This is your brain on music
316 pág.

This is your brain on music


DisciplinaPsicologia da Música 124 materiais30 seguidores
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THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON 
MUSIC~ ~
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4th Pass Pages
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THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON 
The Science of a Human Obsession
Daniel J. Levitin
D U T T O N
MUSIC~ ~
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DUTTON 
Published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 
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Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.); Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London 
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England 
 
Published by Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 
 
First electronic edition, August 2006 
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 
 
Copyright © 2006 by Daniel J. Levitin 
All rights reserved 
 
REGISTERED TRADEMARK\u2014MARCA REGISTRADA 
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA 
Levitin, Daniel J. 
This is your brain on music : the science of a human obsession / Daniel J. Levitin. 
p. cm. 
Includes bibliographical references and index. 
 
MSR ISBN 0-7865-8404-1 
AEB ISBN 0-7865-8405-X 
 
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CONTENTS 1
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Introduction
I Love Music and I Love Science\u2014Why Would I Want 
to Mix the Two? 1
1. What Is Music?
From Pitch to Timbre 13
2. Foot Tapping
Discerning Rhythm, Loudness, and Harmony 55
3. Behind the Curtain
Music and the Mind Machine 81
4. Anticipation
What We Expect From Liszt (and Ludacris) 109
5. You Know My Name, Look Up the Number
How We Categorize Music 129
6. After Dessert, Crick Was Still Four Seats Away from Me
Music, Emotion, and the Reptilian Brain 165
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7. What Makes a Musician?
Expertise Dissected 189
8. My Favorite Things
Why Do We Like the Music We Like? 217
9. The Music Instinct
Evolution\u2019s #1 Hit 241
Appendices 263
Bibliographic Notes 271
Acknowledgments 301
Index 303
vi Contents
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Introduction
I Love Music and I Love Science\u2014
Why Would I Want to Mix the Two?
I love science, and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the
subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose
compassion, or the arts, or be awed by nature. Science is not meant to
cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and reinvigorate it.
\u2014Robert Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don\u2019t Get Ulcers, p. xii
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In the summer of 1969, when I was eleven, I bought a stereo system atthe local hi-fi shop. It cost all of the hundred dollars I had earned
weeding neighbors\u2019 gardens that spring at seventy-five cents an hour.
I spent long afternoons in my room, listening to records: Cream, the
Rolling Stones, Chicago, Simon and Garfunkel, Bizet, Tchaikovsky,
George Shearing, and the saxophonist Boots Randolph. I didn\u2019t listen
particularly loud, at least not compared to my college days when I actu-
ally set my loudspeakers on fire by cranking up the volume too high, but
the noise was evidently too much for my parents. My mother is a novel-
ist; she wrote every day in the den just down the hall and played the pi-
ano for an hour every night before dinner. My father was a businessman;
he worked eighty-hour weeks, forty of those hours in his office at home
on evenings and weekends. Being the businessman that he was, my fa-
ther made me a proposition: He would buy me a pair of headphones if I
would promise to use them when he was home. Those headphones for-
ever changed the way I listened to music.
The new artists that I was listening to were all exploring stereo mix-
ing for the first time. Because the speakers that came with my hundred-
dollar all-in-one stereo system weren\u2019t very good, I had never before
heard the depth that I could hear in the headphones\u2014the placement of
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instruments both in the left-right field and in the front-back (reverber-
ant) space. To me, records were no longer just about the songs anymore,
but about the sound. Headphones opened up a world of sonic colors, a
palette of nuances and details that went far beyond the chords and
melody, the lyrics, or a particular singer\u2019s voice. The swampy Deep South
ambience of \u201cGreen River\u201d by Creedence, or the pastoral, open-space
beauty of the Beatles\u2019 \u201cMother Nature\u2019s Son\u201d; the oboes in Beethoven\u2019s
Sixth (conducted by Karajan), faint and drenched in the atmosphere of a
large wood-and-stone church; the sound was an enveloping experience.
Headphones also made the music more personal for me; it was suddenly
coming from inside my head, not out there in the world. This personal
connection is ultimately what drove me to become a recording engineer
and producer.
Many years later, Paul Simon told me that the sound is always what
he was after too. \u201cThe way