The World in Six Songs
How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature
By Daniel J. Levitin
(Dutton Adult, Hardcover, 9780525950738, 368pp.)
Publication Date: August 19, 2008
List Price: $25.95*
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The author of the New York Times bestseller and Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist This Is Your Brain on Music tunes us in to six evolutionary musical forms that brought about the evolution of human culture.
An unprecedented blend of science and art, Daniel Levitin's debut, This Is Your Brain on Music, delighted readers with an exuberant guide to the neural impulses behind those songs that make our heart swell. Now he showcases his daring theory of "six songs," illuminating how the brain evolved to play and listen to music in six fundamental forms--for knowledge, friendship, religion, joy, comfort, and love. Preserving the emotional history of our lives and of our species, from its very beginning music was also allied to dance, as the structure of the brain confirms; developing this neurological observation, Levitin shows how music and dance enabled the social bonding and friendship necessary for human culture and society to evolve.
Blending cutting-edge scientific findings with his own sometimes hilarious experiences as a musician and music-industry professional, Levitin's sweeping study also incorporates wisdom gleaned from interviews with icons ranging from Sting and Paul Simon to Joni Mitchell, and David Byrne, along with classical musicians and conductors, historians, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists. The result is a brilliant revelation of the prehistoric yet elegant systems at play when we sing and dance at a wedding or cheer at a concert--or tune out quietly with an iPod.