Heresies of Music: An A-Z Diagnostic Guide

An A-Z Diagnostic Guide

Non-Fiction - Music/Entertainment
296 Pages
Reviewed on 01/15/2017
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Author Biography

I had noticed that in the music profession there are many emperors without clothes, a vast array of well-polished myths, and a lurid collection of deliberately perpetuated mysteries. I was always tempted to point out the ‘naked emperors’, explode the myths and explain the mysteries in a humorous and light-hearted way, and that is what has prompted the writing of this book.

Previously I enjoyed a 30-year academic career as Senior Lecturer and an Associate Dean in Performing Arts at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Before that I was a professional musician for 15 years, and
since 2001 I have been an education consultant for various organizations in Australia and Korea. In 2015 I accepted appointment as a senior advisor to Cross Cultural Networks, an organization assisting international student exchanges between China and the United States.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

Heresies of Music: An A-Z Diagnostic Guide by Patrick Brislan is a book that will appeal to music aficionados. It’s a hilarious book that dissects facts about the traditions of music, great musical figures, singers and composers, concepts, and a lot of what people have come to believe in the music culture. From ideas on the treatment of Lisztomania to Drog’s prophecy about Electronic Music, the author lifts the veil to reveal his own truths about the institutions and traditions of music. This is the kind of book that will be disturbing to some, entertaining to others, and revealing to the many with very little knowledge about what goes on behind the music scenes.

Patrick Brislan is a master entertainer who seems to have invested a lot of time in researching this book, but what makes it hilarious is the wit and the humor that are blended together to create an interesting read. I found Heresies of Music: An A-Z Diagnostic Guide to be more than a work of entertainment because it informs the reader on a variety of topics in the music industry. Organized in an alphabetical order, the book contains powerful commentaries, anecdotes, and a critique of the many traditions in the music world. In the introduction, the author writes: “Despite the pejorative connotations of its name — and hence its reputation — heresy in fact serves some worthwhile purposes. Heresy challenges, and thereby threatens, orthodoxy. It hastens the decay of myths, lifts veils from mysteries, and provides some alternate clothing for naked emperors.” And this is what this book is all about: heresies of music. Readers will enjoy the terse tone, the excellent writing, and the unbridled humor.

Tracy Slowiak

In an interesting and rather unusual new work by author Patrick Brislan, Heresies of Music: An A-Z Diagnostic Guide, readers will be treated to a unique compendium of information specifically devoted to those interested in the field of music. Each letter of the alphabet represents one or more musical terms, for example "A is for Announcer" or "U is for Understudy." In turn, author Brislan provides his definition for each term as well as a commentary on the role that term plays in the musical world. Written in a humorous fashion, this guide will either leave its readers in stitches or infuriated, depending on their viewpoint. If a reader is a traditional, conservative and stodgy music lover, entrenched in the old ways of musical appreciation, this book might not be for them, but for everyone else, this just might be a real hit!

Heresies of Music: An A-Z Diagnostic Guide is truly a unique piece of work, one that I can honestly say, as a voracious reader, that I have not come across before. Author Patrick Brislan has an unusual and fun way of expressing himself, an interesting viewpoint on all things music related and a great literary style. Again, one needs to have a good sense of humor to read this guide, but if a reader has that, they are very likely to enjoy this book thoroughly. I am pleased to be able to recommend Heresies of Music: An A-Z Diagnostic Guide and look forward to reading more from author Patrick Brislan in the future!

Gisela Dixon

Heresies of Music: An A-Z Diagnostic Guide by Patrick Brislan is a lighthearted take on the inside workings of the music industry and the field of classical music, whether that relates to the art of music itself, musicians, the performances, instruments, or just the people associated with the industry including fans. Heresies of Music starts off on a light, humorous, and somewhat sarcastic note, and continues in that vein for the most part. The book is broken down into chapters, one for each letter of the alphabet as it relates to a particular topic from the world of music, such as T for temperament, D for diva, Q for quartet, etc.

Heresies of Music: An A-Z Diagnostic Guide by Patrick Brislan is a book than music lovers may enjoy. It is not a book that is meant to be taken seriously, although a lot of the descriptions in the book do contain a grain of truth in the humor. That being said, Heresies of Music does contain a lot of technical musical terms and terminologies that the lay person may or not know of. Overall, I enjoyed the book, some parts more than others. The chapter on temperament is quite hilarious and I found myself reading that one twice. The writing style is very fluid and readable, and makes for a fun, lighthearted read sprinkled with jokes, sarcasm, exaggeration, and some truth. All in all, this is a book that is meant to be read without taking anything too seriously and classical music fans will especially enjoy it.