The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature

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Overview

Daniel Levitin's bestselling debut, This Is Your Brain on Music, was an engaging and lively introduction to the neural impulses behind music. Now Levitin explores how the evolution of our brains made music, art, science, and society possible. He uncovers six fundamental ways that songs communicate emotion and ideas - songs of friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge, and love - and so have built human nature.

Mixing cutting-edge neuroscience, his own sometimes hilarious ...

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New York 2008 Hard cover First Printing New in new dust jacket. New condition, no markings or tears, binding in tact, dust jacket new condition, index included Sewn binding. ... Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 354 p. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature

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Overview

Daniel Levitin's bestselling debut, This Is Your Brain on Music, was an engaging and lively introduction to the neural impulses behind music. Now Levitin explores how the evolution of our brains made music, art, science, and society possible. He uncovers six fundamental ways that songs communicate emotion and ideas - songs of friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge, and love - and so have built human nature.

Mixing cutting-edge neuroscience, his own sometimes hilarious experiences in the music business, and illuminating interviews with experts from Sting and David Byrne to conductors, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists, Levitin reveals the prehistoric, elegant systems at play when we sing and dance at weddings, cheer at a concert, or tune out privately with an iPod. These six songs will enlighten the musical brain behind your life.

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Editorial Reviews

Oliver Sacks
Endlessly stimulating, a marvelous overview, and one which only a deeply musical neuroscientist could give. (Oliver Sacks, M.D., author of Musicophilia)
Nancy Pearl
The book I've been waiting for all my life. (Nancy Pearl, public radio librarian and auth or of the Book Lust series)
David Byrne
I loved reading that music coordinates more disparate parts of the brain than almost anything else. . . . Deepens the beautiful mystery that is music. (David Byrne, founder of Talking Heads)
New York Times
Dr. Levitin is an unusually deft interpreter full of striking scientific trivia.
Library Journal

In this follow-up to his New York Times best-selling This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, Levitin argues that every song ever written can fall within six categories and that music "is a core element of our identity as a species, an activity that paved the way for more complex behaviors." While he includes a wide variety of song examples to support his argument, his explanations of evolutionary causations for music become repetitive. As for his narration, it is dry and, at times, embarrassing-as when he reads lighthearted song lyrics meant to be sung. Sloppy editing causes some tracks to start mid-word, and the discs lack sequential announcements. Surprisingly, the recording does not take advantage of the medium by including any significant music samplings. Further, the notes from the hardcover edition are omitted here. Of limited interest to public and perhaps high school libraries. [Audio clip available through us.penguingroup.com; the Dutton hc received a starred review, LJ Xpress 7/22/08.-Ed.]
—Johannah Genett

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525950738
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/19/2008
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel J. Levitin runs the Levitin Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill University, where he holds the Bell Chair in the Psychology of Electronic Communications. Before becoming a neuroscientist, he was a record producer with gold records to his credit and professional musician. He has published extensively in scientific journals and music trade magazines such as Grammy and Billboard.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Taking It from the Top or "The Hills Are Alive ..." 1

Chapter 2 Friendship or "War (What Is It Good For)?" 41

Chapter 3 Joy or "Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut" 83

Chapter 4 Comfort or "Before There Was Prozac, There Was You" 111

Chapter 5 Knowledge or "I Need to Know" 137

Chapter 6 Religion or "People Get Ready" 189

Chapter 7 Love or "Bring 'Em All In" 229

Appendix 291

Notes 295

Acknowledgments 335

Index 337

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 12, 2012

    "The World In Six Songs" picks up right where "Th

    "The World In Six Songs" picks up right where "This Is Your Brain On
    Music" leaves off. As Levitan gets closer to his hopeful hypothesis in
    the latter, he thinks he has found it and explains thoroughly in "Six
    Songs". He begins by establishing the known facts that support him,
    like the unmistakable emotional power of song. He ask the audience to
    notice this quality of music. This is the style of Levitan. He asks
    you to notice things you already know and spells out the connections.
    Using metaphors and personal experiences he brings you to the truth he
    wants you to discover. Tracing music through all of evolution is quite
    the ambitious goal but he puts forth that music was one of the first
    ways of communication between man. If this intrigues you, you should
    be reading the book by now. Levitan is a gleeful pushy guy about his
    theories, so those more attracted to hard objective science might be
    less inclined to listen to his tone. If you don;t might his excitement
    then pick up the book and learn why you sing to your baby or feel so
    happy at concerts.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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