Musical composition has come a long and devious route since the time when Fe made Debusy appear an en terrible to er and a public whose ears were not ready for such noises. It is hard to tell whether David Ewen is in sympathy with modern music or not: he positive statements 'round with conditions and his equivo are subtle. Is his description of Wozzeck as ""an endurable monument of twentieth century "" a slip of the pen? How important is it that his opening introduction is title ""But is it Music?"" or that, when quoting press critics on particular concepts, his choice of quotations follows a pattern of skepticism? Whether or not Ewen himself is enthusiastic about what one modern composer called ""organized sound"", he into the history of the staff with a fair thoroughness, highlighting the achievements of impressionists, Expressionists, post- and neo-Expressionists, modern , and the rest, dividing them by style and nationality. In addition to more famous composers like travinsky, he includes lesser-known figures like Falla, Jana, and Walton. Americans are not neglected: Cage, William Schuman, Slegmeister and others are there, as well as Gershwin and Bernstein. There is a full chapter on the Hebrale tradition, and another on electronic and novelty Instruments and techniques. With nearly a score of books to his credit, he hand his material efficiently enough. To know modern music is not necessarily to like it, but either way Ewen's book has its uses.