Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
The History of Music
Waldo Selden Pratt (1857–1939)
Music, The History of: A Handbook and Guide for Students, by W. S. Pratt (1907). This work, as the author explains in the preface is rather a book of reference for students than a critical survey of a few salient aspects of the subject, or a specialist’s report of original research. The leading tendencies or movements of musical advance are thrown into relief, reference being made to particular styles and composers as illustrations. The need of such a study arises from the fact that amid the general progress of historical investigation the history of music has been almost neglected, partly because of the lack until recently of adequate textbooks and partly because of the insufficient recognition of the fine arts as essential parts of anything that deserves the name of culture. This neglect is all the more remarkable because however far back investigation into the history of even the most primitive races has gone, there appears to have existed “the spontaneous use by all races of song, dance, and instrument as a means of expression, amusement, and even discipline.” The division of subject is into primitive or savage music, Greek and Roman; mediæval, including the rise of Christian music and covering the period to the fifteenth century; the Venetian and Roman Schools and the Church and secular music of the sixteenth century: the early musical drama and the rise of dramatic music in the seventeenth century; the early Italian opera of the eighteenth century, which was also to produce the masterpieces of Haydn, Gluck, and Mozart; the early and middle nineteenth century with the names of Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Wagner: the later nineteenth century of which perhaps the most conspicuous figure was Richard Strauss. The work is not a history of instruments, but it contains 110 illustrations of selected specimens from the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. These are of the most varied interest and value and range from the stone flute of Alaska, the Hindu sarangi, the ancient Irish harp, to the elaborate sarussophones of the present day.  1

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