If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, you'd do best to hone your chops and avoid cliches (like the one that begins this sentence) by learning from the prime movers. How to Write About Music offers a selection of the best writers on what is perhaps our most universally beloved art form. Selections from the critically-acclaimed 33 1/3 series appear alongside new interviews and insights from authors like Lester Bangs, Chuck Klosterman, Owen Pallet, Ann Powers and Alex Ross.
How to Write About Music includes primary sources of inspiration from a variety of go-to genres such as the album review, the personal essay, the blog post and the interview along with tips, writing prompts and advice from the writers themselves.
Music critics of the past and the present offer inspiration through their work on artists like Black Sabbath, Daft Punk, J Dilla, Joy Division, Kanye West, Neutral Milk Hotel, Radiohead, Pussy Riot and countless others. How to Write About Music is an invaluable text for all those who have ever dreamed of getting their music writing published and a pleasure for everyone who loves to read about music.
Marc Woodworth is a Lecturer in the English department at Skidmore College, USA, and Associate Editor of Salmagundi Magazine.
Ally-Jane Grossan is editor of the 33 1/3 series published by Bloomsbury.
Collection of great long and short pieces on (pop) music, profiles, analyses and personal reactions; practical manual for breaking into a challenging and protean business; text for a cool college course; all-star lineup of contemporary music writers; models for venues from your own blog to the New Yorker; thing to dip into for bite-size bits of advice-How To Write About Music is, as the Dead Boys never quite put it, all this (and more). Highlights include Chuck Klosterman's interview how-to, Susan Fast's exegesis of Dangerous, Alex Ross's Radiohead, and, and, and-the volume draws on the 33 1/3 books without being in thrall to them, and it introduces many styles and many tastes-it's hard to imagine a better place to start. * Stephen Burt, Professor of English, Harvard University, USA *
All killer and no filler-How to Write About Music is crammed full of stylistically diverse excerpts and stellar advice from the world's leading music writers. From Tavi Gevinson's chit-chatty Taylor Swift defense to Susan Fast's benchmark 33 1/3 proposal on Michael Jackson; students, bloggers and experienced critics alike are sure to find plenty of inspiration. Innovative, accessible and organized like a lovingly compiled mix tape, How to Write About Music will have you jiving around The Shard in no time. * Samantha Bennett, Senior Lecturer, The Australian National University, Australia *
The best critics make it look easy, but figuring out how and why music works on us-why certain sounds and melodies can incite ecstasy or devastation-is extraordinarily tough work. This smartly compiled primer, the first of its kind, is jammed full of priceless advice on how to make it happen. * Amanda Petrusich, author of Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records *
As a university senior lecturer in media theory with a passion for music, I was on the look out for an accessible, student friendly text to inspire different ways of thinking about and writing about music. The balance between a fun read for music fans and useful textbook for academics is spot on ... If you want to get students more engaged with reading assignments, or are looking for some ideas on how to create innovative assessments and teaching methods, or if you are just a fan of music and music journalism this is definitely good value for the cover price. It is also a good introduction to the 33 1/3 book series by Bloomsbury Press. Highly recommended, highly engaging, and excellent read * Stephanie A. Fremaux, Teesside University, UK *
Provides a diverse set of experienced voices in different word lengths * Times Higher Education *
The long-running 33 1/3 series is branching out from its usual pocket-sized, album-by-album format to round up some of the best writing about music from the sharpest minds in the business. * Fact Mag *
Bloomsbury is publishing How To Write About Music, a book collecting a selection of texts from the 33 1/3 series, as well as excerpts from magazines, books and blogs, plus advice from music writers. Editors Marc Woodworth and Ally-Jane Grossan interviewed over 40 music writers for the textbook, including the likes of Drew Daniel, Anthony Kwame Harrison, Richard Henderson, Marvin Lin, Paul Morley, Jessica Hopper, and The Wire's Editor-In-Chief, Tony Herrington. * The Wire *
It is remarkable that while there have been plenty of music history books and biographies, there has never really been a guide about the profession and just how to get started in it-until now. Edited by Marc Woodworth and Ally-Jane Grossan, How to Write About Music is a new title from Bloombsury, the publishing company that puts out the 33 1/3 music book series. Excerpts of writings from the series are included in this guide as well as from other books, magazines and blogs. Specific areas about music journalism from crafting the live review to writing artist profiles are augmented by tips from writers and editors; there's even a section on how to pitch a 33 1/3 book. -- David Chiu * Brooklyn Based *
A no-brainer purchase for amateur music writers. -- Stephen Carlick * Exclaim! *
A book that can be read straight through or kept as a quick guide when needed, How to Write About Music is a book that every music writer should read over at least once. -- Desiree Ossandon * Canada Arts Connect *
The pieces [of this book] have been carefully and imaginatively selected ... [Many] pieces showcase their authors' extensive chops in music theory, analysis and aesthetics and, more importantly, their ability to invite their readers to look at the music from a different perspective ... The volume can certainly be used as a teaching and learning tool, either to practise one's craft independently or as a textbook ... [A] welcome addition to the library of any student aspiring to write about music on a professional level, of those wishing to learn the craft independently and of simply anyone who is interested in good writing about music. * Popular Music *
As a whistle-stop tour around today's journalistic writing on popular music, the book stands up very well ... There is plenty to please and educate in here. * IASPM@ Journal *
... there's really no reason why anyone interested in music-writing - both writer and reader - wouldn't want to get hold of this book. Loads of great advice and examples, practical tips and a checklist for how to go about (attempting) to make your mark in this modern and then post-modern world. A pretty crucial, indispensable even set of words. -- Simon Sweetman * Off The Tracks *
Then, there are my research books, which have honestly been just as enjoyable lately as my fiction. The 33 1/3 Books team recently released How to Write About Music, a textbook on exactly what it says it's about. It's great-educational while being wholly enjoyable and reading it is like taking a course by a great professor. I'm sure it will be used in classrooms, but for solo reading it functions beautifully. Bonus, awesome intro by Rick Moody, a veteran of this reading list. * RoyChristopher.com *