This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Gathering Resources

Let's work together to find learning resources that we can use later on. A resource can be anything that would help the group learn more about classical music. Some examples might be:

  • Well-written and informative webpages or blogs
  • Composer fan pages
  • Timelines
  • Beginner's guides
  • Physical books (particularly from public libraries)
  • Public radio stations that offer classical music programs


If you're a complete classical music beginner, this might be your initial forray into the world of classical music. It might feel daunting and impossibly complex at first, but don't worry about it. Instead, if you find something that seems really interesting to you, make a note of it for later.

When you're satisfied with what you've found, share it with the group. Make a comment on the group page and share the links to your resources, along with your reasons for choosing them or a short description about each one.

This task can last as long as necessary, and will never officially be "over" - allowing us to build up a repository of useful resources over time.

Task Discussion

  • Scarlet Scholar   April 25, 2012, 1:22 p.m.

    There are three sources I want to share, I hope these help.

    The first source is one that I use every once in a while.  You can access it at  Live 365 is an online radio station that has a great number of stations for each genre.  It's free, unless you want the premium package, and its easy to use.  They also display the name of the piece, and the name of the composer.  The only set back are the commercials.  There aren't many of them, but after a while they do irritate you.  However, if you have time in your day, then check it out.

    This other source is one that I use daily.  98.7 wfmt is a radio station that I often listen to when I'm working.  It's a great radio station for the Chicago land area, and it's an affiliation of PBS.  So those of you who are locals take some time out of your day to take a listen.  Not only does this station provide great works from composers around the world, they also have information on music events like festivals and concerts, and NO COMMERCIALS.  This station also has a website that has the info on the events at  And to those of you who are not local, you might be able to listen to the station on the website as well.  So definitely check it out!

    This next source is one that I often as well.  Music Choice is a great source for any kind of music, from classical to reggae.  You can listen to the wide variety of music on their website at  And for those who have digital cable, Music Choice has channels provided by COMCAST specifically for listening.  (channels 901-943)  These channels are great for broadening your horizons in classical music.  Not only do they provide the song, the name of the song, and the composer, they also give you interesting facts about them.  I do recommend this source.  Definitely check it out!

    Those are all of the sources I've dug up, but I am determined to find more.  So keep a look out!!

  • Justine Lavoie   Jan. 18, 2012, 11:36 p.m.

    Something that I've started recently in other areas to help me get motivated to learn and stay current is to find or create RSS Feed Bundles for topics that interest me.

    I've gone through previous comments and done some of my own research to create a Classical Music RSS Bundle. It's certainly not all-encompassing; more of a starting point, really. I encourage anyone who has any other good classical RSS Feeds to commet here so I can add them.

    If you need help reading RSS Feeds this Google RSS Feed FAQ will be helpful. They're super easy to start using. You can choose any Feed Reader you want, but I prefer Google Reader (yeah, I like Google. Can you tell?)

    I visited my local library today and picked a few classical CDs semi-randomly. I think it's a great way to find some free high-quality recordings.

    There's also a blog for classical music playlists on Spotify that might be interesting to some of you.

  • richard   Nov. 22, 2011, 11:52 a.m.

    This 20th Century piano work by Ravel is also worth a listen:

    The performances are very virtuotistic (if that's a word), and it's interesting to me that this is another work written in a very traditional, "classical", and formal mode- a suite in six movements, dedicated at least in title to a baroque-period keyboard composer- but which memorializes Ravel's friends killed in the Great War. As the notes on the website suggest, it is oddly light hearted- other contemporaries of Ravel's who were moved to compose works by the War were creating contemporary classical music with dissonance and stress, with inspiration by the modernist movement, none of which is present in this work- so perhaps it's a work which is significant as marking the end of an era?

  • richard   Nov. 22, 2011, 11:53 a.m.
    In Reply To:   richard   Nov. 22, 2011, 11:52 a.m.

    There are a tremendous number of performances available on the pianosociety website, by the way, from a very diverse range of composers and performers- it's well worth exploring.

  • richard   Nov. 21, 2011, 10:56 a.m.

    Hi- I was just looking through resources on MERLOT on another topic, and stopped to check to see if they had any good module on classical music. Two of their featured sites are amazingly well-produced explorations into a couple of significant composers and their works, and well worth checking out:

    This is an interactive digital presentation of Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232) - one of Bach's last works. You can follow the mass on a digital version of Bach's original score, with "cuepoints" at which discussions with music scholars and conductors elucidate significant parts of the score in short videos.

    Fast forward to the 20th Century and check out

    In which the Emerson String Quartet perform and discuss Bartok's 6 string quartets, which were composed in the first half of the 20th Century.

  • Philipp   Nov. 19, 2011, 4:12 p.m.

    I have been reading Alex Ross' pieces in the NewYorker - he is the music critic and wrote the acclaimed The Rest is Noise which covers "modern" classical music of the 20th century - and think there are some useful take aways for our group.

    While we are mainly interested in older music for this course, I recommend checking out some of his work because it is so engagingly written and manages to convey both his deep love for music, and help the reader become a better listener.  

    His blog ->

    His New Yorker pieces (some with audio) ->

    The book "The Art is Noise" ->

    Wonderful audio guide to the book ->

    Review in the Guardian ->

    "Print is silent, which is why the task of writing about music is so difficult. I should therefore probably explain that the noise you now ought to be hearing is the sound of my hands as they stop typing and start applauding this vital, engaging, happily polyphonic book."

    A video of him speaking about his work ->

  • crip_wiz   Nov. 18, 2011, 6:52 p.m.


    Classical music: a beginner's guide


    "And you'll also hear how we kicked off Lamacq's odyssey into classical, with Rossini's William Tell, Bach's Goldberg Variations, and John Adams's Short Ride in a Fast Machine.

    Here's the list I came up with for Lamacq to listen to over the rest of his Classical Week: a three-a-day diet of a core classic or two and a 20th-century masterpiece. Most of these you'll be able to hear over the course of the Proms, but the challenge was to come up with a compilation that would be enticing but challenging enough to convert a hardcore indie fan to the ways of Ligeti and Stockhausen, Verdi and Mahler, Elgar and Schubert.

    Day two Schubert: String Quintet in C, Adagio, Smetana: Vltava from Ma Vlast, Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians.

    Day three – Verdi: Dies Irae from the Requiem, Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite, Stockhausen: Gesang der Jünglinge.

    Day four – Ravel: Bolero, Mahler: Symphony No 2, 'Resurrection', Ligeti: Requiem.

    Day five – Elgar: Enigma Variations, Beethoven: Ninth Symphony, Krzysztof Penderecki: Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima."

  • Justine Lavoie   Nov. 19, 2011, 8:57 a.m.
    In Reply To:   crip_wiz   Nov. 18, 2011, 6:52 p.m.

    Great resource. Glad to see Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (the piece that actually got me interested in classical music, and which I also recommended for Week One's Group Listen). The comments on that article are entertaining and interesting, too. Mostly it's people complaining about not seeing Bach or Mozart on the list, but some of them have some good suggestions for other things to listen to.

  • Philipp   Nov. 19, 2011, 9:05 a.m.
    In Reply To:   crip_wiz   Nov. 18, 2011, 6:52 p.m.

    This is great - and also great that you can find all of this music on youtube. Are you watching/listening to this on your computer?

    I wish youtube offered a download audio only feature. I'd prefer to listen to these while walking/driving and not in front of the computer. 

  • Justine Lavoie   Nov. 19, 2011, 10:02 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Philipp   Nov. 19, 2011, 9:05 a.m.

    One thing to note about classical music on youtube - make sure you're listening to the entire piece! Beethoven's Ninth symphony, for example, is four movements (about an hour long) - and since youtube usually cuts to 8-minute clips, the listening experience isn't going to be as seamless.

    It might be good to try to find full-length versions of longer pieces. Searching google brought me to two different open source recordings of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony from the Internet Archive: <-- I think this recording is much better

    Other good general resources are the Wikipedia:Sound/list and

    For contemporary pieces that are outside the public domain, our options are limited even further. I'll explore all of this more when I post my submission. Hope this helps!

  • crip_wiz   Nov. 19, 2011, 11:37 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Justine Lavoie   Nov. 19, 2011, 10:02 a.m.

    I tried to listen to the Mahler piece, but it was removed for copyright. I searched youtube for it and found it being performed by the UC berkley orchestra, in its entirity  (nearly 90 min youtube video). They have a bunch of performances in full on their channel, but they aren't as good as say, london philharmonic etc.


    Spotify has a really great classical selection too.