Back to Piano Education Home Page

5 note ratingReview of Introduction to Classical Music




hen Introduction to Classical Music was introduced in 1994, it was hailed by a number of reviewers as a leader in a new genre of music appreciation software. Unfortunately, the manufacturer had distribution problems and the CD-ROM was never widely available. Fortunately, this wonderful CD-ROM can now be purchased, along with 9 other high quality CD-ROM's ranging from games to utility software, in a CD-ROM value pack costing under $25 for the whole package. At that price, it's hard to pass it up.



Introduction to Classical Music is a terrific music appreciation and music history CD ROM. The opening menu is divided into the following sections:

Performance (where the user can listen and discover their own personal taste in classical music)
Time line ( a journey through the history of classical music)
Introductory Guide
Index (an a-z of classical music)
Composition (detailed information about the music featured)
Composer (a look at the life of the composers and their music)
Help (online help for new users)

The introductory guide features a narrator telling us about the history of classical music, while musical examples play in the background to further illustrate what the narrator is talking about. Also, artwork of the respective musical eras is represented during the narration.

In Performance hall, you can select the type of music: all, ballet, chamber music, choral, opera, concerti, orchestral, overtures, keyboard works, songs, symphonies, then the user can chose from the composers from Bach to Webern, the music period, all, Baroque, Romantic, Classical, modern. Nationalistic, 2nd Viennese, English music, French music, French Impressionistic. The user can also have the music play at random or chronologically. The user can create or experiment around with the type of music, era, composer , etc that the he would like to hear. While the music is playing, one can also get detailed information about the composer and/or the composition.

The Time Line is an accurately devised page showing the chronological progression of composers from Bach and before the Stravinsky and beyond.

In Composition, the student can click on individual compositions, listen to them, and read about the composition and/or the composer. He need not know the exact name of the composer to use this section; all he needs to know is the title of the composition, the rest will be done for him.

The Composer section has a listing of over 45 composers to read and learn about, each section about each individual composer also contains pictures or reproductions of art work representing the individual composer. Students can take their time reading about the individual composer and then can listen to as many examples as they wish The software indicates the available listening list, by using an eighth note sign before the title.]

The Index is a thorough listing of terminology, form, individual compositions, composers, etc.,etc. Listed from a-z. It is a wonderful musical dictionary which goes one step beyond the norm in that one can not only read in detail about the subject matter he is interested in, but can also listen to it.

Introduction to Classical Music is a great starter for those interested in learning more about classical music, composers, and their times. The Composer section not only offered correct and accurate information about the individual composers, but also a lot of anecdotes and "folksy" stories about the composers. My students who have used this CD-ROM liked being able to see pictures of the composers, too. It made the composers all that more real to the students. Introduction to Classical Music is a must-have for those who want not only to learn about piano, but about the composers and history of music. The fact that it is available at a tiny fraction of the original price with 9 other high quality CD-ROM's for only about $25 makes it all the more attractive.  If you want an engaging CD-ROM to teach or learn music appreciation, Introduction to Classical Music is hard to beat!

Nancy Ostromencki and John M. Zeigler

Page created: 9/3/97
Last updated: 01/30/15
Site Policies Credits About Feedback Reprinting

Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1,
Copyright 1995-2016 John M. Zeigler. All rights reserved.