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The Music Instinct : How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It - Philip Ball

The Music Instinct

How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It

Hardcover

Published: 1st September 2010
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"A truly fascinating and eye-opening account of a phenomenon so commonplace we barely think about it, yet one which is also mind-bogglingly complicated. Once you've read The Music Instinct, you'll never listen to music the same way again."—The Independent

"I defy anyone to read this book without coming away better informed about why music affects us in such a profound way...[Ball's] passion for music is evident on every page, and his enthusiasms (whether for gamelan or Glenn Gould) are infectious. Most powerful is his message that music is a part of the chaos and splendour of human life itself."—Bee Wilson, The Sunday Times

"Exemplary"—The Guardian

"Philip Ball's language is clear...his love of the subject is abundantly evident...a delight"—The Daily Telegraph

"A remarkable achievement."—Classic FM Magazine

Award-winning author Philip Ball Provides the first comprehensive, accessible survey of what is known-and still unknown-about how music works its magic.

From Bach fugues to Indonesian gamelan. nursery rhymes to hip-hop music has permeated every corner of human culture. But why music excites such deep passions, and how we make sense of musical sound at all, has remained mysterious.

In The Music Instinct. Philip Ball shows that a capacity for (and enjoyment in) music-making is an inevitable consequence of the way our brain works. Natural-born pattern seekers, we always look for ways to organize what we hear, and get an emotional charge from patterns we find. Even while listening to the simplest of tunes, the brain is performing some astonishing gymnastics: discerning structure and regularities, forming interpretations, and setting up expectations to create a sense of aesthetic pleasure. Though he challenges such simplistic theories as the Mozart effect and right-brain, left-brain classification, Ball insists that music should form an indispensable part of education. With wit and affection the author leads us on a wide-ranging tour of science and music, unraveling the latest research m music psychology and brain science. humming all the while.

A captivating account of the importance of music in our lives, The Music Instinct will broaden your horizons while deepening your appreciation of the music you love.

"Ball is to be applauded for the range and aptness of the musical examples he does choose - from Albinoni to Led Zeppelin, Bach to The Sound of Music - as well as for his attention to musics outside western traditions....the book is impressively engaging for one so dense with detail and argument....fascinating." --The Guardian"Using plentiful examples drawn from a refreshingly wide range of different kinds of music, from Bach to the Beatles, and from nursery rhymes to jazz. If you can read music, you will find yourself humming aloud to see what he means. If you can't....Mr Ball's facility for conveying complex facts in simple language comes to the rescue." --The Economist"One of the finest and most versatile of current nonfiction writers.... I defy anyone to read this book without coming away better informed about why music affects us in such a profound way...His passion for music is evident on every page, and his enthusiasms (whether for gamelan or Glenn Gould) are infectious. Most powerful is his message that music is a part of the chaos and splendour of human life itself." --The Sunday Times"Ball's writing is excellent - vivid and colloquial in the best sense, intelligent and stylish without pretense. His explanations are engaging and clear; he lays out complex materials without the condescending oversimplification that is the curse of popularization...A treasure trove of information, explanation, questioning and thoughtful response that will delight and instruct a wide audience of intelligent, sensitive people who love music, who have perhaps felt intimidated by it, and who want to think about and love it better." --American Scientist"Fact-rich, gracefully written, and deeply insightful: Philip Ball's The Music Instinct is the best compendium on the creation and experience of music so far available. Rare is the writer who can describe the aesthetic pleasures of music in a way that connects it with the best that psychology and brain science can offer to musical understanding. Ball's achievement is altogether remarkable." --Denis Dutton, author of The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution"Provides easily the best evaluation of the field to date...An important landmark." --Diana Deutsch, Professor of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, and Founding President, Society for Music Perception and Cognition "By focusing on the intersection of music theory and cognition rather than neuroscience...Philip Ball fills a niche. The Music Instinct does a great job of explaining rhythm, pitch and timbre and how they combine to make compositions that capture our attention and emotions...The Music Instinct offers an expansive and high-level overview of a complex field. Ball is both an enthusiastic writer about music and a passionate listener engaged with its emotional meaning as much as with its intellectual puzzles--an Aristoxenus for his time." --Daniel J. Levitin, Nature"One of his great strengths, besides the breadth and solidity of his knowledge, is his consistent refusal to turn intriguing but incomplete evidence into glib take-home stories. Instead, he is meticulous in his attention to both the details and the limits on what they can tell us at present." --The Independent"Ball weaves fundamental explanations necessary for an amateur's understanding with sophisticated current research, science, and philosophy that broaden the horizons of even the most enlightened connoisseur...Through probing questions and challenges to philosophies, theories and attitudes, Ball's fresh insights promise to deepen the reader's appreciation for all types of music." --American Music Teacher"Offers an expansive overview of music's fundamental properties and values." --Music Educators Journal "Ball is to be applauded for the range and aptness of the musical examples he does choose - from Albinoni to Led Zeppelin, Bach to The Sound of Music - as well as for his attention to musics outside western traditions....the book is impressively engaging for one so dense with detail and argument....fascinating." --The Guardian"Using plentiful examples drawn from a refreshingly wide range of different kinds of music, from Bach to the Beatles, and from nursery rhymes to jazz. If you can read music, you will find yourself humming aloud to see what he means. If you can't....Mr Ball's facility for conveying complex facts in simple language comes to the rescue." --The Economist"One of the finest and most versatile of current nonfiction writers.... I defy anyone to read this book without coming away better informed about why music affects us in such a profound way...His passion for music is evident on every page, and his enthusiasms (whether for gamelan or Glenn Gould) are infectious. Most powerful is his message that music is a part of the chaos and splendour of human life itself." --The Sunday Times"Ball's writing is excellent - vivid and colloquial in the best sense, intelligent and stylish without pretense. His explanations are engaging and clear; he lays out complex materials without the condescending oversimplification that is the curse of popularization...A treasure trove of information, explanation, questioning and thoughtful response that will delight and instruct a wide audience of intelligent, sensitive people who love music, who have perhaps felt intimidated by it, and who want to think about and love it better." --American Scientist"Fact-rich, gracefully written, and deeply insightful: Philip Ball's The Music Instinct is the best compendium on the creation and experience of music so far available. Rare is the writer who can describe the aesthetic pleasures of music in a way that connects it with the best that psychology and brain science can offer to musical understanding. Ball's achievement is altogether remarkable." --Denis Dutton, author of The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution"Provides easily the best evaluation of the field to date...An important landmark." --Diana Deutsch, Professor of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, and Founding President, Society for Music Perception and Cognition "By focusing on the intersection of music theory and cognition rather than neuroscience...Philip Ball fills a niche. The Music Instinct does a great job of explaining rhythm, pitch and timbre and how they combine to make compositions that capture our attention and emotions...The Music Instinct offers an expansive and high-level overview of a complex field. Ball is both an enthusiastic writer about music and a passionate listener engaged with its emotional meaning as much as with its intellectual puzzles--an Aristoxenus for his time." --Daniel J. Levitin, Nature"One of his great strengths, besides the breadth and solidity of his knowledge, is his consistent refusal to turn intriguing but incomplete evidence into glib take-home stories. Instead, he is meticulous in his attention to both the details and the limits on what they can tell us at present." --The Independent"Ball weaves fundamental explanations necessary for an amateur's understanding with sophisticated current research, science, and philosophy that broaden the horizons of even the most enlightened connoisseur...Through probing questions and challenges to philosophies, theories and attitudes, Ball's fresh insights promise to deepen the reader's appreciation for all types of music." --American Music Teacher"Offers an expansive overview of music's fundamental properties and values." --Music Educators Journal

Prefacep. vii
Author's Notep. ix
Prelude: The Harmonious Universe: An Introductionp. 1
Overture: Why We Sing: What is music and where does it come from?p. 9
Staccato: The Atoms of Music: What are musical notes and how do we decide which to use?p. 32
Andante: What's In a Tune?: Do melodies follow rules, and if so, which?p. 91
Legato: Keeping It Together: How do we decode the sound?p. 137
Tutti: All Together Now: How do we use more than one note at a time?p. 163
Con Moto: Slave to the Rhythm: What gives music its pulse?p. 207
Pizzicato: The Colour of Music: Why does instruments sound different, and how does that affect the music?p. 228
Misterioso: All In the Mind: which bits of the brain do we use for music?p. 240
Appassionato: Light My Fire: How does music convey and elicit emotion?p. 254
Capriccioso: Going In and Out of Style: What are musical styles? Is music about notes, or patterns, or textures?p. 322
Parlando: Why Music Talks to Us: Is music a language? Or is it closer to the non-verbal arts?p. 355
Serioso: The Meaning of Music: What are composers and musicians trying to say? Can music in itself say anything at all?p. 381
Coda: The Condition of Musicp. 409
Creditsp. 413
Notesp. 415
Bibliographyp. 415
Indexp. 443
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780199754274
ISBN-10: 0199754276
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 452
Published: 1st September 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.2 x 16.8  x 3.6
Weight (kg): 0.8