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Author Topic: Book: Brain On Music  (Read 3066 times)

Offline Bill

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Book: Brain On Music
« on: January 02, 2010, 09:07:37 AM »
I think many of the regular forum members would greatly enjoy this book.


The book is called,

This Is Your Brain On Music

Its a New York Times Bestseller so its currently in paperback at 16 bucks.


Its By Daniel Levitin. (" Before becoming a neuroscientest, he worked as a session musician, sound engineer, and record producer for the likes of Stevie Wonder and Blue Oyster Cult")

It gets into the science of music from many perspectives. Interviews are as varied as Crick and Watson (Nobel prize winners for the discovery of DNA) to Joni Mitchel and Neil Young.

A mix of the physics of sound, music theory, evolution of the brain, how we perceive music, how we become expert listeners, how we become expert musicians, how one can have perfect pitch and be tone deaf too. So much more.

This has been a fascinating read. Answers many questions and poses important and interesting new ones that you may not otherwise consider. I learned so much about music and the brain and a few of our music legends(many more than the ones I've mentioned...)

 It brings lots of stuff together. It can get technical and is not always a light read. But mostly its kept pretty light. I have read it (slowly)in less than a week and understood most of it and I am a pretty average forumite.


I think especially prjacobs would like it. But I think most of the regulars here would either enjoy it or at least be glad they read it.

A few Flys in my soup
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 09:22:17 AM by Bill »
A few Flys in my soup

Book: Brain On Music

Offline prjacobs

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Book: Brain On Music
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 09:45:59 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by Bill


I think especially prjacobs would like it. But I think most of the regulars here would either enjoy it or at least be glad they read it.




Hi Bill,
My wife bought this when it first came out, and I just couldn't quite get into it.  I guess I'll have to give it another go and perhaps skip some of the beginning, which, in Daniel Levitin's own words, was more geared to the non-musician.  After all, he was a musician, engineer and producer, so he rates far higher than scientists who dryly try to project art onto the scrim of science.  Since I didn't read the whole book, I have to reserve judgement, but in general, I tend to think of the universe more as a work of art, with our physiology serving as a conduit for our inspirations.  The science is revealing, but ultimately, the leaps of creativity transcend the circuitry we inhabit.  Or at least transcend the traditional models. But.... Having said the above, now I have to go back and read the whole book.  It does sound interesting, but it initially fell short for me.  Or perhaps just hit a sour note[:)]
Hey.... It's 2010!  I'm up for anything [:)].  Happy New Year to all.  Have a great one!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 09:46:50 AM by prjacobs »
 

Book: Brain On Music

Offline Bill

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Book: Brain On Music
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 11:00:00 AM »
Well I certainly agree with what you said. And you said it so well.

This book won't make anyone a better musician. It wont change anyone's perception of music.

I just find it interesting how it sheds some light on how and why we perceive the world the way we do.

As a non musician, the first part of the book was quite helpful for me. I loved his explanation for the components of timbre(partial and integer overtones and their "fingerprints" as the essence of recognizable voicing's ). But also the importance of flux, attack, pitch, and volume, as well as scales. And how "our music" began as rhythm and meter (primitive to complex), progressed to an appreciation of octaves and scales(Greeks to Classical)  and now has "evolved" (with rock and roll)to emphasize timbre and perfect fourths and fifths.

How exquisitely sensitive we are to timbre is just remarkable to think about.

How we have a predilection for appreciating octaves, perfect fourths, perfect fifths. And how as infants (and in general) we prefer consonant tones; and as we mature, we learn to appreciate a smattering of disconsolate tones--just as children prefer sweet milk and 50 yo old men enjoy an occasional cigar or single malt that they would have found disgusting and distasteful as a child.

How memory is encoded with music and why we usually prefer the musical "style" we heard prior to age 20. Also how its related to language of course and how our scales are familiar and "Indian" or "Eastern" music is unfamiliar because we learn the structure or language of our scales from prior to age 6, just like we do language.

And its neat to learn how a clever composer sets up our expectations and then violates them just enough and in just such a way as to make the tune worth hearing again. This is stuff you know and take for granted. But I have never thought about it really.

As I have some familiarity with neuroanatomy, much of the middle of the book was interesting too. For others it may be hard to follow but the the points he makes are easy enough.

This book is not for everyone. Many will find it boring. I guess it is. But its right up my alley.[:)]



A few Flys in my soup
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 12:36:55 PM by Bill »
A few Flys in my soup

Book: Brain On Music

Offline Mr. Wonderful

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Book: Brain On Music
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2010, 05:01:20 PM »
thanks for the info, ordered it this am on amazon.  anybody who doesn't have it....get all of the fretboard logic books

www.myspace.com/justaddwaterduo
 the , "weddings during wartime" and "baby baby" were both recorded with one of my pm 20's
p 38 black w/pearloid (named pearl), pm 20 in bubinga (3+3, named bubba), pm 20 tangerine (hockey stick, named crush)
www.myspace.com/justaddwaterduo
 the , "weddings during wartime" and "baby baby" were both recorded with one of my pm 20's
p 38 black w/pearloid (named pearl), pm 20 in bubinga (3+3, named bubba), pm 20 tangerine (hockey stick, named crush)

Book: Brain On Music

Offline stevie axeman

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Book: Brain On Music
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2010, 04:41:22 AM »
Just ordred it myslef - thanks for the reviews guys :-)

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Bogner XTC Classic ,Fishman Performer amps
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Book: Brain On Music

Offline showmeproof

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Book: Brain On Music
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2010, 02:04:45 PM »
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks is a wonderful read as well.
 

Book: Brain On Music

Offline logictweek

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Book: Brain On Music
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2011, 12:28:02 AM »
I read it and enjoyed it.  Nothing really mind-blowing, but he does make many insightful observations and puts together a nice overall perspective.

What was a bit of a shock to me was talking to non-musicians who tried to read it but didn't get it at all.  I've played and studied music all my life, so music is just my language.  It's not really some strange mysterious thing, it's just a language.  It's just hard for me to communicate or understand people who don't have that view.

The best musical observation in the book, IMO, is that since the late 90s, pop music has been dominated by an aesthetic of timbral("tone") development, rather than the traditional three pillars of melody, harmony, and rhythm.  To put it cynically, "Who cares if he can't even play a C major scale, it's got a comb filter/boutique fuzz/vocoder/808 drum machine....  Wow!"  That's basically where music is now.
December 1995 basswood/mahogany classic

Book: Brain On Music

Offline Notes_Norton

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Book: Brain On Music
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2011, 06:50:17 PM »
I read and enjoyed it, although I didn't agree with everything he wrote, I still got a lot out of it.

Notes

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Bob "Notes" Norton

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Bob "Notes" Norton

Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com aftermarket styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft Songsmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com the best duo in South FLorida