Music Department Promotions

Welcome to the witty and informative world
of musical humorist David W. Barber!


Canadian School Book Exchange and Indent Publishing are pleased to introduce you to the witty, often hilarious yet always informative work of internationally bestseller author David W. Barber who has delighted readers around the world with Accidentals on Purpose, When the Fat Lady Sings and other books of musical humor, accompanied by witty and clever cartoon illustrations by Dave Donald.

His bestselling Bach, Beethoven and the Boys, now marking its 30th anniversary, chronicles the lives of the great (and not-so-great) composers as you’ve never read them before — exploring their personal lives, exposing their foibles and expanding on our understanding of these all-too-human creatures. Filled with information, interesting facts and trivia, this hilarious history covers music from Gregorian chant to the mess we’re in now.

Accidentals on Purpose provides a light-hearted list of musical definitions that you won’t find in an ordinary musical dictionary. In When the Fat Lady Sings, Barber explores the on-stage and behind-the-scenes triumphs and scandals in the world of opera. In Getting a Handel on Messiah, he uncovers fascinating and often amusing facts about Handel’s beloved oratorio. And in If It Ain’t Baroque, the author explores the major forms of music, so readers can learn to tell their motets from their madrigals, their concertos from their symphonies.

Music Educators across North America and around the world use David’s books to give their students an easy introduction to music history without the stuffiness.

  Bach, Beethoven and the Boys [Order Now]  
  Accidentals on Purpose [Order Now]  
  When the Fat Lady Sings [Order Now]  
  Getting a Handel on Messiah [Order Now]  
  If It Ain’t Baroque [Order Now]  


Here’s what some notable people have said:

“My heartiest commendation for an admirable work of scholarship...I will not say again that it is funny, since this will compel you to set your jaw and dare Barber to make you laugh.”

– Author Anthony Burgess, on Bach, Beethoven and the Boys

 “This amusing and witty...delightful book.”

– Violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin, on Accidentals on Purpose

“If I had gone to music school, this is how I would want to learn about all those composers.”

– Renowned contralto Maureen Forrester, on When the Fat Lady Sings

And here’s what some satisfied customers are saying:

“If you are a teacher, I recommend [Bach, Beethoven and the Boys] as it presents a different view of these mythical heroes. ... It is humorous as well as informative.”


“David W. Barber is an excellent writer and writes about music history in a way that makes it highly enjoyable.” 


“Bach, Beethoven, and the Boys was a great book. It was hysterical and insightful. While giving you all the facts, it let you know a little bit about composers’ private lives.”