Illegal Harmonies
Pub date: May 2011
RRP: $32.95
ISBN: 9781863955287
Imprint: Black Inc.
Format: PB
Size: 234 x 153mm

Illegal Harmonies

Music in the Modern Age

Listen. What do you hear?

We are surrounded by sounds all the time, but we tend not to hear them; our brains are very good at editing what our ears pick up. If we stop for a moment to listen, there they are: the ticking clock, traffic noise, fragments of conversation, a passing plane. These are examples of what the American composer John Cage called “illegal harmony”.

In response to the noisiest century in history, modern composers have consistently flown in the face of musical orthodoxy. As technology has changed at an unprecedented rate, so have musical styles – sometimes to the dismay of audiences and critics.

In Illegal Harmonies, Andrew Ford charts the course of music in the concert hall and opera house over the last hundred years, linking it to developments in literature, theatre, cinema and the visual arts, and to popular music from Irving Berlin to the Beatles to rap. The result is a stimulating, provocative and informative cultural history. This revised third edition includes a new preface and extended epilogue, bringing the story into the twenty-first century.

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Praise for Illegal Harmonies:

"brilliant" - the Age

"Modern audiences need to learn how to listen and Andrew Ford might be just the man to do the teaching." - Australian Financial Review

"Illegal Harmonies is a book very hard to put down. It brims with useful information." - Quadrant

"You could write a review of this book in four words: Buy it and rejoice." - Geoffrey Tozer, 24 Hours



Andrew Ford

Andrew Ford is the author of Try Whistling This, Illegal Harmonies and The Sound of Pictures. He is a composer and broadcaster and presents The Music Show on ABC Radio National. His music has been played in more than forty countries by groups such as the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Shanghai and Brodsky Quartets, the Black Dyke Band and Victorian Opera.