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

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Penguin, Aug 19, 2008 - Music - 368 pages
91 Reviews
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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Review: The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature

User Review  - Goodreads

As the young people say these days, "All kinds of yes." This book is a smorgasbord of studies: anthropological, psychological, music- and ethnomusicological -- all rolled into one. I'm tempted to say ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Daničle - Goodreads

This is one of those books that turned out not to be about what I thought it would be about. I thought it would be about music. Which it was, in a way, but it was more about human evolution and where ... Read full review

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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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