Understanding Music: Past and Present

(10 reviews)


Alan Clark, Middle Georgia State University
Thomas Heflin, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
Jeffery Kluball, Darton State College
Elizabeth Kramer, University of West Georgia

Pub Date: 2015

ISBN 13: 978-1-9407713-3-5

Publisher: University of North Georgia Press

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Reviewed by Lewton Jones, Graduate Student/PSU/Music Teacher/Community Ed, PCC, on 6/20/2018.

The book reads like a text book in its tight order. It covers the beginning of music, sound, acoustics in a very comprehensive way. At the end of … read more



Reviewed by Ingrid Gordon, Associate Adjunct Professor, LaGuardia Community College, on 2/2/2018.

The book is a comprehensive survey of the history of Western Classical Music (including a chapter on music fundamentals), and has a good table of … read more



Reviewed by Alexandre Beliaev, Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley , on 2/2/2018.

This book contains a glossary of musical terms at the end of each chapter, as well as an extensive general glossary for the whole textbook as an … read more



Reviewed by Matthew Donahue, Lecturer, Bowling Green State University, on 2/2/2018.

This book (Understanding Music Past and Present) does a good job of covering a variety of Western musical styles for the non-music major student. … read more



Reviewed by Jason Heald, Associate Professor, Umpqua Community College, on 6/21/2017.

Understanding Music: Past and Present is a conventional survey of Western European Music for non-music majors. The information is, for the most part, … read more



Reviewed by Lillie Gordon, Lecturer, University of Tennessee, on 6/21/2017.

This book covers all of the areas generally included in similar WAM textbooks, although late 20th and early 21st century composers are not engaged … read more



Reviewed by Thomas Garcia, Associate Professor, Miami University, on 6/21/2017.

This book is a comprehensive look at music history. It covers music from the Middle Ages through the Twentieth Century and beyond, and includes a … read more



Reviewed by Steven Ashby, Instructor, Virginia Commonwealth University, on 4/12/2017.

I found the text covered all the musical time periods of Westen Classical Music very succinctly. I found the discussion of Popular music forms in the … read more



Reviewed by David Mulcahy, Associate Professor, University of Arizona, on 2/9/2017.

The book's main chapters provide a overview and history of music in the western world; starting with an introductory chapter about the 'fundamental' … read more



Reviewed by Jonathan Chenoweth, Professor, University of Northern Iowa, on 2/9/2017.

To assemble a comprehensive survey of Western art music in a single introductory volume of modest size is an impossible task, and I applaud the … read more


Table of Contents

  • Music Fundamentals 
  • Music of the Middle Ages 
  • Music of the Renaissance
  • Music of the Baroque Period 
  • Music of the Classical Period
  • Nineteenth-Century Music and Romanticism
  • The Twentieth Century and Beyond 
  • Popular Music in the United States
  • Appendix 
  • Glossary

About the Book

Understanding Music: Past and Present is an open Music Appreciation textbook co-authored by music faculty across Georgia. The text covers the fundamentals of music and the physics of sound, an exploration of music from the Middle Ages to the present day, and a final chapter on popular music in the United States.

About the Contributors


Dr. Alan Clark is currently Director of Bands at Middle Georgia State University. He has taught and conducted at all levels from middle school through high school to professional military bands. While teaching High School in Lakeland, Florida he also served as an adjunct music faculty member at Florida Southern College and as an instructor with the Suncoast Sound Drum and Bugle Corps.

Tennessee-born jazz trumpeter Thomas Heflin has been hailed as “a fluent trumpeter with a bright tone and a forward-looking style” by jazz writer Scott Yanow. In 2005, he placed second in the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition in Seattle, WA and has since been featured or mentioned in Italy’s Jazz Magazine, The Pittsburgh Tribune Review and The International Trumpet Guild Journal among others. Heflin has released three albums as a leader on Blue Canoe Records, the last of which was a collaborative CD with Ron Westray, former lead trombonist with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He has performed in a professional capacity with the likes of James Williams, Vincent Herring, Donald Brown, and Lou Rawls. Heflin has served as an instructor at the Manhattan School of Music Summer Music Camp, The Jefferson Center Jazz Institute, the University of Texas, the University Outreach and Continuing Education Program at the University of Tennessee and Roane State Community College. He also served as the Central Greenough Artist-in-Residence in Western Australia as well as an artist-in-residence the Always on Stage Festival in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. In 2009, Heflin received his doctorate in Music Performance (Jazz Emphasis) from the University of Texas, Austin. Shortly after, he moved to New York City and served as Program Manager and jazz faculty at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division for five years. He now lives in Tifton with his wife Danica and his daughter Anna Bree and is proud to serve as Assistant Professor of Jazz at ABAC.

Originally from Valdosta, GA, Jeff Kluball earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1980 from Valdosta State College (currently Valdosta State University), and a master’s degree in music education in 1983 from the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago where he studied conducting under Victor Zajec. He continued his study in music conducting and band repertoire with Dr. William D. Revelli and received his Music Education Specialist Degree from Troy State University in 1990. Jeff completed his Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Sarasota on February 6, 2001. His extensive research revolved around the influence of music study on academic achievement and brain development.

Elizabeth Kramer, PhD, Associate Professor of Music History and Associate Dean, Department of Music, College of Arts and Humanities, University of West Georgia.