What can music teach us about the brain? What can the brain teach us about music? And what can both teach us about ourselves?
In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin (The World in Six Songs and The Organized Mind) explores the connection between music—its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it—and the human brain. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, Levitin 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
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. 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.
Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, is a neuroscientist, cognitive psychologist, and bestselling author. He is Founding Dean of Arts & Humanities at the Minerva Schools at KGI in San Francisco, a Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and Professor Emeritus at McGill University. He is the author of This Is Your Brain on Music, The World in Six Songs, and The Organized Mind. He divides his time between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Edward Herrmann was an Emmy Award–winning and Tony Award–winning actor. His theater credits include The Philadelphia Story and Love Letters. His film and television credits include Intolerable Cruelty, The Aviator, Gilmore Girls, and The Practice. He passed away in December 2014.