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Each major country had its own beginnings with music and the keyboards that brought that music to life. This book is, therefore, a geographical as well as a musical tour. Beginning in about the mid-1500s and continuing to more recent times, Loesser informs us of the musical progression in Germany, Austria, England, France, and finally the US. Whether you begin with the English in the 1500s or the Germans in the 1600s or the French in the 1700s, you'll be intrigued by the variety of instruments unveiled in these pages for your delectation, as well as his humorous side trips into more human endeavors. (There's an entire chapter [Section Three, Chapter Eighteen] on the use of music in the novels of Jane Austen, for example.)
Loesser skillfully utilizes his dry and frequently wry wit in detailing the history and usage of keyboard instruments, as well as those who merely were the players of them. It's quite obvious that, to Mr. Loesser, the instruments themselves were the more worthy, and he skillfully educates the reader in the evolution of today's piano, including the advantage gained by the availability of steel framing.
There are many types of keyboard instruments, some more well-known than others, but none are slighted in this comprehensive retrospective. In addition, social history is also brought into prominence, as well as those artisans who have moved us with their performances.
Another bravura performance from this noted musician.
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I found I was unable to finish reading the book. The writing style and theme development was too daunting.
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