This Is Your Brain on Music

NPLibrarianWho’s more qualified to write a book called This is Your Brain on Music than a neuroscientist/musician/recording engineer/producer who’s worked with the Grateful Dead, Blue Oyster Cult, and Stevie Wonder?

Probably no one.

Author Daniel J. Levitin, a professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University, has written a cogent and comprehensive look at how music effects the human brain and why we respond to it so deeply.

This Is Your Brain on Music

“This Is Your Brain on Music” is available from the library in hardcover.

The book includes extensive research done on the subject, much of which has come out of Levitin’s Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition and Expertise at McGill.

However, the book is not at all dry and is very accessible to those unfamiliar with scientific jargon or the structure of music. The author intersperses his big ideas with anecdotes and references to popular music.

He starts with a primer on music theory. Concepts like pitch and harmony are broken down for the layman in an easily understood way.

Levitin then dives in more deeply, exploring concepts like why music is an important and ubiquitous part of human culture, what drives musical preferences, and what exactly makes a person into a musician.

If this book sounds interesting, check it out here. You may also like Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks and How Music Works by David Byrne. In addition, the library owns Daniel Levitin’s more recent work, The World in Six Songs.

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1 comment to This Is Your Brain on Music

  • Angie

    I read this and found it fascinating. Even as a musician, I was worried it might make for some rather dry reading – but it did not. Highly recommended for musicians, those who enjoy listening to music, or those who are just looking for something a little different.