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

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Penguin, Aug 3, 2006 - Science - 336 pages
1086 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 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.

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

User Review  - Goodreads

I like this book because I really like music. I also choose this book because it really makes me feel good about music, and some day I hope to write music and be a music writer. Read full review

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

User Review  - Mister Mank - Goodreads

This could have been a great book, and while there were quite a few passages that I found fascinating, it ultimately left me unsatisfied. The first third of the book is essentially an overview 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 professional musician. He has published extensively in scientific journals and music trade magazines such as Grammy and Billboard.

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