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Wallace Woodworth wisely and sympathetically discusses the ever widening orbit of music in the 20th century and its influence on the lives of ordinary people. Our epoch, beyond all others, he points out, is the age of the amateur—not only the amateur maker of music but the amateur listener. Never before have the interested and gifted nonprofessionals so outnumbered the specialists. Thirty-five years as conductor, organist, choirmaster, and teacher have enabled Woodworth to address himself to these new members of the musical body politic.
In the first four chapters of this book, the author deals with radio, television, recordings, schools, colleges, conservatories, and the rapidly expanding relations between government and the arts. The next four chapters are concerned with careers and persons, the composer, performer, scholar and teacher, and the music critic. There is a final chapter on listening and the listener. The book is intended to provoke discussion on controversial subjects. The author points out problems, dangers, and current issues, and seeks to suggest the indispensable groundwork for improvement—basic principles which must govern the “pursuit of beauty” in American life.