Looking for survey(s) of music
December 16, 2022 7:47 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for free online surveys of music, in general or in a genre. These could just be major works, or they could include one or more people talking about the works and context, etc. These could be just audio or video, but I would mainly play it in the background while I work.

I don’t want to get just individual pieces. I want the survey to include a number of pieces. Although because classical works tend to be longer, if there was a playlist with a number of pieces, that would work.

I am most interested in learning more about classical music and jazz. But I am open to a general survey or any genre. I don’t care for rap, but you can mention it in case someone else is interested.
posted by NotLost to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You might like Bandcamp Daily.
posted by moonmilk at 9:25 PM on December 16, 2022

Best answer: Yale's Clapping for Credit (aka Introduction to Classical Music) is available free on Coursera.
posted by praemunire at 10:56 PM on December 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Around the time I started listening to more jazz, I found this guide from the Art of Manliness. Now that I’ve been listening for a while and know a little, I went back and found it again, and yeah, it’s a pretty solid introduction. A lot of variety so that you can find something you like.

I have some non-free, offline recommendations, too, but I’ll wait to suggest those unless you indicate they’re ok.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:38 AM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

Very eclectic, old-timey, and not what I'd call scholarly at all, but maybe Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour? Fascinating as a glimpse into the music that interested him, at least...
posted by Bron at 7:50 AM on December 17, 2022

Best answer: Apologies if it's obvious, but the Jazz ten hour Ken Burns video documentary is pretty interesting and has nothing in it that I know is wrong. (You probably have to pay to watch it.)

The podcast Song Exploder is also very fun, but explores one song at a time.

(Trying to remember the world music texbook that came with a CD and introduced me to both Umm Kulthum and Tuareg guitar . Will post if I can find it. Both the book and the concept have some problems, but the music is good.)
posted by eotvos at 11:22 AM on December 17, 2022

Ahh - it is Wolds of Music by Titon. If you go for it, get the one with multiple CDs. (It was actually introduced to me by someone else who loved it. I've never read it. I have listened to the music.)
posted by eotvos at 11:45 AM on December 17, 2022

Best answer: Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin.
It's a guided listen to classical music, each episode with a theme that links the selected pieces. Sometimes, it's a focus on a composer or a time period, sometimes a location, style or form. The host highlights elements of the music's performance and construction, giving a window of insight into the richness and underpinnings.

Here's a link where you can listen to the current episode, and access the shows for two weeks previous.

And here's a Soundcloud streaming link.

Only caveat is that it may be interesting enough to distract you from work :) I've definitely stayed in the car after arriving somewhere in order to finish listening to a piece or to the host's analysis.
posted by jolenex4 at 12:26 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is similar to what you're asking for but maybe a little to the left: NTS Radio online.
posted by kensington314 at 1:16 PM on December 17, 2022

Response by poster: Thanks for the recommendations. I'm looking forward to exploring them to learn more.
posted by NotLost at 9:14 PM on December 17, 2022

I didn't suggest this because I thought you wanted something you could start playing and then just listen through, but given people have suggested all kinds of guides, Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music is a good way to explore how different genres have emerged from each other. Click a line segment to hear an example. (See front page posts from 2003 and 2019.)
posted by fabius at 6:08 AM on December 18, 2022

Response by poster: I thought you wanted something you could start playing and then just listen through.
That was my goal.

But Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music is an interesting format that I might explore.
posted by NotLost at 8:50 PM on December 18, 2022

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