This is Your Brain on Music Book Review

We all love music and what really gets us to us about a particular song is the beat attached to a certain song.

Well,enough about the music!

You want to find out what “this is your brain on music brain book is right”?And you want to find out what how it can help you isn’t it?

Well,my review on this book will come in handy for you as it will help you know all about it regarding ,what it really is, what it talks about ,cost and finally my thoughts about this book.

I will try all my best to give you every single detail about this particular brain book and if by any chance i don’t tackle one of the things you really wanted,you can as well ask in the comments area and i will be happy to help you out .Agreed?

With that said,lets now get started with this is your brain on music book review.

Name: This Is Your Brain on Music
Author: Daniel Levitin

Best Place to Buy:
Publisher: Plume/Penguin
Publication Date: August 28, 2007
Language: English
Pages: 322

What It Is
This is a book in which Daniel J. Levitin,the author, explores the connection between music its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it and the human brain.

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

Daniel Joseph Levitin , FRSC (born December 27, 1957) is an American-Canadian cognitive psychologist , neuroscientist , writer, musician, and record producer.

Born in San Francisco, the son of Lloyd Levitin , a businessman and professor, and Sonia Levitin , a novelist. Levitin was raised in Daly City , Moraga , and Palos Verdes , California.

He graduated after his junior year at Palos Verdes High School and attended the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied applied mathematics; he enrolled at the Berklee College of Music before dropping out of college to join a succession of bands, work as a record producer, and help found a record label,
415 Records .

He returned to school in his thirties, studying cognitive psychology / cognitive science first at Stanford University where he received a BA degree in 1992 (with honors and highest university distinction) and then to the
University of Oregon where he received an MSc degree in 1993 and a PhD degree in 1996.

He completed post-doctoral fellowships at Paul Allen ‘s Silicon Valley think-tank Interval Research , at the Stanford University Medical School , and at the University of California, Berkeley .

His scientific mentors included
Roger Shepard, Michael Posner, Douglas Hintzman, John R. Pierce , and Stephen Palmer.

He has been a visiting professor at the
University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University , Dartmouth College, and Oregon Health Sciences University .

As a cognitive neuroscientist specializing in music perception and cognition, he is credited for fundamentally changing the way that scientists think about auditory memory, showing through the Levitin Effect, that long-term memory preserves many of the details of musical experience that previous theorists regarded as lost during the encoding process.

He is also known for drawing attention to the role of cerebellum in music listening, including tracking the beat and distinguishing familiar from unfamiliar music.

Outside of his academic pursuits, Levitin has worked on and off as a stand-up comedian and joke writer, performing at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco with Robin Williams in 1984, and at comedy clubs in California; he placed second in the National Lampoon stand-up comedy competition regionals in San Francisco in 1989, and has contributed jokes to Jay Leno, Arsenio Hall, as well as the nationally syndicated comic strip Bizarro , some of which were included in the 2006 compilation “Bizarro and Other Strange Manifestations of the Art of Dan Piraro ” (Andrews McMeel).

Levitin holds three academic appointments: he is James McGill Professor Emeritus of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University in
Montreal , Quebec , Canada, where he is an Associate member in music theory, computer science , neurology and neurosurgery, and education; Founding Dean of Arts & Humanities at The Minerva Schools at KGI ; and a Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley.

From 2000 to 2017, he was Director of the Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill.

An accomplished public speaker, his TED talk has been viewed more than 16 million times.

He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science , a fellow of the
Association for Psychological Science, and a
fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC).

He has alsoappeared frequently as a guest commentator on NPR and CBC .

What The Book Talks About

Chapter1: What is Music? From Pitch To Timbre
Levitin begins his investigation of the brain and music by explaining the basic terms of music and music theory to his readers. His choice to begin this way is quite helpful to someone not familiar with the technical side of music. He does not simply assume that the reader is a musician and understands all the terms and concepts.

He started by explaining that music is, most basically, organized sound. A combination of sound frequencies played in a particular order. He goes on to define everything from tempo to rhythm, from timbre to harmony. He explains which of those are actual attributes of sound, and which are imposed by the brain. He discusses the complexity of the relationships among each of these attributes.

He explains the auditory system and how sound gets from the outside world to the mind of the listener. Levitin goes into some detail on the complexity of each of the components responsible for the experience of sound, from the ear canal to the auditory cortex in the brain.
Chapter 1 focuses mainly on the frequencies of organized sound, how the auditory system senses them, and the brain interprets them.

Chapter 2: Foot Tapping: Discerning rhythm, Loudness, and Harmony
In this chapter, Levitin focuses on the the rhythm and the recognition of harmonies and melodies. He explains the difference between the rhythm and tempo, then how a melody is the combination of the rhythm and the frequency difference between one note and the next.

In this chapter he also explains what musicians mean when they say that they will play a piece in a different “key” or “tempo” and how the brain still recognizes it as the same song even though it is performed differently than what the listener is used to hearing. He also goes into the difference between consonance and dissonance, and the brain’s reaction to each.

He draws upon some of the Gestalt psychologists to explain the brain’s recognition of patterns to be able to recognize different instruments playing the same piece, but yet still recognizing them as being different instruments.

Chapter 3: Behind the Curtain: Music and the Mind Machine
In chapter 3, Levitin changes focus from music to the brain, itself. He explains that the brain is so complex that it defies complete understanding right now, but he goes into great detail (for a popular book) about the inner workings of the brain. He covers everything from the neuron configurations to the plasticity (ability to change over time) of the brain.

He explains how some sounds are interpreted as being from a dangerous source, while others are from a safe or neutral source.

He makes it clear, though, that his fascination is not with the brain, but the mind. He addresses the distinction and provides a couple arguments for there being no actual difference.

He then goes into the intrinsic unreliability of the senses. He brings optical illusions as evidence for this. He then explains how the brain has the ability to not only deceive, but to accurately fill in missing information that the senses do not detect.

He explains that even though the brain is not perfectly reliable, it is extremely sensitive to the complexity of the many different sounds that we hear and the timing of each to give us information about the environment. He then explains that music is merely just the brain taking the different sounds that it receives and projecting an “image” of the environment to the mind.

Chapter4:Anticipation: What We Exxpect from Liszt (and Ludacris)
Chapter 4 connects the neurology from chapter 3 to the music theory of chapters 1 and 2. He shows that the brain anticipates certain things based on what it receives. He explains the concept of “schemas” that the brain develops over time and how music can fit or violate those expectations.

Chapter 5: You Know My Name, Look up the Number: How We Categorize Music
Chapter 5 addresses how our brains determine which “genre” a musical piece fits. Levitin uses this chapter to explain the different theories of how memories are formed and retrieved. The two competing theories that he goes over are the constructivist (the brain ignores details and preserves only the basic information- details are reconstructed or invented at recall) and the “tape-recording” theory (the brain records every single detail, and those details can be accurately retrieved with the proper stimulant).

He discusses the different studies that support the different theories and the functions of the brain that support those ideas. He also shows what stands as evidence against the theories, and finally lands on a theory that combines both.

He uses this as the groundwork for explaining the current theories on how the brain develops categories, thus placing different music into different genres.

Chapter 6: After Dessert, Crick Was Still Four Seats Away from Me: Music, Emotion, and the Reptilian Brain
In chapter 6 Levitin addresses emotion and music. He points to studies that indicate that the cerebellum and its amygdala are the centers for emotional processes.

Here is where Levitin begins to try to explain why music is so powerful- from the naturalistic point of view.

He points to research that the cerebellum was present in the oldest of creatures, and explains that different emotional reactions had survival advantage, thus those capabilities were passed down from generation to generation.

He goes into even more detail about the complexity of the auditory system in this chapter, explaining its survival advantage. He also explains the connection between the auditory system and the emotional centers of the brain and how that boosts survival chances even more.

Chapter 7: What Makes a Musician?: Expertise Dissected
Chapter 7 is Levitin’s discussion regarding the “nature vs. nurture” debate. He examines the ideas that musical ability is a natural talent or the product of much training…or both.

This is the one chapter that has mainly anecdotal evidence rather than hard evidence from neurology. Levitin explains that this is because of the fact that brain scans have an extremely difficult time distinguishing between the causes and the effects. He also draws upon different theories of neuroplasticity and memory before concluding that both talent and training are necessary to make a good musician.

Chapter 8: My Favorite Things: Why Do We Like the Music We Like?
In chapter 8 Levitin begins explaining how our likes and dislikes are developed over time. He discusses the famous “Mozart Effect” and the studies that led to its conclusions.

He explains the flaws in the studies, and how they may not be necessarily relied upon. However, he did point out that music listening does have an effect on the cerebellum (emotions), and certain music will strike different emotions- determining what we find enjoyable and not.

Levitin points out that many people listen to music in social groups, and he speculates on different motives for doing it in groups. But he concludes (via the effects music has on the brain), that society can determine what kind of music a person will like and what they won’t. He explains that since children and teens have the highest level of neuroplasticity (ability of the brain to change), that their preferences are the most easy to influence.

He also goes back to anticipation. He explains that if music is too predictable (via the schemas) that it becomes boring. He explains that good musicians will violate anticipation every now and then, but then fulfill it before the piece is complete. This allows for the piece to be exciting but satisfying to the listener.

Chapter 9: The Music Instinct: Evolution’s #1 Hit
In the final chapter, Levitin attempts to offer explanations about how the existence of music has survived the cold process of natural selection. He begins by quoting several people who believe that music has absolutely no evolutionary purpose and it should be leaving the scene shortly.

However, Levitin provides alternatives to this idea. He offers that music and dancing helped in sexual selection- a female choosing a worthy mate.

He speculates that since music is a “mover” of the body, that dance may have been used by males to demonstrate cardiovascular superiority- leading the female to understand that he was a skilled hunter.

Levitin also offered that the participation in music was a sign of a possession of an over-abundance of life resources by a male, thus being appealing to a potential female mate.

He concludes the book by explaining that music is not only a pastime of art and beauty, but that it was a vital part in the survival of the human species.

Best Place to Buy The Book

The best place I recommend you buy the book is on Amazon. The price there is fair and according to my research, it is the most trusted online store at the moment. It will also be very convenient for you to buy there if you were planning to do more online shopping today.

Buy This is Your Brain on Music Here

My Thought About This Book

This is such an interesting book! I mean what a way to understand our brains in music!

The only downside about this book is that it requires you to really concentrate on the book to really get the most out of it.


Feel free to leave in your comments as well
as your questions.

I hope you found this review useful to you.T

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