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

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Penguin, Aug 3, 2006 - Science - 336 pages
1176 Reviews
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 SongsThe Organized Mind, and Weaponized Lies ) 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.

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

User Review  - Sunny - Goodreads

I have to admit that this took me a while to read because it got a bit too technical for me in the middle but the beginning and the ending were very very good. The book is about, as it says on the tin ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Wanda - Goodreads

Oftentimes it would be better to see what the author describes rather than read it, particularly when one's own background in music is limited or training was a while back. Other than that the writing is amusing, packed with anecdotes and examples, which I'm always appreciative of. Read full review

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About the author (2006)

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 a professional musician. He has published extensively in scientific journals and music trade magazines such as Grammy and Billboard.

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