The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature

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Penguin, Aug 19, 2008 - Music - 368 pages
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The author of the New York Times bestseller This Is Your Brain on Music reveals music's role in the evolution of human culture-and "will leave you awestruck" (The New York Times)

Daniel J. Levitin's astounding debut bestseller, This Is Your Brain on Music, enthralled and delighted readers as it transformed our understanding of how music gets in our heads and stays there. Now in his second New York Times bestseller, his genius for combining science and art reveals how music shaped humanity across cultures and throughout history.

Dr. Levitin identifies six fundamental song functions or types-friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge, and love-then shows how each in its own way has enabled the social bonding necessary for human culture and society to evolve. He shows, in effect, how these "six songs" work in our brains to preserve the emotional history of our lives and species.

Dr. Levitin combines cutting-edge scientific research from his music cognition lab at McGill University and work in an array of related fields; his own sometimes hilarious experiences in the music business; and illuminating interviews with musicians such as Sting and David Byrne, as well as conductors, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists. The World in Six Songs is, ultimately, a revolution in our understanding of how human nature evolved-right up to the iPod.

Read Daniel Levitin's posts on the Penguin Blog.

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Juan sebastian

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Having loved This Is Your Brain on Music, I was excited about The World in Six Songs. Sadly, it was pretty meh. The book was light on science and heavy on speculation with lots of referencing of specific songs just relying your familiarity with them to get the point across. There were too many spans of personal anecdote, interjections of artists' general opinions, and quotations of lyrics without much analysis. The arranging into six songs itself is strained and questionable, doing things like lumping heavy metal and such under Friendship songs on the argument that they help define subcultures. I'm now reading, "Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation," which is much more what I'd hoped Six Songs would be.  


Taking It from the
Why we listen to sad music when were sad Lullabyes and the blues And
Music as an informationbearing medium Learning memory and oral

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About the author (2008)

Daniel J. Levitin runs the Levitin Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill University, where he holds the Bell Chair in the Psychology of Electronic Communications. Before becoming a neuroscientist, he was a record producer with gold records to his credit and professional musician. He has published extensively in scientific journals and music trade magazines such as Grammy and Billboard.

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