Why have all human cultures - today and throughout history - made music? Why does music excite such rich emotion? How do we make sense of musical sound?
These are questions that have, until recently, remained mysterious. Now The Music Instinct explores how the latest research in music psychology and brain science is piecing together the puzzle of how our minds understand and respond to music. Ranging from Bach fugues to nursery rhymes to heavy rock, Philip Ball interweaves philosophy, mathematics, history and neurology to reveal why music moves us in so many ways.
Without requiring any specialist knowledge, The Music Instinct will both deepen your appreciation of the music you love, and open doors to music that once seemed alien, dull or daunting, offering a passionate plea for the importance of music in education and in everyday life.
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Wonderful account of why music matters... one of the finest and most versatile of current non-fiction writers - Sunday Times
Exemplary... In contemplating the mysteries of music we are also contemplating the mystery of ourselves... Ball, thankfully, doesn't try to provide any easy answers, but rather sends the reader back to the music a better listener - Observer
This is a truly fascinating and eye-opening account of a phenomenon so commonplace we barely think about it, yet one which is also mind-bogglingly complicated. Once you've read The Music Instinct, you'll never listed to music the same way again - Independent
A musical experience in itself...his love of the subject is abundantly evident.. His mastery of many scientific disciplines is a delight - Daily Telegraph
Impressively engaging...it will be the rare music lover that does not come away without having learned many interesting things - Guardian
Ball....proves as comfortable discussing the science of music as its cultural and artistic dimensions... This thought-provoking book answers many questions, and leaves a few hanging tantalisingly behind as well - Financial Times
Remarkable capacity to use words to open our ears - Sunday Telegraph
This book surveys current thinking and tells you why music rocks - The Times
Bestriding with equal ease the very different disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, history and neurology, the author answers com amore the questions posed in the subtitle of this important book. A remarkable achievement. - Classic FM Magazine
The author breaks new (to me) ground - Sunday Telegraph
As prolific as he is profound, Philip Ball weaves science into culture with a dexterity and virtuosity that avoid any sense of overstretch... Ball can truly make scholarship sing. - Independent
Philip Ball is a freelance writer and a consultant editor for Nature, where he previously worked as an editor for physical sciences. He writes regularly in the scientific and popular media, and his many books on scientific subjects include Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads To Another, which won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books. His latest books include The Music Instinct, Universe of Stone: Chartres Cathedral and the Triumph of the Medieval Mind, Unnatural: The Heretical Idea of Making People and Curiosity. Philip obtained a PhD in physics from the University of Bristol, where he also played a lot of music.