This is Your Brain on Music : Understanding a Human Obsession, Paperback

This is Your Brain on Music : Understanding a Human Obsession Paperback

5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


This is the first book to offer a comprehensive explanation of how humans experience music and to unravel the mystery of our perennial love affair with it.

Using musical examples from Bach to the Beatles, Levitin reveals the role of music in human evolution, shows how our musical preferences begin to form even before we are born and explains why music can offer such an emotional experience.Music is an obsession at the heart of human nature, even more fundamental to our species than language.

In "This Is Your Brain On Music" Levitin offers nothing less than a new way to understand it, and its role in human life.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages, Black and white diagrams
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Theory of music & musicology
  • ISBN: 9781843547167



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I thoroughly enjoyed - and learned a lot from - this study of how music affects the human brain. The author's background as a musician and record producer who became a cognitive neuroscientist means that he is well placed to write about the intersection of music and the brain, and I also enjoyed the range of musical examples - from punk through classical - he uses. My only gripes are some annoying typos, and that the book is too short.

Review by

Superbly accessible, comprehensive, and written by someone who obviously knows his music. This book presents the latest understanding on music and the brain in a highly readable and engaging format; it's that rare thing, a science book which is a genuine page-turner. The only slight detractor would be the final chapter, which aruges against Steven Pinker's "music as cheesecake" hypothesis (that music simply excites neural structures which were already present for other reasons) - this is not totally convincing, and sounds a little like too much protestation. This is a very minor quibble, and does not diminish the rest of the work, which is lucid, comprehensive and well-reasoned.