How Music Works by John Powell

Cover image of How Music WorksWhy are some sounds musical and others merely a noise? Why do some notes go together to make a pleasant chord and others do not? Why does music affect our mood? If you have ever wondered about such things then this is the book for you. The physics and mathematics of making music are explained in a very accessible manner. As John Powell is both a classically-trained composer and a professor of physics he is clearly well qualified to write on this subject.

What could have become a heavy-going topic really isn’t. The author has a light touch and his, largely self-deprecating, humour carried me along without too much head scratching. I discovered some surprising facts, together with explanations, such as ten violins playing the same piece of music only produce twice the volume of sound as a single violin. How many notes in an octave? Eight? Are you sure it isn’t twelve, or seven? What do Beethoven and Led Zeppelin have in common? Read this book to find out – and have a chuckle along the way.

I bought the print copy from Amazon. At that time the print copy was actually cheaper than the Kindle version. How Music Works: A listener’s guide to harmony, keys, broken chords, perfect pitch and the secrets of a good tune