The five volumes of Musicians and Composers of the 20th Century examine individuals from all over the world who gained significance as composers, performers, instrumentalists, vocalists, and teachers. These are the people who have shaped the history of a number of musical genres, including blues, classical, country, gospel, jazz, Latin, musical theater, opera, punk, rap, reggae, rock, and many more. Every essay contains standard ready reference top matter offering easy access to biographical information, including the name of the musician as best known, the individual's nationality and musical identity, a brief paragraph explaining the individual's significance in the history of music, birth and death dates, and additional info. Musicians and Composers of the 20th Century is illustrated with more than 400 photographs of the musicians scattered throughout the five volumes. In addition, several resources and finding aids for users are at the end of Volume 5, including a General Bibliography, an annotated list of Electronic Resources, a Glossary, a Chronological List of Musicians by birth year, a Category Index, a Geographical Index, a Personages and Groups Index, and a Works Index.
"While this 5-volume set covers the lives of more than 600 significant twentieth-century musicians, its emphasis on their music, rather than just their biographies, allows readers an opportunity to explore historical patterns and discern relationships among disparate musical traditions. Noted artists include composers, performers, instrumentalists, vocalists and teachers from a variety of genres - classical, jazz, opera, blues, folk and rock, among others. Essays in this alphabetically arranged resource range from three to five pages; each opens with standard ready-reference material that affords easy access to biographical information. After each artist is identified by nationality and musical identity, a brief italicized paragraph summarizes the person's significance; the heart of each essay is the section entitled 'The Music,' analytical commentary on the musician's body of work as well as individual pieces, performances and recordings. The see-also lists that conclude each essay offer cross-references to related musicians in the set. A pronunciation key and a complete list of contents open each volume. Students and musicians interested in further inquiry will find the resources in the final volume useful: a general bibliography, a glossary of key terms, a chronological list of musicians, a list of electronic resources and an array of indexes: category (which classifies musicians into more than ninety genres), geographical (listing the fifty countries and regions included in the set), personages and groups and works. The language will be accessible to most high school students. More than 400 black and white photographs are scattered throughout the set, which can serve as a springboard for students seeking to learn more about music and musicians. Recommended for high school and public libraries."
--Doug's Student Reference Room, July 2009
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