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Summary

Music is an integral part of humanity. Every culture has music, from the largest society to the smallest tribe. Its marvelous range of melodies, themes, and rhythms taps in to something universal. Babies are soothed by it. Young adults dance for hours to it. Older adults can relive their youth with the vivid memories it evokes. Music is part of our most important rituals, and it has been the medium of some of our greatest works of art.

Yet even though music is intimately woven into the fabric of our lives, it remains deeply puzzling, provoking questions such as: How and why did musical behavior originate? What gives mere tones such a powerful effect on our emotions? Are we born with our sense of music, or do we acquire it?

In the last 20 years, researchers have come closer to solving these riddles thanks to cognitive neuroscience, which integrates the study of human mental processes with the study of the brain. This exciting field has not only helped us address age-old questions about music; it also allows us to ask new ones, like: Do the brains of musicians differ from nonmusicians? Can musical training promote cognitive development? Is there a deep connection between music and language?

Join neuroscientist and professor of psychology Dr. Aniruddh Patel to probe one of the mind's most profound mysteries. Covering the latest research findings - from the origins of music's emotional powers to the deficits involved in amusia, or the inability to hear music - these 18 enthralling lectures will make you think about music and your brain in a new way.

Designed for music lovers and brain enthusiasts at all levels, Music and the Brain is truly interdisciplinary and assumes no prior background in neuroscience or music theory. Here is your unrivaled explanation of this marvelous gift.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2015 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2015 The Great Courses

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    5 out of 5 stars

Clear intro to the neuroscience of music

Another reviewer described this audiobook as "passionless". To me that criticisms seems rather unfair, a bit like describing a nice juicy watermelon as not tasting meaty enough. I can imagine that if you turn to this audiobook looking for gripping musical entertainment then you might perhaps be a bit disappointed, but I don't think that is what the author was aiming to provide. If you are after a beautifully clear, accessible and quite comprehensive overview of the state of the art of brain research relating to music perception, then this among the best introductions you are likely to find. There are a number of other popular science titles relating to music on the market, e.g. Oliver Sacks' "musicophilia" or Levitin's "this is your brain on music", which might, for some, score higher on entertainment value, but the material covered in those books is very anecdotal and light-weight in comparison. Prof Patel's course, in contrast, is throughout firmly grounded in proper, quantitative and peer reviewed scientific research. If you want proper science, then this is the good stuff.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Very engaging

If you could sum up Music and the Brain in three words, what would they be?

Intelligent, researched, flowing

What was one of the most memorable moments of Music and the Brain?

I was particularly engaged by the lecture concerning music & its effects on Alzheimer's & Parkinson's diseases. It is a line of research worth continuing.

Have you listened to any of Professor Aniruddh D. Patel’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, but I particularly enjoyed his enthusiasm for the topic and the fact that he explained quite complex theories about neurological pathways in a way that a complete novice (me) can understand and appreciate.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Probably not, it dealt with a lot of things that need digestion & reflection.

Any additional comments?

I not only love listening to music of all kinds, but now understand why it affects me on such an emotional level. Even now know why I get goosebumps!!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic and thorough

If you could sum up Music and the Brain in three words, what would they be?

Thorough, interesting, accurate

What other book might you compare Music and the Brain to, and why?

It goes along with Pinker, and all credible authors and academics who have explored the function of music in relation to human development

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, the bite size 30 minute lectures are perfect as time is needed to mull over the ideas and concepts taught

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic Audiobook

Bit slow at first, then it gets significantly deeper and better. The slowness I've perceived may be due to my education level and musical background, and I can see why this slowness may be necessary for the most listeners.

All in all, great stuff.

*****

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interesting

hard to understand at times but some interesting view points and study with in the lectures.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Steven
  • 03-01-16

New Interesting Science

Would you listen to Music and the Brain again? Why?

Yes. There were many fascinating facts, and I don't remember them all. I love music, and want to understand it on every level.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Music and the Brain?

Humans have relative pitch perception, while most species have absolute pitch perception. That is why few people have perfect pitch, not just regular relative pitch perception. We perceive the octave, the fifth and other intervals because of that.

What does Professor Aniruddh D. Patel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Music must be heard. I have a thorough enough understanding of music, I may have understood by reading, but I greatly appreciated the auditory examples, especially the illusions.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I would say fascinated and amazed.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel_23
  • 19-05-16

Great content, awful editing

I really loved every bit of the content. The lectures are well prepared and careful designed so that the information is contextualized, arriving at the right time. However, I can't forgive the fact that the editing is just terrible. I know that people will make mistakes while reading, and that's where the editor comes in and fixes the audio. There are too many times where there are hiccups, words mispronounced and the flow stops; which could have been fixed beforehand. I hope the they receive enough complaints to make it right.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-05-17

Not the Best from the Great Courses

Expected something complex explained with clarity... as I have come to experience from the GC series. Got some complexity, not explained well, and not well organized. Very disappointing. Not one I recommend.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Erica
  • 06-11-16

Meh.

I couldn't finish this lecture series. It was neat, but just not interesting enough to pull me to the finish line. I made it about 3/4 through and just gave up. I was waiting for it to get really good and it never did. I wouldn't recommend it, but I can't say it was awful. It was just not good enough.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Shan
  • 04-11-15

Dry, passionless

Deathly dry delivery. Too much statistical information. Zero joy and power of music. Even the in-house compositions were expressionless. Mechanical delivery. Mechanical focus. Felt obliged to listen as is my career. Going to spend some sexy time with a Great Course Astrophysicist now and recuperate my joie-de-vivre!

32 of 46 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 29-10-16

fascinating

a little dry sometimes, but over all very fascinating. worth a bit of your time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • nancy wong
  • 07-04-18

So interesting!

This book is a "must read/listen"! We are learning so much about the brain and how it works to make us human. Music is such an important part of our humanity. Learn how music helps us with language and mental development. Music enriches our lives in so many ways!

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  • Denny
  • 26-03-18

This book is not about music and the brain.

This book is a boring discourse on evolution and has little to do with our brain and how music affects it. Would better be titled, "Our guess at how music evolved in our brains: An unproven work."

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-12-17

Great for composers, music lovers, and all!

Scientifically sound, and emotionally moving studies here. Try it out if your interested in movies.

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  • Ilkka Laukkanen
  • 19-12-17

Flawed production overshadows interesting material

The course has great promise, but disappointingly starts to rely and refer heavily to figures that are of course not present in this audio version. It is unfortunate that the producers did not take the trouble to come up with spoken representations, because the examples do not seem to be very complex. Now they are just jarring, as the lecturer keeps referring to unseen spectra and brain scans as if we were supposed to “notice” something. Another slightly irritating feature are the odd pauses and occasional stumbling in the performance, which I think would have warranted overdubs.