Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination
Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy is a far-reaching study of how music captivates us so completely and why we form such powerful connections to it. Leading us to an understanding of the pleasures of sound, Robert Jourdain draws on a variety of fields including science, psychology, and philosophy. He uses music from around the world to show how melodies work, how rhythm differs from beat, and why some sounds are beautiful and others ugly. Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy looks at the evolution of music and introduces surprising new concepts of memory and perception, knowledge and attention, motion and emotion, all at work as music takes hold of us. Along the way, a fascinating cast of characters brings Jourdain's narrative to vivid life: "idiots savants" who absorb whole pieces on a single hearing, composers who hallucinate entire compositions, a psychic who claimed to take dictation from long-dead composers, and victims of brain damage who can move only when they hear music. In each of these, Jourdain assures us, we will see parts of ourselves. Using such examples, he helps explain the parallels between music and language, and asks how the brain reacts to each.
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For want of a standard term, call it phrasing. The two conceptions of rhythm are
sometimes referred to as vocal (for phrasing) and instrumental (for meter).
Phrasing is "vocal" because it naturally arises from song, and thus from speech.
Meter is ...
Phrasing is nothing like meter. For one thing, its markers are more subtle. Where
meter presents a regular, mostly predictable succession of emphasized notes,
phrasing constandy varies. It is most easily observed in music that accompanies
In music, it is phrasing that reaches farthest across time to encompass the
deepest relations. Thus ingenious phrasing and form, rather than metrical
complexity, are extolled as the apogee of musical composition. Nonetheless,
music that ...
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - ajlewis2 - LibraryThing
I read the first 3 chapters, but got lost in the depths of information about music. I then read the last chapter. The book explains in great detail how very complex our ability to appreciate music ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - viking2917 - LibraryThing
Interesting read on the pyscho-acoustics of how the brain hears and reacts to music. Interesting theories, but many of them are ultimately unconvincing to me. Interestingly mentions a study that ... Read full review