Illegal Harmonies: Music in the Modern Age by Andrew Ford (Paperback, 2011)

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A delightful and informative history of modern music. Harmony is created by bringing sounds together. In music lessons, we learn how to do this in a formal way: we learn about chords and keys, and we are given rules for using them. This is the textbook way; this is legal harmony. Everything else - including the sounds that constantly surround us, those of ticking clocks, dogs, traffic, birdsong and aeroplanes - is illegal harmony. Illegal Harmonies charts the course of music over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, 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 always informative cultural history.
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