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

The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do
  • Paperback
  • 452
  • The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It
  • Philip Ball
  • English
  • 22 December 2019
  • 0199896429

About the Author: Philip Ball

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10 thoughts on “The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It

  1. Elia says:

    Wow, i m super excited to review this book Overall, it was a really gratifying experience to read about music in such a scientific yet emotional manner I first started this book on a plane, and four hours later I didnt realize I had landed The first part is really breathtaking Around the middle, it becomes a little challenging because it defines the ease with which you can pusrue depending on your background If you have received some training in music, the theoretical part is just a refresh Wow, i m super excited to review this book Overall, it was a really gratifying experience to read about music in such a scientific yet emotional manner I first started this book on a plane, and four hours later I didnt realize I had landed The first part is really breathtaking Around the middle, it becomes a little challenging because it defines the ease with which you can pusrue depending on your background If you have received some training in music, the theoretical part is just a refreshment, if not, the book is so well written that it will take you a littletime to grasp the initial concepts but keep you in the loop for the whole book without feeling overwhelemed The author also adds that most of the pieces he discussses are available online with provided links so you would really feel what you are reading This book is an argumentative one, many theories and points of view are exposed while the author keeps his in the background The theme distribution and chronology is just perfect For all the music enthusiats, this book is worth it But I mean serious enthusiasts that are willing to persevere through a piece yo realize how rewarding it is in the end Highly highly recommended

  2. Rob Adey says:

    It s testament to Philip Ball s readability that I got through this book without skipping bits too badly But there s a lot of for a non musician technical detail here, and really you need to reading the book at a piano, or I suppose listening to an audio version with musical examples, to properly understand it I do all my reading on the tube, where pianos are frowned upon.

  3. David says:

    Why does music stir our emotions To what degree is our reaction to music innate, and to what degree is it learned These are the basic questions discussed here, with lots of psychology experiments that shed some light on the subject The book shows that even non musicians, people who do not overtly give music much thought, are experts in music Subconsciously, we learn about musical styles based on probabilities given a certain set of notes, we can guess what the next note might be We use the Why does music stir our emotions To what degree is our reaction to music innate, and to what degree is it learned These are the basic questions discussed here, with lots of psychology experiments that shed some light on the subject The book shows that even non musicians, people who do not overtly give music much thought, are experts in music Subconsciously, we learn about musical styles based on probabilities given a certain set of notes, we can guess what the next note might be We use these probabilities to base our expectations for what will come next in a piece of music The power of music, the spine tingling attraction, comes when the expectations are broken.The book pays attention not just to Western music, but also to music from around the world It is interesting to learn what aspects of musical styles are universal, and what aspects are particular to individual cultures.I also found it very interesting, how timbre and pitch affect the concepts of consonance and dissonance Dissonance is not an absolute given A pitch interval that is dissonant in the lower registers may sound consonant in upper registers And the degree of dissonance will depend on the timbre, that is to say, the set of overtones played by an instrument The subjective degree of tension that a listener feels can be predicted objectively by analysis of the interference overtones among successive notes.But what is most fascinating, is that music can be spine tingling even after listening to the same piece, over and over again How can music have this effect, when we know exactly what will happen next This seems to me to be a fundamental quandary, one that the book asks, but is not quite able to answer.If you are a musician, or if you can read music without too much difficulty, you will find special appeal to this book It is full of short excerpts from scores, that help you to understand the concepts

  4. Laurence says:

    explains why we are affected by music A Don t know , and a lot of music theory.Book was a present from Beatrice.Loved it, but found it difficult to finish waiting for the revelation, and the reveal was that there is no reveal A bit of a let down

  5. Liam says:

    Muchtechnical than I expected for a popular science book It takes pains to explain detailed technical language but I found myself deeply confused at times, having no almost no practical experience making music Of what I understood, I did get pleasure from the less technical chapters such as the one about the history of notation, and the parts addressing the warring avant gardists in the 20th century But the main draw of the book, the cognitive questions that the musical capacity raises, Muchtechnical than I expected for a popular science book It takes pains to explain detailed technical language but I found myself deeply confused at times, having no almost no practical experience making music Of what I understood, I did get pleasure from the less technical chapters such as the one about the history of notation, and the parts addressing the warring avant gardists in the 20th century But the main draw of the book, the cognitive questions that the musical capacity raises, seemed frustratingly inconclusive to me Could it be linked to the capacity for number The capacity for language Could it have evolved Ball seems a bit sheepish about putting his foot down when several experts disagree He begins the book by slamming Pinker s claim that music is just a pleasurable simultaneous stimulation of our different sensory channels an auditory cheesecake and a spandrel But from Ball s tepid overview of contradictory expert opinions, little seems to sink this hypothesis At least no good argument is given to think that the cognitive processing of music is a distinct unit in the mind as is language, as the title of the book would lead you to anticipate.I can reccommend this series for aaccessible rundown of musical theory

  6. Billy Maise says:

    52% confusing 35% already heard it before.13% interesting music information 100% eh.

  7. Jake Goretzki says:

    Very dense and thorough, but not an easy read and often a little frustrating One of the difficulties, I suppose, comes with reading about music you need to hear the music, right I often found myself clamoring forexamples and illustrations of points that he was making you d be in trouble if you couldn t read a bit of music with this, actually Amusingly too, way too many of the pop rock citations were dusty museum pieces Think This can be heard in the final cadence of Pink Floyd s Very dense and thorough, but not an easy read and often a little frustrating One of the difficulties, I suppose, comes with reading about music you need to hear the music, right I often found myself clamoring forexamples and illustrations of points that he was making you d be in trouble if you couldn t read a bit of music with this, actually Amusingly too, way too many of the pop rock citations were dusty museum pieces Think This can be heard in the final cadence of Pink Floyd s 1972 Curing My Insomnia but is also vividly echoed in Joe Cocker s 1971 number Christ Nobody Listens to That It s Not On Spotify I ve Checked I know it s about how music works, but I found that you could tell this was a science man and chemistry buff talking, sometimes losing the bigger picture and obsessively dissecting scales and tones for the sake of it It took me back to electron pair clouds At a certain point I found myself lost as to why we were taking so long to explain why the scale looked like it does and why we were now assigning chords roman numerals I guess apopulist book would stick to A B C D etc For me in fact the most thrilling point in the book came where he suggests that blues come from an attempt to marry an African slave imported scale to a Western one coming out with something fused Which is a wonderful idea, but isn t especially dwelt on This goes too for the neuroscience, which as ever comes with a giant asterisk saying Look, we don t really know yet Whenever I read about neuroscience it seems to mostly amount to some interesting observations, but, look, this is all guesswork To the extent where I d rather it just be whacked in to the postscript On the plus side, I like its anti elitism especially the knocking down of claims that instrumental music tells a semantic story and the deflating of absurd claims that certain Tchaikovsky symphonies reveal his latent homosexuality, etc etc Amazing that that nonsense is tolerated I also like its optimistic conclusion that we re all naturally musical to the extent that we can all spot patterns, feel rewarded by expectations met and jolted by expectations thwarted So, interesting, but a bit too micro for the lay reader There are a few titles I can think of three others out there at the moment How Music Works The Rest is Noise , etc that I suspect might deliver better on the brief

  8. Felix Hayman says:

    We dont really understand the neurological basis of musical appreciation, so here comes another book on why we listen to music from the musical perspective.It s a well written study across the technical basis of music but falls down in its appreciation of the neurological interface.If you have a musical background this is a good book for you to read, however, if you dont, forget it.It will come out as gobbledeegook and will confuse you further.Hey, it is worth a try

  9. Colin says:

    I couldn t work out who this was aimed at the overview of music theory seemed to be too rushed to really be comprehensible to someone without a good background knowledge, but the substance of the book really offered little beyond interesting anecdotes.

  10. Abraham Lewik says:

    It was a tough to finish Has a fascinating premise, little pockets of trivia, and a gruelling thorough investigation from the premise.