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
-Oliver Sacks, M.D.
“I loved reading that listening to music coordinates more disparate parts of the brain than almost anything else – and playing music uses even more! Despite illuminating a lot of what goes on, this book doesn’t ‘spoil’ enjoyment – it only deepens the beautiful mystery that is music.”
-David Byrne, founder of Talking Heads and author of How Music Works
“Levitin is a deft and patient explainer of the basics for the non-scientist as well as the non-musician. . . . By tracing music’s deep ties to memory, Levitin helps quantify some of music’s magic without breaking its spell.”
-Los Angeles Times Book Review
I Love Music and I Love Science—Why Would I Want to Mix the Two?
1. What Is Music?
From Pitch to Timbre
2. Foot Tapping
Discerning Rhythm, Loudness, and Harmony
3. Behind the Curtain
Music and the Mind Machine
What We Expect from Liszt (and Ludacris)
5. You Know My Name, Look Up the Number
How We Categorize Music
6. After Dessert, Crick Was Still Four Seats Away from Me
Music, Emotion, and the Reptilian Brain
7. What Makes a Musician?
8. My Favorite Things
Why Do We Like the Music We Like?
9. The Music Instinct
Evolution’s #1 Hit