What can music teach us about the brain? What can the brain teach us about music? And what can both teach us about ourselves?
In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin (The World in Six Songs and The Organized Mind) explores the connection between music—its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it—and the human brain. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, Levitin reveals:
• How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world
• Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre
• That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise
• How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head
Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Excellent book! (but a little academic)
(No! itunes did it to me again! This is ABRIDGED!! I didn't notice until I'd bought it.)
Anyway, on with the review.
Two things about this book:
1) Daniel J. Levitin's easy, natural prose and Edward Herrman's excellent narration make this book eminently listenable. but it may be a little dense for some. I have some music theory and neurobiology under my belt, so it was easy for me. It may be enjoyable without that background, but it is not the easily consumable, pop-brain-science book some may hoping for. It is, however, very interesting, thorough and compelling.
2) There are brief musical examples interspersed throughout. These are meant to be helpful. I find it odd that a renowned music producer (the author) would allow these particular examples to be used (he must have had no control over it). They are simply atrocious. I don't know who's doing the singing/ guitar/ drum playing- maybe some intern? but they should have gotten a real musician to do it. God knows, Daniel J Levitin knows enough good ones...
Even so (and even though it is abridged) this is well worth the money.
I was very pleased that I got this audiobook. I have listened to it 3 times. He talks about everything regarding music with all genres included. The science is easy to understand and also in depth without it losing interest. I have been playing guitar for almost 2 years now and this book has helped to better understand the science as music as well as some of the theory. I recommend this book to anybody who plays an instrument or just likes to listen to music. I also recommend it to anyone interested in psychology because there is some fascinating insight into the inner workings of the mind. A GREAT READ!
Buy this book, it's a real eye-opener. Whether you're a casual listener, a garage band person or the next multiplatunum artist, this is a must read/hear. If you've ever questioned the significance of music. read this and put your doubts to rest.