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Music, Language, and the Brain [Paperback]

Aniruddh D. Patel
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1, 2010 0199755302 978-0199755301 1
In the first comprehensive study of the relationship between music and language from the standpoint of cognitive neuroscience, Aniruddh D. Patel challenges the widespread belief that music and language are processed independently. Since Plato's time, the relationship between music and language has attracted interest and debate from a wide range of thinkers. Recently, scientific research on this topic has been growing rapidly, as scholars from diverse disciplines, including linguistics, cognitive science, music cognition, and neuroscience are drawn to the music-language interface as one way to explore the extent to which different mental abilities are processed by separate brain mechanisms. Accordingly, the relevant data and theories have been spread across a range of disciplines. This volume provides the first synthesis, arguing that music and language share deep and critical connections, and that comparative research provides a powerful way to study the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying these uniquely human abilities.

Winner of the 2008 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award.

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Music, Language, and the Brain + This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession + Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Revised and Expanded Edition
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Editorial Reviews

Review


" A major synthesis that will be indispensable to neuroscientists, and a thought-provoking and illuminating exploration of the mental and neural foundations of music and language for anyone interested in the human brain."--Oliver Sacks


"This book is an intellectual tour de force, raising many more issues than recent popular works...Patel offers a thorough analysis of music cognition and its relation to language, and outlines an ambitious and innovative research programme that deepens our understanding of cognition in general...A work of exceptional scholarship and clarity."--Nature


"This book is a fabulous guide to what can sometimes be an inaccessible body of literature. Although popular books on this subject abound, Patel has provided an up-to-date and authoritative academic treatment...Music, Language, and the Brain is an impressive feat of scholarship and comes highly recommended."--Nature Neuroscience


"Patel's dissection of the multiple components of language and music cognition is elegant and deeply knowledgeable. His writing achieves a masterly balance. On the one hand he is bold and creative in uncovering and explaining important phenomena that link language and music. On the other hand he displays true scientific humility in refusing to speculate too far beyond the known facts. In a subject area prone to superficiality and overstatement, Patel is a sure and trustworthy guide for how to make real progress in understanding these complex but fascinating phenomena."--John Sloboda, Professor of Psychology, Keele University


"This book will be required reading for specialists, and interesting and informative reading for everyone. It manages to combine remarkable breadth of coverage with genuine depth of understanding, and it's clearly and elegantly written. The author has a clear point of view and wants to get it across to other researchers, but never lets that get in the way of the book's more fundamental goal of putting the latest research within the reach of the interested non-specialist reader."--D.R. Ladd, Professor of Linguistics, University of Edinburgh


"Reading Patel's Music, Language, and the Brain is a deeply rewarding experience. The question of whether parallels exist between music and language has until now been a question of wide interest and speculation. This landmark monograph provides a detailed and informed framework for examining this question scientifically. The presentation presumes no prior specialized knowledge and offers clear explanations of the technical ideas necessary inspiring agenda for future research, ranging from intriguing speculations to carefully-worked out experimental designs.Music, Language, and the Brain will shape and inform research on the relationship between music and language for decades to come."--Carol L. Krumhansl, Prof. of Psychology, Cornell University


"...a wide-ranging, well-researched and highly readable exploration...Patel's book is the most scholarly and comprehensive account of the topic yet published. It should be of special interest not only to music psychologists and phonologists but also to other linguists who want to expand their horizons."--Trends in Cognitive Sciences


"Written by a first-rate scientist, Music, Language and the Brain is the most comprehensive and clear treatment of the sometimes patchwork body of knowledge exploring music and language comparisons within music psychology and neuroscience. Patel's book makes an immediate and important contribution to the vast array of literature in this area by bringing it together in a single source. It is all the more impressive because of the author's ability to present this complex web of scholarship in a very logical and highly readable style...I am certain I will find myself returning to this resource many times."--Steven M. Demorest for Empirical Musicology Review


"The book is dense, but not heavy, clear but not simple, rich but not arrogant. It is the type of book that needs to be discussed with other people, to savor, sip by sip, like a 10-year old Bourgogne."--Music Perception


"What's great about this volume is that it provides an all-in-one compendium of a huge amount of information, nicely organized, with appropriate illustrations, and lavishly referenced throughout...Overall, this is a highly recommended read. It is stimulating and wide-ranging and contains material that readers of many backgrounds and levels will find interesting."--Neuron


"Aniruddh Patel's book, Music, Language and the Brain, manages to be both admirably readable and also scholarly. Whilst there are other books dealing rigorously with the perceptual and cognitive aspects of language and music as separate topics, few, if any, authors have successfully tackled the task of exploring the overlap between the cognitive and neural mechanisms of these two uniquely human domains. Patel takes on the challenge of providing not only accurate coverage of exisiting research in the fields of language and music, but also a much needed synthesis that throws new light on the links between the two....Patel's research ideas could keep a battalion of investigators busy for the next decade.... It sets a gold standard for authors aiming to write a wide-ranging, yet not over-technical book which is comprehensible and without having sacrificed intellectual integrity in the search for glib generalizations."--Brain


"A scientific tour de force.... Monumental in scope and in proportion, the value of this volume as an academic resource is immense. A vast amount of research is packed into its 513 pages and Patel demonstrates perspicacity and clarity of expression throughout... Music, Language, and the Brain makes a profound scientific contribution to the study of music and language...no other single source equips readers more thoroughly to explore the cognitive intersection between these two domains."--Psychology of Music


"...Music, Language and the Brain reaches far and ranges wide, its themes and arguments irreducible to the sum of prior formulations on the "music of language" and the "language of music." Seldom does one encounter so voluminous a repertory of empirical evidence so deftly marshaled by so communicative an intellect."--Notes


"....this book is an accessible and invaluable resource....In an age of lip service to interdisciplinarity, Patel rolls up his sleeves and starts building bridges, not just among the subdisciplines of cognitive science, but also between the science and humanities. I recommend this book enthusiastically as a guide to language and music in the brain and mind, and as a model of integrative thinking."--Reviewed by Daniel Casasanto, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, in Language and Cognition


The strength of Patel's book is its ability to provide in-depth studies of music and linguistic cognition in a manner that illustrates both their interconnectedness and their differences. Any student of music theory would benefit from Patel's explanations of mental processing of music and its theoretical foundations; any student of linguistic theory would benefit from his neurological analogies. As the study of music cognition continues to grow, the present work will become an increasingly important resource."--Music Theory Online


"Music, Language, and the Brain provides a fascinating synopsis of the current, young state of scientific research in cross-domain language--music comparative study. The book traverses with ease the disciplinary lines of linguistics, music and neuroscience. This impressive work of scholarship will serve as a reference on the topics for years to come."-Phonology


About the Author


Aniruddh D. Patel is past president of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Tufts University.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199755302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199755301
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
108 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Similarities and Differences, Language and Music August 29, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the best book so far on language, the brain, and music. It is highly technical, especially the first five chapters. Nonspecialists with a serious interest can get through the last two ("Meaning" and "Evolution") but the first five are hard going unless you are fairly advanced.
Patel reviews an enormous, and almost entirely very new, literature on similarities and differences at the micro level between language and music. Overall, music is clearly related to language in many ways, but equally clearly a separate realm--a different communicative modality.
He also points out that music and its meanings are learned. We are not born knowing that minor key is "sad"; that's a recent west-European idea, unknown to the rest of the universe. We have to learn about the pastorality of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, and so on. On the other hand, lullabyes sound like mothers shushing their babies, and I would add that laments in every culture sound like ordinary weeping. Still, most musical meanings appear to be culturally learned.
This is an excellent book, and I am duly impressed with all of it, but I do have some modest points to raise. First, I would find music and language somewhat closer than he does. He rules out of consideration a number of intermediate forms--chant, rhythmic speech (like African-American sermons), incantation, word-music poetry (like Russian romantic lyrics), children's play-games, and a great deal more. It seems that a huge percentage of human communication, including much of the most important religious material in every culture, is in that neglected border zone. Something very important is here and is being missed.
Second, he concludes language definitely evolved, but music is a rather recent invention--not an evolved part of communication.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Music & Language: Heavy Brain Work January 1, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought Dr. Patel's book because of my lifelong love of music, and interest in how we learn, remember, and communicate music. As a non-musician, but sometime writer, I also have the same deep interests in language.

This work is intended for the scholar, interested in learning about current research in acquisition of both language and music. In his introduction Dr. Patel clearly states that "...this book is written to be accessible to individuals with primary training in either music or language studies." This is an accurate description of the work. The book is densely annotated, an asset to scholars and researchers. The form of annotation, however, is a hindrance to fluid reading of the thesis of the work.

I had a particular interest in finding Dr. Patel's comments on
memory for language and music. Although there is a complete index
to this work, the word "memory" does not appear in it. Neither does
the topic of Memory appear in the book's well-outlined structure. The work is entirely about acquisition of language and music, and the neurological research which has identified those processes.

As a (retired) psychologist I found the book understandable, but do
not recommend it for lay persons to read, no matter how strong
their interest in music or language.

Merle Fischlowitz, Ph.D.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you have to pick one book on the subject... December 20, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this is the book! Extremely well written and VERY thorough. Patel's "Music, Language, and the Brain" represents presumably most (if not all) of the data that has been found thus far at the crossroads of music, language, and cognition. It does get technical from time to time but we're dealing with a technical topic and as a musician with only cursory knowledge of linguistics and cognition I still found the technical data well presented and very understandable. There are small points here and there that I might disagree with (based on my experience as a musician) however in every case it is made clear that these points are hypotheses of the author and further research needs to be done. This book isn't for everyone but for those interested in what connections can currently be made, what connections can NOT be made and possible future research in the field of music/language cognition, this volume is complete and enjoyable!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dense, fascinating and informative read October 7, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Music, Language and the Brain is a well-researched and comprehensively presented comparison of the ways in which humans process music and language in the brain. Patel presents his information in an entertaining and informative manner. The book consists of seven chapters, the first an introduction and the remaining six an examination of characteristics music and language share. These include pitch and timbre, rhythm, melody, syntax, meaning and evolution. These chapters are then further subdivided (and sub-subdivided); examples of some of these subdivisions include sections specifically about music or language, or sections comparing the two. As someone who has always enjoyed both language and music, I found the book an engrossing but difficult read.

This subdivision of chapters makes the massive amount of information Patel presents more digestible, as does his style. Dense but not weighted down in jargon, Patel does an admirable job of condensing his research into the simplest terms possible, making the complex cognitive systems used to process language and music possible for a laymen to understand. Breaking down language and music into multiple shared components allowed for more effective contrast and a more effective explanation of both music and language alone - the understanding afforded of the specific components led to a better understanding of how both systems functioned in their entireties. Within the chapters themselves, the subdivision of chapters into a description of music, language, and then "key links," which Patel describes as "areas in which direct comparisons are proving fruitful" provides an effect overview of the topic.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great research
I like the approach in this book to a topic that I am close to as a musician. It is clear that we are at the beginning of a new paradigm in understanding the relationships... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Pauline Oliveros
4.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy, But Difficult Read
A dense and difficult work. Being neither a musician nor a neurologist, the work was difficult at best. I was looking for something that would help students. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Carl O. Isaacson
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book for those Interested in Both Music and Language
One of the most fascinating topics in both cognitive psychology and neuroscience is the

way humans communicate with one another. Read more
Published 19 months ago by knarli
5.0 out of 5 stars Am I that smart?
I don't think so, but I admit I didn't find it as difficult as rumored. It IS very detailed. Basically, it's a comparison of the linguistic aspects of pitch, timbre and rythm... Read more
Published on June 22, 2012 by J. A. Haverstick
3.0 out of 5 stars So much disappointed and disappointing
This is an essential book on an essential subject. What is the managing device of both language and music in the brain. Read more
Published on April 27, 2012 by Jacques COULARDEAU
5.0 out of 5 stars A great reference book
I bought this book because I had seen it mentioned in a few other books I had read on the topic of music and the brain. Read more
Published on April 17, 2011 by Amy L. McLean
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