- Paperback: 322 pages
- Publisher: Plume/Penguin; Reprint edition (August 28, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780452288522
- ISBN-13: 978-0452288522
- ASIN: 0452288525
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 407 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession Paperback – August 28, 2007
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“Endlessly stimulating, a marvelous overview, and one which only a deeply musical neuroscientist could give....An important book.”—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
“Why human beings make and enjoy music is, in Levitin's telling, a delicious story.”—Salon.com
“Dr. Levitin is an unusually deft interpreter full of striking scientific trivia.”—The New York Times
“Every musician, at whatever level of skill, should read this book.”—Howie Klein, former president, Sire and Reprise/Warner Brothers Records
“Levitin’s lucid explanation of why music is important to us is essential reading for creative musicians and scholars. I've been waiting for years for a book like this.”—Jon Appleton, composer and professor of Music, Dartmouth College and Stanford University, inventor of the Synclavier synthesizer
About the Author
Daniel J. Levitin, Ph.D., is the New York Times bestselling author of This Is Your Brain on Music, The World in Six Songs, The Organized Mind, and Weaponized Lies. His work has been translated into 21 languages. An award-winning scientist and teacher, he is Founding Dean of Arts & Humanities at the Minerva Schools at KGI, a Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, and the James McGill Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Music at McGill University, Montreal, where he also holds appointments in the Program in Behavioural Neuroscience, The School of Computer Science, and the Faculty of Education. Before becoming a neuroscientist, he worked as a session musician, sound engineer, and record producer working with artists such as Stevie Wonder and Blue Oyster Cult. He has published extensively in scientific journals as well as music magazines such as Grammy and Billboard. Recent musical performances include playing guitar and saxophone with Sting, Bobby McFerrin, Rosanne Cash, David Byrne, Cris Williamson, Victor Wooten, and Rodney Crowell.
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This a fantastic book, if for nothing more than it gets you interested in wanting to read more. The author, much like modern astrophysicists like C. Sagan and L. Krauss might describe space ("billions and billions..."), has quite a way with words. He embeds in the reader a sense of wonder, and of amazement, at the magic that happens when you listen to music. If you're an audiophile who does not have an over inflated view of yourself and has a generally open mind about music, then this book is for you. I am not educated in this field whatsoever, and I found the analogies, comparisons, and even the really "dense" material very enticing and interesting.
I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the statements and claims the author makes because I am not educated in this field. He could be completely wrong and pushing his own agenda (although it's a little hard to arrive at that conclusion unless you have some sort of raging superiority complex). But that kind of conversation, which fills many of the lower rated reviews, is missing the point.
The language, the examples, the ranges of simple description to complicated extrapolation, it is all nourishing. These are interesting things to think about. And for a layman like myself, the point is not to be right, but to be interested. After reading this book, I don't care if he's right (although I doubt his inaccuracies, if any, surmount to much). I just care that he made me think about music in a new and interesting way.
And for the average reader like myself, that is all you should want from a book like this.