The best classical music books 📚

Browse the best books on classical music as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Allegro: A Musical Journey Through 11 Musical Masterpieces

Allegro: A Musical Journey Through 11 Musical Masterpieces

By David W. Miles, Anita Barghigiani

Why this book?

I remember what it was like to be a music student. Like the boy in this book, I sometimes wanted to crumple up my music into a tiny ball and throw it to the floor. Can you relate?

In Allegro, the author quickly gets to the heart of why we practice our instruments. Gorgeous illustrations remind us ̶ the dots on a musical page are merely a tool to transport us to magical places.

A side push-button panel gives us refreshing snippets of 11 classical musical masterpieces. The music is pleasantly in tune, unlike other books with sound buttons…

From the list:

The best children’s books about classical music

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Listen to the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music

Listen to the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music

By Ana Gerhard, Cecilia Varela

Why this book?

Listen to the Birds is part of the series An Introduction to Classical Music. Author Ana Gerhard chooses a different theme for each book and then puts together a collection of songs by various composers which is related to that theme. What a great idea! The included CD only gives you excerpts from the pieces, but that is probably because it is meant as an “intro” to classical music for a younger audience with a shorter attention span. I would recommend despite this downside, since further listening can always be done separately from the book if the readers are interested…

From the list:

The best children’s books on classical music

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Canone Inverso

Canone Inverso

By Paolo Maurensig

Why this book?

Intense and intricate with complex human interactions subjected to the forces of history and destiny, Canone Inverso is both literary fiction and mystery. This gripping tale of evolving relationships centers around the field of classical music and a particular violin. With the setting in Germany, Austria, and Hungary during the turbulent 1930s and ’40s, a brilliant, working-class young violinist is secluded in a prison-like music conservatory with an aristocratic boy who befriends him. Gradually, their bond is severely tested. What is genius? What is friendship? What is the price paid for beauty and greatness? These are some of the issues…
From the list:

The best mysteries in the world of classical music

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of A Child's Introduction to the Orchestra: Listen to 37 Selections While You Learn about the Instruments, the Music, and the Composers Who Wrote the Music

A Child's Introduction to the Orchestra: Listen to 37 Selections While You Learn about the Instruments, the Music, and the Composers Who Wrote the Music

By Robert Levine, Meredith Hamilton

Why this book?

This charming, interactive book is a great introduction to the orchestra. Never dry or boring, the text and illustrations are playful and inviting. I love how an enthusiastic narrator named Orchestra Bob guides the reader through the magical world of a symphony orchestra to answer these questions:

What instruments make up a symphony orchestra? Who composed these masterpieces? What were these composers like as children? (There are some quirky stories here!) What does their music sound like?

Included are downloadable musical examples of concepts presented in the book. There’s also a removable poster included, which details the instruments of the…

From the list:

The best children’s books about classical music

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Themes and Conclusions

Themes and Conclusions

By Igor Stravinsky

Why this book?

Igor Stravinsky was one of the most influential and innovative music composers of the 20th century. He was also remarkably intelligent, humorous, and insightful. This book is a collection of interviews, letters, and notes made by and about Stravinsky. Some of these writings would interest only classical music enthusiasts, but much of the book comprises witty observations of human nature, art, and what it really means to praise or critique someone.

From the list:

The best books for people who can’t read five books on the same topic

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Asturias: 55 Classical Masterpieces from 5 Centuries Guitar

Asturias: 55 Classical Masterpieces from 5 Centuries Guitar

By Martin Hegel

Why this book?

Classical music is often seen as being unapproachable, demanding, and difficult, the domain of geniuses and prodigies not for ordinary mortals. This delightful book makes available some of the greatest guitar music ever written in a form that is accessible yet recognisable. It enables the intermediate-level guitarist to advance their abilities while playing pieces that will transfix any audience, impress friends and family and render great satisfaction to the performer. 

From the list:

The best books to help you be great at guitar

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 21 books about classical music

New book lists about classical music

All book lists about classical music

Bookshelves related to classical music

Browse books by…