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Publisher's 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Steven on 01-03-16

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.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Daniel_23 on 05-19-16

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.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jan W. H. Schnupp on 11-26-15

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.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Alison on 12-05-15

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!!!!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Anne on 10-28-15

Epiphany course

This clear, we'll sign-posted series of lectures explores why music and its practice is so important in human experience.
Theories behind its evolution are examined, practical applications in brain research explained and illustrated, and implications for the place of music, it study and practice presented.

It is a relevant, exciting and contemporary course.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 03-20-17

Interesting, Informative & free of jargon -however

This is an interesting, informative book and thankfully without jargon - the author reads it well and so it is also easy to listen to.

However, it was rather frustrating to see that this is a missed opportunity to include music outside the western classical music. I've just recently listened to The Practice of Practice by Johnathan Harnum and it was brilliant in including all kinds of musicians and all kinds of music in that book. Therefore, I do think the bar has been raised and it is disappointing that while the author talks about 'musicality' at the start of the book (and that is one the BIG reasons why music is so fascinating for us) but he doesn't really elaborate on those research and examples that are more universal.

Other than that, it was an enjoyable book and easy to listen and understand.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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