A lively, engaging guide to music around the world, from prehistory to the present
Human beings have always made music. Music can move us and tell stories of faith, struggle, or love. It is common to all cultures across the world. But how has it changed over the millennia?
Robert Philip explores the extraordinary history of music in all its forms, from our earliest ancestors to today’s mass-produced songs. This is a truly global story. Looking to Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and beyond, Philip reveals how musicians have been brought together by trade and migration and examines the vast impact of colonialism. From Hildegard von Bingen and Clara Schumann to Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin, great performers and composers have profoundly shaped music as we know it.
Covering a remarkable range of genres, including medieval chant, classical opera, jazz, and hip hop, this Little History shines a light on the wonder of music—and why it is treasured across the world.
“The impossible elegantly achieved: a history of music spanning five continents and thousands of years in just 278 lucid, friendly pages. Whether you are musically expert or you don’t know your opera from your hip-hop, it’s a joy to read.” – John Rutter, composer and conductor
“An engrossing, often surprising book that helps break the classical music silo. Philip places the development of the art form alongside contemporary social, political and religious developments and connects the European masters to issues of global identity and nationalism, with fascinating results.” – Petroc Trelawny, BBC Radio 3 broadcaster
“An astonishing feat of concision, this Little History covers all known kinds of music, ever, from everywhere. It’s written with fairness and balance, but also enthusiasm and love for the activity of music-making. The foregrounding of popular music in the twentieth century is particularly striking and original.” – Judith Weir, composer and Master of the King’s Music