10 Essential Books

1. The End of Early Music

Bruce Haynes, The End of Early Music, Oxford University Press, 2007
On how the 20th century lost expressive playing

2. A Performer's Guide to Baroque Music

Robert Donington, A Performer's Guide to Baroque Music, Scribner's, 1973
An excellent introduction to early performance practice

3. The Language of Music

Deryck Cooke, The Language of Music, Oxford University Press, 1959
The very best study on how melody communicates feeling

4. La Téléphone and the Universal Musical Language

David Whitwell, La Téléphone and the Universal Musical Language, Whitwell Publishing,
On efforts to have music replace the world's languages

5. Music in the Medieval World

Albert Seay, Music in the Medieval World, Prentice-Hall, 1965
The best introduction to medieval music

6. A World Lit only by Fire

William Manchester, A World Lit only by Fire, Little, Brown and Company, 1992
The best introduction to Renaissance music

7. Aristotle's Children

Richard E. Rubenstein, Aristotle's Children, Harcourt, 2003
The story of the rediscovery of the ancient Greek treatises

8. James the Brother of Jesus

Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus, Viking, 1996
A great scholarly study of the first centuries of Christianity

9. Zealot

Reza Aslan, Zealot, Random House, 2013
The best modern scholarly study of who Jesus was

10. From Dawn to Decadence

Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence, HarpersCollins, 2000
A great humanistic history from 1500 to the present