Who? Record producer, neuroscientist and music theorist Daniel Levitin, acquaintance to rock stars and scientific celebrities, anecdotalist, a true all-rounder.
What? A jolly, humane overview of the relationship between music and neuroscience, drawing on Levitin’s experience of the musical and scientific communities. He did everything and met everyone, so it seems.
When? 2006. I would have been strutting around my university campus at the time, posturing as a musician.
How? In nine comprehensive chapters dealing notion-by-notion with the musical and neurological implications of pitch, rhythm, memory, anticipation, categorisation, emotion, expertise, preference and origins, all dealt with clarity, deftness, absolute accessibility.
Why? Reading This is Your Brain on Music, I get the sense that this book could have been written by no one else but Levitin; he is at once an expert neuroscientist and a man with a deep, direct connection to music history and the contemporary music industry. His openness towards music complements his willingness to confront established scientific principles. His ability to introduce both subjects without patronisation is practically flawless. Although his ideas will not excite a dinner table in the same way as Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia, his written style is more engaging and the experience of reading his work more satiating. He also seems to love Paula Abdul, whose songs get more page-time than Mozart. This, of course, is just.
This is Your Brain on Music is available as an Atlantic Books paperback.
5 March 2017