Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

The Essential Listening to Music, 2nd Edition

  • includes Digital Music Downloads Printed Access Card
  • Craig Wright
  • ISBN-10: 1285856791
  • ISBN-13: 9781285856797
  • 304 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2013
  • COPYRIGHT: 2016 Published
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About the Product

Combining outstanding listening pedagogy with clear writing and cutting-edge digital resources, THE ESSENTIAL LISTENING TO MUSIC (with Download Card), 2e delivers a streamlined and succinct presentation of classical music that inspires a lifelong appreciation of music. Scholar and master-teacher Craig Wright focuses on the key concepts and works presented within a typical Music Appreciation course. Organized chronologically, the text discusses musical examples from each historical period within its social context--giving students a sense of a piece's construction as well as its historical and cultural meaning. Designed to develop listening skills and challenge students, the text's wide range of resources includes online Listening Exercises for most pieces in the text, streaming music, computer-enhanced Active Listening Guides, and chapterwide and critical thinking quizzes for the entire text. Students also can download music covered in the text directly to a music library, and instructors can customize the text to fit their specific needs by including pop and global music from the larger edition of LISTENING TO MUSIC. Fully integrated with MindTap, the Second Edition gives students the ultimate anytime, anywhere personalized learning experience--and provides instructors with gradable activities. This edition's MindTap also includes new learning objectives to help students focus on key topics, engaging new animations created by Stephen Malinowski to open most chapters, new critical thinking items in each chapter, individual YouTube players, and instant audio for most examples in the book.


  • A brief, streamlined version of Wright's comprehensive LISTENING TO MUSIC, the Second Edition of THE ESSENTIAL LISTENING TO MUSIC (with Download Card) offers a succinct 16-chapter presentation of Western (or classical) music.

  • Concise Listening Cues contain such key information as genre and form, "What to Listen For," and where to find full Listening Guides, interactive Active Listening Guides, and Listening Exercises in MindTap.

  • References in the margins direct students to the interactive MindTap learning path.

  • A renowned music historian, author Craig Wright has taught music appreciation for more than 30 years and leads Yale's online teaching initiative. By teaching the course every year--on the ground and online--he remains in touch with what today's students need to become personally engaged in the act of listening to music.

  • The musical repertoire selected by Prof. Wright for this brief edition is praised by reviewers. All musical selections are available for streaming and as downloads.

  • Popular music references are incorporated throughout, helping students easily relate classical music to music they are already familiar with.

  • Full coverage of women as composers, performers, and patrons of music exposes students to the significant contributions of women to the music world. Coverage of women composers includes Hildegard of Bingen, Barbara Strozzi, Clara Schumann, and Ellen Zwilich.

  • Instructor resources include lecture materials and Listening Guides for many additional works not covered in the text--giving instructors numerous options for teaching the repertoire they want.


"I really like this text. I think it is the best one I have used up to this point. The three major strengths are its brevity, appropriate level of material, and listening exercises. … The text is quite brief and does not go into nearly as much depth and detail as previous editions or other texts I have reviewed and/or used. This is very good for the level of students I teach. The listening exercises provide an opportunity for the students to become actively engaged and involved in the listening and learning process."
— Rebecca Hovan, Indiana University, South Bend

About the Author

Craig Wright

Craig M. Wright received his Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music in 1966 and his Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard University in 1972. He began his teaching career at the University of Kentucky and for the past forty years has been teaching at Yale University, where he is currently the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music. At Yale, Wright’s courses include his perennially popular introductory course, Listening to Music (also part of the offerings of Open Yale Courses); his large lecture course Exploring the Nature of Genius; and most recently his Coursera course Introduction to Classical Music. He is the author of numerous scholarly books and articles on composers ranging from Leoninus to Bach. Wright has also been the recipient of many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Einstein and Kinkeldey Awards of the American Musicological Society, and the Dent Medal of the International Musicological Society. In 2004, he was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Chicago. And in 2010 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining fellow inductee, banjo player Steve Martin. In addition to LISTENING TO MUSIC and LISTENING TO WESTERN MUSIC, EIGHTH EDITION, Wright has also published THE ESSENTIAL LISTENING TO MUSIC, SECOND EDITION; LISTENING TO MUSIC, CHINESE EDITION (Schirmer Cengage Learning/Three Union Press, 2012), translated and simplified by Profs. Li Xiujung (China Conservatory, Beijing) and Yu Zhigang (Central Conservatory, Beijing), both of whom worked with Wright at Yale; and MUSIC IN WESTERN CIVILIZATION, MEDIA UPDATE (Schirmer Cengage Learning, 2010), with coauthor Bryan Simms. He is currently at work on a volume titled MOZART’S BRAIN: EXPLORING THE NATURE OF GENIUS.

Table of Contents

1. The Appeal of Music.
2. Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony.
3. Color, Texture, and Form.
4. Music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
5. Baroque Art and Music.
6. Late Baroque Music: Bach and Handel.
7. Introduction to the Classical Style: Haydn and Mozart.
8. Classical Forms.
9. Classical Genres.
10. Beethoven: Bridge to Romanticism.
11. Romanticism and Romantic Chamber Music.
12. Romantic Orchestral Music.
13. Romantic Opera.
14. Late Romantic Orchestral Music.
15. European Impressionism and Modernism.
16. American Modernism and Postmodernism.

New to this edition

  • The Second Edition's pedagogy is fully integrated with MindTap--giving students the ultimate personal learning experience and providing instructors with high-value gradable activities like Listening Exercises and quizzes.
  • Delivering anywhere, anytime learning opportunities, MindTap's engaging, personalized online environment is accessible on laptops, tablets, and handheld devices. The points on the MindTap learning path are cued frequently in the text, wherever appropriate, to remind users to take advantage of its rich resources.
  • New learning objectives help students focus on key topics--and maximize their course success.
  • Created by renowned American composer Stephen Malinowski, of Music Animation Machine, animations provide engaging activities to open most chapters, quickly drawing students into the text material.
  • New critical thinking quizzes are integrated in MindTap for each chapter, helping students think more deeply about music while sharpening their analytical skills.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Website with Instructor's Resource Manual, PowerPoint®  (ISBN-10: 1305115074 | ISBN-13: 9781305115071)

Everything you need for your course in one place! This collection of book-specific lecture and class tools is available online via Access and download PowerPoint presentations, instructor's manual, word testbank files and more.

Cengage Testing, powered by Cognero® Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305114833 | ISBN-13: 9781305114838)

Cengage Learning Testing Powered by Cognero® is a flexible, online system that allows you to import, edit, and manipulate content from the text's test bank or elsewhere, including your own favorite test questions; create multiple test versions in an instant; and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom, or wherever you want.

Digital Music Downloads Printed Access Card  (ISBN-10: 1305114027 | ISBN-13: 9781305114029)

The Digital Music Download Card gives students and instructors access to downloads of all the pieces that stream on the MindTap.

MindTap Music, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access with Active Listening Guide for Wright's The Essential Listening to Music  (ISBN-10: 1305115066 | ISBN-13: 9781305115064)

MINDTAP MUSIC FOR WRIGHT'S THE ESSENTIAL LISTENING TO MUSIC, 2nd Edition, is a personalized teaching experience with relevant assignments that guide students to analyze, apply, and improve thinking, allowing you to measure skills and outcomes with ease. Personalized teaching becomes yours through a Learning Path built with key student objectives and your syllabus in mind. Control what students see and when they see it. YouTube videos, audio examples, multiple modes of listening, selection-specific Listening Exercises, and quizzes--review and critical thinking--are designed to take students up the levels of learning, from basic knowledge to analysis and critcal thinking. Analytics and reports provide a snapshot of class progress, time in course, engagement, and completion rates.

Student Supplements

Digital Music Downloads Printed Access Card  (ISBN-10: 1305114027 | ISBN-13: 9781305114029)

The Digital Music Download Card gives students and instructors access to downloads of all the pieces that stream on the MindTap.

MindTap Music, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access with Active Listening Guide for Wright's The Essential Listening to Music  (ISBN-10: 1305115066 | ISBN-13: 9781305115064)

MindTap Music for Wright's The Essential Listening to Music, 2nd Edition is the digital learning solution that helps instructors engage and transform today's students into critical thinkers. Through paths of dynamic assignments and applications that you can personalize, real-time course analytics, and an accessible reader, MindTap helps you turn cookie cutter into cutting edge, apathy into engagement, and memorizers into higher-level thinkers. Access to this product is valid for 6 months of usage. MindTap Music includes the textbook (in ebook format), streaming music for all pieces discussed in the book, 53 active listening guides with audio quizzing, 40 listening exercises, interactive activities that teach students all elements of music, additional quizzes for each chapter, curated YouTube video playlists, and more.