who says that 'Music helps me understand the people who make it, even if they live far away.' There's a cartoon mini history of 'The Birth of Jazz' and a colorful timeline that shows how Pop music made it a 'Small World'.

Aliki tells us that music is good for all of us, that 'practice makes perfect' and it's for everybody ... Ah, Music!

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