The Power of Music
Pioneering Discoveries in the New Science of Song
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
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The award-winning creator of the acclaimed documentary "The Music Instinct: Science & Song," explores the power of music and its connection to the body, the brain, and the world of nature. Only recently has science sought in earnest to understand and explain this impact. One remarkable recent study, analyzing the cries of newborns, shows that infants' cries contain common musical intervals, and children tease each other in specific, singsong ways no matter where in the world they live. Physics experiments show that sound waves can physically change the structure of a material; musician and world-famous conductor Daniel Barenboim believes musical sound vibrations physically penetrate our bodies, shifting molecules as they do. The Power of Music follows visionary researchers and accomplished musicians to the crossroads of science and culture, to discover: how much of our musicality is learned and how much is innate? Can examining the biological foundations of music help scientists unravel the intricate web of human cognition and brain function? Why is music virtually universal across cultures and time-does it provide some evolutionary advantage? Can music make people healthier? Might music contain organzing principles of harmonic vibration that underlie the cosmos itself?
Science all but confirms that humans are hard-wired to respond to music. Studies also suggest that someday music may even help patients heal from Parkinson's disease or a stroke. In The Power of Music, Elena Mannes explores how music could play a role in health care. More at NPR.org
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