This book is a technical book about music, how it works and what it is. It discusses the physics of music in very non-technical and easy-to-understand terms. It also covers some of the history, and why things are the way they are.
According to the author, the target audience is everyone, whether a neophyte to music or an aficionado. I disagree with this assessment. I found the book interesting, but low in information density and primarily of use to those who haven’t studied much music.
The book does cover all the major details of music. I also felt the author does a good job of making it understandable. Even though I have studied music, I felt John Powell helped me solidify my understanding of a number of topics.
John Powell also interjects his humor into the book, making it more palatable for those who already know the information he is covering. However, I felt he went overboard and could have used a lot less. At times, it got rather old.
Due to the low density of information, the book is a fairly fast read without sacrificing the ability to retain information.
The book also includes a CD. The CD contains sound tracks that compare different elements of music. For instance, one of the tracks compares and discusses the sound from a guitar string played from different positions, focusing on the quality and timbre of the sound. The CD is short, but has a few interesting elements to it. You will probably listen to it once and forget about it.
If you don’t know much about music, this book would probably be a good place to start. Otherwise, I don’t think it provides much value.