The World in Six Songs by Daniel J. Levitin
How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature

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Synopsis

The author of the New York Times bestseller This Is Your Brain on Music reveals music's role in the evolution of human culture-and "will leave you awestruck" (The New York Times)

Daniel J. Levitin's astounding debut bestseller, This Is Your Brain on Music, enthralled and delighted readers as it transformed our understanding of how music gets in our heads and stays there. Now in his second New York Times bestseller, his genius for combining science and art reveals how music shaped humanity across cultures and throughout history.

Dr. Levitin identifies six fundamental song functions or types-friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge, and love-then shows how each in its own way has enabled the social bonding necessary for human culture and society to evolve. He shows, in effect, how these "six songs" work in our brains to preserve the emotional history of our lives and species.

Dr. Levitin combines cutting-edge scientific research from his music cognition lab at McGill University and work in an array of related fields; his own sometimes hilarious experiences in the music business; and illuminating interviews with musicians such as Sting and David Byrne, as well as conductors, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists. The World in Six Songs is, ultimately, a revolution in our understanding of how human nature evolved-right up to the iPod.

Read Daniel Levitin's posts on the Penguin Blog.
 

About Daniel J. Levitin

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DANIEL J. LEVITIN runs the Levitin Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill University, where he holds the Bell Chair in the Psychology of Electronic Communications. Before becoming a neuroscientist, he was a record producer with gold records to his credit and professional musician. He has published extensively in scientific journals and music trade magazines such as Grammy and Billboard.
 
Published August 19, 2008 by Plume. 372 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The World in Six Songs

Kirkus Reviews

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Music played a key role in making societies and civilizations possible.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The World in Six Songs: How t...

The New York Times

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Daniel J. Levitin proposes that humans have been shaped by a “soundtrack of civilization.”

Aug 31 2008 | Read Full Review of The World in Six Songs: How t...

The Guardian

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This new book comes garlanded with quotes from Sir George Martin, Joni Mitchell and Sting, but the good news is that it's a fascinating study, which argues that songs of friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion and love have been instrumental to the evolution of thought and culture.

May 16 2009 | Read Full Review of The World in Six Songs: How t...

The Guardian

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It turns out that, for Levitin, song is "a convenient shorthand for music in all its forms, to refer to any music that people make, with or without melody, with or without lyrics".

Aug 07 2009 | Read Full Review of The World in Six Songs: How t...

AV Club

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The author of This Is Your Brain On Music tries to break down all music into categories, but the idea itself breaks down.

Aug 20 2008 | Read Full Review of The World in Six Songs: How t...

Bookmarks Magazine

and "I Walk the Line" falls into three categories.) Each chapter, sprinkled with anecdotes linking music to behavioral traits, reveals how tightly music and neurological development are intertwined—so much so, in fact, that music has become a soundtrack of our evolution.Dutton.

Aug 24 2008 | Read Full Review of The World in Six Songs: How t...

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