Author: Sherry Helms
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.” –Plato–
Happy World Music Day!
Music often helps us in many ways. It can make a day, change our mood, whet us towards positive thinking, amp us up for exercise (an essential activity for a healthy life), and help us recover from mental or emotional injuries. But, do you ever bother to ponder upon how music works and why it makes us feel the way it does? In an attempt to answer these questions, today, on World Music Day, we have come up with some essential books on music that dig up at that intersection of our system where brain ends and soul begins.
This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession – Whether you load your iPod with Bach or Bono, music has a significant role in your life -even if you never realized it. Why does music evoke such powerful moods? The answers are at last be- coming clear, thanks to revolutionary neuroscience and the emerging field of evolutionary psychology. Both a cutting-edge study and a tribute to the beauty of music itself, This Is Your Brain on Music unravels a host of mysteries that affect everything from pop culture to our understanding of human nature.
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Revised and Expanded Edition – In this book, Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition. He shows a variety of what he calls “musical misalignments.” Among them: a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty-two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hyper-musical from birth; people with “amusia,” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds for everything but music.
Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination – What makes a distant oboe’s wail beautiful? Why do some kinds of music lift us to ecstasy, but not others? How can music make sense to an ear and brain evolved for detecting the approaching lion or tracking the unsuspecting gazelle? Lyrically interweaving discoveries from science, psychology, music theory, paleontology, and philosophy, Robert Jourdian brilliantly examines why music speaks to us in ways that words cannot, and why we form such powerful connections to it.
Why Music Moves Us – Music has extraordinary power to move us, but how and why does it affect us? What is going on, emotionally, physically and cognitively when listeners have strong emotional responses to music? This is a highly readable, original and philosophically important book for anyone who has ever been moved by music.
Music and the Mind – Drawing on his own lifelong passion for music and synthesizing the theories of Plato, Schopenhauer, Stravinsky, Nietzsche, Bartok, and others, distinguished author and psychologist Anthony Storr illuminates music’s deep beauty and timeless truth and why and how music is one of the fundamental activities of mankind. He further sheds light on some of the most elementary questions about music, like why a minor scale always sounds sad and a major scale happy, and describes an evidence-backed human grand theory for the very purpose of music: Peace and serenity of soul.