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This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Apr 26th, 2022

Many people love music in the society. Daniel J Levitin bought himself a stereo system when he was eleven years old despite its price. He earned the money to buy from weeding his neighbour’s garden. He used a lot of time listening to music records. He did not listen to loud music. This is remarkably different compared to the time he went to college. He started setting his loudspeakers at an extremely high volume. The parents even were complaining exceedingly much about this. The father bought him headphones to use whenever he was home. They significantly changed his way of listening to music. Headphones made music personal to him. It came from his head. Levitin’s perception to music leads him to further attaining a degree in neuroscience. He even goes ahead to becoming the head of the laboratory in music perception, cognition, and expertise in the University of McGill in Montreal. Chapter one deals mainly with the concepts of music such as rhythm, loudness, pitch, tone, and others. It also deals with complicated concepts like key, melody, and harmony.

The book begins when Levitin is a rock member. He later becomes a music producer and proceeds to a recording engineer. Levitin succeeds explaining issues in the book through giving examples from daily life and from well-known experts in music. The author declares that the writing of the book is not for specialist or colleagues. He declares that his point is not to develop the map of a brain, but it is to understand the working of a brain, and how the vibration of neurons and shuttling of neurotransmitters can lead to joy, or sadness, laughter, and thoughts.

How the brain works

The book “This is Your Brain in Music” is not difficult to understand. Therefore, it is comprehensive. This is due to its approach to music, or any discipline related to music. Also, levitin emphasises on the philosophy of the mind and the theory of evolution. The book mainly drives the point on how the music affects the brain, minds and, thoughts.

The work of explaining the principle of music to non-musicians is extremely difficult. The same case applies to explaining anatomy and chemistry of the brain especially to people who have no interest in science. Some readers find it to be exceedingly hard to understand terminology and concepts used to explain the basic brain concept. We do not hear the music. Rather, transmission of sound into the ear occurs when molecules vibrate at a certain frequency. The molecules bombard the ear drum which vibrates depending on how hard they hit it. On the contrary, the molecules do not have anything that identifies their origin or what they are in association with. This is an area that Levitin makes sure that science is understandable. He gives examples that ease understanding. In these chapters, readers start understanding no matter what their musical preferences are. It is clear that chapter two in this case deepens on the concepts of music.

Flow of music

Chapter three introduces philosophy of the mind and neology of the music. This is where debates by people with brain-minds about music brains take place. The prevailing view of the brain is that it works like a computer. A network connection to the neurons sends information to the brain which in turn leads to decisions, thoughts, and perceptions. There is no way that music or sound can flow from ear to the brain on its own route. Rather, the brain must send information about the sounds, and then integrate them into what they are. For example, a dog bark, a car horn, and many others.

Origin of music

The final chapter of the book might be the most interesting one. It brings arguments about the origin of sound. Some scientists argue that, music resulted from a happy accident or a by-product that no one planned for during the development of language. On the other hand, Levitin shows how music has played a significant role in human during evolution. He proposes arguments. Archaeological findings like bones and culture support the first and the second argument. Also, he shows how it improved early human interruptions. This last area is a bit discouraging especially to non-musicians, even in ancient time, those with musical instruments were desirable than non-musicians to females.

Levitin is remarkably successful. He achieves the almost impossible through discussing two ultra-technical subjects in the best way possible. He uses music to talk about the functioning of the brain.

In the remaining chapters, Levitin discusses cognitive model through considering processes of music both in mind and the brain. He makes it possible for people to understand the relationship of the brain with music. The examples that Levitin gives are a clear indication that, every reader is able to understand the functioning of brain by use of music. In conclusion, this book makes the writer a prominent author or a skilled person.

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