The Avid Listener

Dedicated to the idea that music criticism can be both literate and fun to read, The Avid Listener features weekly essays about popular, world, and Western art music written by rising scholars from all over the United States. This ever-updating accompaniment to Norton's renowned music list gives readers the skills to analyze and discuss some of their favorite tunes while learning about practicing musicians, the industry, and new trends. With The Avid Listener, readers will discover how to listen broadly and deeply, to approach music with a curious spirit and a sense of adventure. And with discussion questions appended to each essay, readers can test their own critical skills by engaging in thoughtful debate with listeners all over the world.

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About the Authors

Andrew Dell'Antonio is editor of The Avid Listener and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas, Austin. His research interests include musical historiography, feminist/queer theory, and cultural studies, and he has recently written about contemporary popular music and the fashioning of a postmodern critical stance. He is co-author of The Enjoyment of Music (W. W. Norton).

Julie Kocsis is managing editor of The Avid Listener and assistant editor for music at W. W. Norton. She studied communications at Hope College and continues to be a self-taught popular music aficionado who can typically be found reading rock and roll memoirs, attending live concerts, writing about music for a variety of publications, and, most likely, proselytizing about the genius of Bruce Springsteen to anyone who will listen.


Jillian Burr

Director of Digital Design and Development

Jack Lamb

Project Manager

Ken Breese

Marketing Manager

Trevor Penland

Special thanks to Michael Fauver, Felicia M. Miyakawa, Andrew Flory, Chris Freitag, Susan Gaustad, Sarah Gerk, Xian Gu, Sara Haefeli, Steve Hoge, Michael Jaoui, David Metzer, Maribeth Payne, Andrew Ralston, Julia Reidhead, Natasha Zabohonski, and Laurel Zeiss for their invaluable support and advice.

Dedicated to the idea that music criticism can be literate and fun to read, The Avid Listener fosters weekly discussions between scholars and novices alike.

Listen. Write. Discuss. Repeat.

Norton Music

A History of Western Music

J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout, and Claude V. Palisca

The Enjoyment of Music

Kristine Forney, Andrew Dell’Antonio, and Joseph Machlis