Mixing cutting-edge neuroscience, his own sometimes hilarious experiences in the music business, and illuminating interviews with experts from Sting and David Byrne to conductors, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists, Levitin reveals the prehistoric, elegant systems at play when we sing and dance at weddings, cheer at a concert, or tune out privately with an iPod. Levitin explores how the evolution of our brains made music, art, science, and society possible. He uncovers six fundamental ways that songs communicate emotion and ideas – songs of friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge, and love – and so have built human nature.
The tagline for the book is “How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature.” Levitin draws on his unique expertise to explain how music has evolved with humanity.
Here’s my world in six songs:
Friendship: Bill Withers – “Lean On Me”
A total classic. Need I say more? Yes, I do. The first slide says Michael Buble. This is not Michael Buble.
Joy: “The Star Spangled Banner”
This is a retired Cincinnati fireman singing the national anthem before a Bengals home game. Good stuff right here.
Comfort: 30 Seconds to Mars – “The Kill”
The lyrics speak of inner strength and the singer’s voice is incredible. The production value is amazing as well. This song always puts me in the zone.
Religion: Cat Stevens – “Morning Has Broken”
Cat Stevens plays a traditional Christian hymn in his signature folk rock style.
Knowledge: “Follow Me Up To Carlow”
This is an Irish folk tune that has survived hundreds of years and countless pop music incarnations. It recounts an infamous battle in which an ancestor of mine, Feagh McHugh O’Byrne, was greatly outnumbered by British forces and still managed to triumph. Songs were often used in oral tradition as it’s easier to remember the words to a song than it is to memorize a story.
Love: Billy Joel – “Just The Way You Are”
This is the song my wife and I had as our first dance after out wedding.
What’s your world in 6 songs?