Gateways to Understanding Music

1st Edition

Timothy Rice, Dave Wilson

January 31, 2019 Forthcoming
Textbook - 450 Pages
ISBN 9781138039063 - CAT# Y328952

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Gateways to Understanding Music explores music in all the categories that constitute contemporary musical experience: European classical music, popular music, jazz, and world music. Covering the oldest forms of human music making and the newest, the chronological narrative considers music from a global rather than a Eurocentric perspective. Each of sixty modular "gateways" covers a particular genre, style, or period of music. Every gateway opens with a guided listening example that unlocks a world of music through careful study of its structural elements. Based on their listening experience, students are asked to consider how the piece came to be composed or performed, how the piece or performance responded to the social and cultural issues at the time and place of its creation, and what that music means today. Students learn to listen to, explain, understand, and ultimately value all the music they may encounter in their world.


  • Global scope – Presents all music as worthy of study, including classical, world, popular, and jazz.
  • Historical narrative – Begins with small-scale forager societies up to the present day, with a shifting focus from global to European to American perspectives.
  • Listening-guided learning – Leads to understanding the emotion, meaning, significance, and history of music.
  • Introduction of musical concepts – After a brief introduction, defined as needed and compiled into an Appendix for reference.
  • Modular framework – 60 gateways in 14 chapters allow flexibility to organize chronologically or by the seven recurring themes: aesthetics, emotion, social life, links to culture, politics, economics, and technology.
  • Consistent structure – With each gateway organized in the same step-by-step format, students learn through repeated practice how to listen and how to think about music

In addition to streamed audio examples, the companion website includes quizzes, timelines, resources for instructors, and a test bank.


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