The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It [NOOK Book]

Overview


From Bach fugues to Indonesian gamelan, from nursery rhymes to rock, music has cast its light into every corner of human culture. But why music excites such deep passions, and how we make sense of musical sound at all, are questions that have until recently remained unanswered. Now in The Music Instinct, award-winning writer Philip Ball provides the first comprehensive, accessible survey of what is known--and still unknown--about how music works its magic, and why, as much as eating and sleeping, it seems ...
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The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It

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Overview


From Bach fugues to Indonesian gamelan, from nursery rhymes to rock, music has cast its light into every corner of human culture. But why music excites such deep passions, and how we make sense of musical sound at all, are questions that have until recently remained unanswered. Now in The Music Instinct, award-winning writer Philip Ball provides the first comprehensive, accessible survey of what is known--and still unknown--about how music works its magic, and why, as much as eating and sleeping, it seems indispensable to humanity. Deftly weaving together the latest findings in brain science with history, mathematics, and philosophy, The Music Instinct not only deepens our appreciation of the music we love, but shows that we would not be ourselves without it. The Sunday Times hailed it as "a wonderful account of why music matters," with Ball's "passion for music evident on every page."
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Polymath Ball (Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another) adds to his wide-ranging list of titles with this fascinating, densely packed discourse on ways music interacts with the human brain. Using examples from the Renaissance up to the present day, he explores elements of musical structure such as melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre with an ear to how the listener perceives the music. The writing flows well, considering the challenge of combining research by leading experimental psychologists with exponents of music's theoretical underpinnings. Ball's notion of music as a "gymnasium for the mind" exemplifies the mental activity needed to understand this art form, while its emotional appeal can be a "direct route to the core of our shared humanity." Illustrations, written musical examples, and a website for listening to them are particularly helpful. The extensive bibliography includes both classic treatises and recent articles. VERDICT Likely to appeal to readers with a thorough grounding in the basics of music, Ball does not eschew controversy with his strong opinions.—Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199780075
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/4/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 909,623
  • File size: 22 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Philip Ball is a freelance writer and the author of numerous books, including Universe of Stone: A Biography of Chartres Cathedral and Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads To Another, which won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Author's Note

1 Prelude: The Harmonious Universe An Introduction 1

2 Overture: Why We Sing What is music and where does it come from? 9

3 Staccato: The Atoms of Music What are musical notes and how do we decide which to use? 32

4 Andante: What's In a Tune? Do melodies follow rules, and if so, which? 91

5 Legato: Keeping It Together How do we decode the sound? 137

6 Tutti: All Together Now How do we use more than one note at a time? 163

7 Con Moto: Slave to the Rhythm What gives music its pulse? 207

8 Pizzicato: The Colour of Music Why do instruments sound different, and how does that affect the music? 228

9 Misterioso: All In the Mind Which bits of the brain do we use for music? 240

10 Appassionato: Light My Fire How does music convey and elicit emotion? 254

11 Capriccioso: Going In and Out of Style What are musical styles? Is music about notes, or patterns, or textures? 322

12 Parlando: Why Music Talks to Us Is music a language? Or is it closer to the non-verbal arts? 355

13 Serioso: The Meaning of Music What are composers and musicians trying to say? Can music in itself say anything at all? 381

Coda: The Condition of Music 409

Credits 413

Notes 415

Bibliography 425

Index 443

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