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The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks; Abridged edition (19 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143143379
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143143376
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 14.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,953,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Music seems to have an almost wilful, evasive quality, defying simple explanation, so that the more we find out, the more there is to know, leaving its power and mystery intact, however much we may dig and delve. Daniel's book is an eloquent and poetic exploration of this paradox. --Sting

This is the worst idea for a book I've ever heard - it makes me want to vomit. The idea encapsulates the very worst part of Western thought.' 'I take it back - I'm sorry! This is great!' --Joni Mitchell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Daniel Levitin is the James McGill Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at McGill University. Before entering academia he worked as a session musician, sound engineer and record producer. He lives in Montreal, Canada. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an entertaining read, very easy to get through, and plenty about it was endearing and appealing on a very approachable level - Levitin writes pretty readable stuff in trying to make the case for why humans have music, and what it means to us as thinking beings.

I was left slightly disappointed, however, because it just wasn't convincing. The author aims to classify all music into one of six different types (for friendship, for information, for joy etc.) but the whole thing left me with so many questions and aware of so many holes in his arguments that.. as a non-fiction, as a scientific book, it just didn't have the authority. I wanted more facts, more 'we have proved that this type of song elicits this response via brain imaging', more factual content. What it ended up feeling like was an entertaining read with lots of appealing ideas, the author choosing to illustrate things with anecdotes (and lots of name-dropping!) and accompany this with "Perhaps this means X and Y because of Z" type statements. I just did not buy many of his arguments about genetic selection for musical skills for the reasons he gave, as there seemed little factual basis for these assertions. There was also too much deconstruction of art/music, which gets on my wick a bit.

As a quirky and approachable popular psychology type book, however, it was an entertaining read, and if they don't expect too much rigour from it, readers will enjoy it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a musician and songwriter. Along with his other book 'Your Brain on Music' this is an almost invaluable work.

The no-nonsense structure has made it so every other line holds a golden nugget of information that may well change the way you look at things forever. The writing style is largely anecdotal and written in laymen's terms, despite venturing into fairly complex territory.

The author should be congratulated.
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Format: Paperback
I'd previously read and enjoyed 'This is Your Brain on Music' by the same author so it seemed natural to buy this one too. A quick flick through the index told me that there were contributions by Frank Zappa and Joni Mitchell - so all the signs were good. For some reason, however, I put off buying it for some time (until I got in cheap on E-bay actually). I have to say that I'm pleased I did: I'd have hated to pay full price for such a disappointing book.

It seems as though the author feels he has to remind us on every other page about how "Natural selection has favoured those who were able to... etc. etc." Okay, so it is the point of the book but it can still become tedious after a while. When somebody persistently tries to shoehorn everything into one system then the result can start to resemble superstition. My impression was that the author could have made the book half as long and it would have been twice as good. There are occasional nuggets in the book but these are few and far between. Unlike another reviewer, I actually enjoyed reading the song lyrics: they provided a welcome break from the proselytizing. Oh, and nitpicking it may be but there were more than a few typos scattered throughout the text.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Extremely interesting read for those who have a real interest in the social and emotional origins of song. Maybe a subject which folk haven't really thought of before. Makes a good present
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