This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

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In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores the connection between music—its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it—and the human brain.

Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, he reveals:

• How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world
• Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre
• That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise
• How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head

A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Aug 3, 2006
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781101218914
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / Philosophy & Social Aspects
Psychology / Neuropsychology
Science / Acoustics & Sound
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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 The fifth edition of Psychological Foundations of Musical Behavior appears at a time of continuing worldwide anxiety and turmoil. We have learned a lot about human musical behavior, and we have some understanding of how music can meet diverse human needs. In this exceptional new edition, the authors have elected to continue a “one volume” coverage of a broad array of topics, guided by three criteria: The text is comprehensive in its coverage of diverse areas comprising music psychology; it is comprehensible to the reader; and it is contemporary in its inclusion of information gathered in recent years. Chapter organization recognizes the traditional and more contemporary domains, with special emphases on psychoacoustics, musical preference, learning, and the psychological foundations of rhythm, melody, and harmony. Following the introductory preview chapter, the text examines diverse views of why people have music and considers music’s functions for individuals, its social values, and its importance as a cultural phenomenon. “Functional music” and music as a therapeutic tool is discussed, including descriptions and relationships involving psychoacoustical phenomena, giving considerable attention to perception, judgment, measurement, and physical and psychophysical events. Rhythmic behaviors and what is involved in producing and responding to rhythms are explored. The organization of horizontal and vertical pitch, tonality, scales, and value judgments, as well as related pedagogical issues are also considered. The basic aspects of musical performance, improvisation, composition, existing musical preferences and tastes, approaches to studying the affective response to music with particular emphasis on developments in psychological aesthetics are examined. The text closely relates the development and prediction of musical ability, music learning as a form of human learning, and music abnormalities, concluding with speculation regarding future research directions. The authors offer their latest review of aspects of human musical behavior with profound recognition of music’s enduring values.
In Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance (2nd edition), the authors consider music on a broad scale, from its beginning as an acoustical signal to its different manifestations across cultures. In their second edition, the authors apply the same richness of depth and scope that was a hallmark of the first edition of this text. In addition, having laid out the topography of the field in the original book, the second edition puts greater emphasis on linking academic learning to real-world contexts, and on including compelling topics that appeal to students’ natural curiosity. Chapters have been updated with approximately 500 new citations to reflect advances in the field.

The organization of the book remains the same as the first edition, while chapters have been updated and often expanded with new topics. 'Part I: Foundations' explores the acoustics of sound, the auditory system, and responses to music in the brain. 'Part II: The Perception and Cognition of Music' focuses on how we process pitch, melody, meter, rhythm, and musical structure. 'Part III: Development, Learning, and Performance' describes how musical capacities and skills unfold, beginning before birth and extending to the advanced and expert musician. And finally, 'Part IV: The Meaning and Significance of Music' explores social, emotional, philosophical and cultural dimensions of music and meaning.

This book will be invaluable to undergraduates and postgraduate students in psychology and music, and will appeal to anyone who is interested in the vital and expanding field of psychology of music.

A state-of-the-art overview of the latest theory and research in music psychology, written by leaders in the field.

This authoritative, landmark volume offers a comprehensive state-of-the-art overview of the latest theory and research in music perception and cognition. Eminent scholars from a range of disciplines, employing a variety of methodologies, describe important findings from core areas of the field, including music cognition, the neuroscience of music, musical performance, and music therapy. The book can be used as a textbook for courses in music cognition, auditory perception, science of music, psychology of music, philosophy of music, and music therapy, and as a reference for researchers, teachers, and musicians.

The book's sections cover music perception; music cognition; music, neurobiology, and evolution; musical training, ability, and performance; and musical experience in everyday life. Chapters treat such topics as pitch, rhythm, and timbre; musical expectancy, musicality, musical disorders, and absolute pitch; brain processes involved in music perception, cross-species studies of music cognition, and music across cultures; improvisation, the assessment of musical ability, and singing; and music and emotions, musical preferences, and music therapy.

Contributors
Fleur Bouwer, Peter Cariani, Laura K. Cirelli, Annabel J. Cohen, Lola L. Cuddy, Shannon de L'Etoile, Jessica A. Grahn, David M. Greenberg, Bruno Gingras, Henkjan Honing, Lorna S. Jakobson, Ji Chul Kim, Stefan Koelsch, Edward W. Large, Miriam Lense, Daniel Levitin, Charles J. Limb, Psyche Loui, Stephen McAdams, Lucy M. McGarry, Malinda J. McPherson, Andrew J. Oxenham, Caroline Palmer, Aniruddh Patel, Eve-Marie Quintin, Peter Jason Rentfrow, Edward Roth, Frank A. Russo, Rebecca Scheurich, Kai Siedenburg, Avital Sternin, Yanan Sun, William F. Thompson, Renee Timmers, Mark Jude Tramo, Sandra E. Trehub, Michael W. Weiss, Marcel Zentner

The scandal over modern music has not died down. While paintings by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, shocking musical works from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring onward still send ripples of unease through audiences. At the same time, the influence of modern music can be felt everywhere. Avant-garde sounds populate the soundtracks of Hollywood thrillers. Minimalist music has had a huge effect on rock, pop, and dance music from the Velvet Underground onward. Alex Ross, the brilliant music critic for The New Yorker, shines a bright light on this secret world, and shows how it has pervaded every corner of twentieth century life.

The Rest Is Noise takes the reader inside the labyrinth of modern sound. It tells of maverick personalities who have resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators. Whether they have charmed audiences with the purest beauty or battered them with the purest noise, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art.

Ross, in this sweeping and dramatic narrative, takes us from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties, from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies. We follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics, of dramatic new technologies, of hot and cold wars, of experiments, revolutions, riots, and friendships forged and broken. In the tradition of Simon Schama's The Embarrassment of Riches and Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club, the end result is not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.

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