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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
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
Posted March 12, 2012
"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.
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Posted January 19, 2013
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