The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature

Daniel J. Levitin, Author . Dutton $25.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-95073-8

Charles Darwin meets the Beatles in this attempt to blend neuroscience and evolutionary biology to explain why music is such a powerful force. In this rewarding though often repetitious study by bestselling author Levitin (This Is Your Brain on Music ), a rock musician turned neuroscientist, argues that music is a core element of human identity, paving the way for language, cooperative work projects and the recording of our lives and history. Through his studies, Levitin has identified six kinds of songs that help us achieve these goals: songs of friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion and love. He cites lyrics ranging from the songs of Johnny Cash to work songs, which, he says, promote feelings of togetherness. According to Levitin, evolution may have selected individuals who were able to use nonviolent means like dance and music to settle disputes. Songs also serve as “memory-aids,” as records of our lives and legends. Some may find Levitin’s evolutionary explanations reductionist, but he lightens the science with personal anecdotes and chats with Sting and others, offering an intriguing explanation for the power of music in our lives as individuals and as a society. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/02/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61574-525-8
Paperback - 358 pages - 978-1-84513-517-1
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-314337-6
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 368 pages - 978-1-101-03776-8
Paperback - 358 pages - 978-0-452-29548-3
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-101-03596-2
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-84513-477-8
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-101-04345-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-101-19404-1
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