Why does the brain create music? In Beethoven's Anvil, cognitive scientist and jazz musician William Benzon finds the key to music's function in the very complexity of musical experience. Music demands that our symbol-processing capacities, motor skills, and emotional and communicative skills all work in close coordination--not only within our own heads but also with the heads (and bodies) of others. Music is at once deeply personal and highly social, highly disciplined yet open to emotional nuance and interpretation. It's precisely this coordination of different mental functions, Benzon argues, that underlies our deep need to create and participate in music. At once daring and scholarly, this remarkable book offers a sweeping vision of a vital, underappreciated force in our minds and our culture.
William L. Benzon, Ph.D., a cognitive scientist, is Senior Scientist with Metalogics Incorporated and an associate editor of The Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems. He is also co-founder of the musical ensemble AfroEurasian Connection. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.