This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession


By (author) Daniel J Levitin

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  • Publisher: New American Library
  • Format: Paperback | 322 pages
  • Dimensions: 134mm x 200mm x 20mm | 299g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2007
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0452288525
  • ISBN 13: 9780452288522
  • Edition: 1
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 32,368

Product description

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 worldWhy we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. DreThat practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertiseHow those insidious little jingles (called "earworms") get stuck in our headTaking 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."

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Author information

Daniel J. Levitin is the James McGill Professor of Psychology and Music at McGill University, Montreal, where he also holds appointments in the Program in Behavioural Neuroscience, The School of Computer Science, and the Faculty of Education. He is the author of"This is Your Brain on Music"and"The World in Six Songs," whichwere"New York Times"bestsellers and have been translated into 16 languages, and the upcoming book "The Organized Mind."Before becoming a neuroscientist, he worked as a session musician, sound engineer, and record producer working with artists such as Stevie Wonder and Blue Oyster Cult. He has published extensively in scientific journals as well as music magazines such as "Grammy "and "Billboard." Recent musical performances include playing guitar and saxophone with Sting, Bobby McFerrin, Rosanne Cash, David Byrne, and Rodney Crowell."

Review quote

"Endlessly stimulating, a marvelous overview, and one which only a deeply musical neuroscientist could give. . . . An important book."-Oliver Sacks, M.D. "I loved reading that listening to music coordinates more disparate parts of the brain than almost anything else - and playing music uses even more! Despite illuminating a lot of what goes on, this book doesn't 'spoil' enjoyment - it only deepens the beautiful mystery that is music."-David Byrne, founder of Talking Heads and author of"How Music Works" "Levitin is a deft and patient explainer of the basics for the non-scientist as well as the non-musician. . . . By tracing music's deep ties to memory, Levitin helps quantify some of music's magic without breaking its spell."-"Los Angeles Times Book Review""

Table of contents

This Is Your Brain On MusicIntroduction I Love Music and I Love Science—Why Would I Want to Mix the Two? 1. What Is Music? From Pitch to Timbre 2. Foot Tapping Discerning Rhythm, Loudness, and Harmony 3. Behind the Curtain Music and the Mind Machine 4. Anticipation What We Expect from Liszt (and Ludacris) 5. You Know My Name, Look Up the Number How We Categorize Music 6. After Dessert, Crick Was Still Four Seats Away from Me Music, Emotion, and the Reptilian Brain 7. What Makes a Musician? Expertise Dissected 8. My Favorite Things Why Do We Like the Music We Like? 9. The Music Instinct Evolution's #1 Hit Appendices Bibliographic Notes Acknowledgments Index