Music and the Mind

Anthony Storr, Author Free Press $27.95 (212p) ISBN 978-0-02-931621-4
Rejecting the Freudian notion that music is a form of infantile escapism, British psychologist Storr ( Solitude ) argues that music originates from the human brain, promotes order within the mind, exalts life and gives it meaning. In an engaging inquiry, Storr speculates on music's origins in preliterate societies and examines its therapeutic powers, even in people with neurological diseases that cause movement disorders. Focusing on Western classical music from Bach to Stravinsky, he rejects the view, expounded by Leonard Bernstein and others, that the Western tonal system is a universal scheme rooted in the natural order. Citing studies of physiological arousal, Storr updates Arthur Schopenhauer's thesis that music portrays the inner flow of life more directly than the other arts. He turns to Friedrich Nietzsche, a philosopher, pianist and composer, for an understanding of music as an affirmative medium that helps us transcend life's essential tragedy. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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