Benzon, a horn player, is intensely interested in how music brings people together and gives us a fascinating, at times profound, and speculative book on it. Believing that speculation is necessary for intellectual and scientific progress, he writes for the future while proposing concepts to be tested in the present. He doesn't claim his ideas are true, only that they should be considered and tested. The book begins with stories of musical experience and proceeds to show how music can bring groups, not just pairs, together by means of their coordinated neurological systems; how music affects different sections of the brain; and how music has played a part in developing cultures throughout history. Although largely oriented to Africa and Europe, the book provides examples from the rest of the world, too; and Benzon often draws on personal experience to demonstrate how emotion and physiology combine in the music-making act. At times the text is heavy going, but Benzon's wide-ranging mind and striking analogies hold one's attention. William Beatty
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"A provocative and persuasive treatise." -- Howard Gardner
"Beethoven's Anvil is learned, proficient...a profoundly provocative and creative synthesis. Reading it was a great experience for me." -- William H. McNeill, author of Plagues and Peoples and Keeping Together in Time
"Path-breaking...Sure to deepen our understanding of music and of ourselves." -- Charles Keil, author of Urban Blues