* All human cultures seem to make music - today and through history. But why they do so, why music can excite deep passions, and how we make sense of musical sound at all are questions that have, until recently, remained profoundly mysterious. Now in The Music Instinct Philip Ball provides the first comprehensive, accessible survey of what is known - and what is still unknown - about how music works its magic, and why, as much as eating and sleeping, it seems indispensable to humanity.
* Even with what appear to be the simplest of tunes, the brain is performing some astonishing gymnastics: finding patterns and regularities, forming interpretations and expectations that create a sense of aesthetic pleasure. Without requiring any specialist knowledge of music or science, 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 Javanese gamelan, from nursery rhymes to heavy rock, Philip Ball interweaves philosophy, mathematics, history and neurology to reveal why music moves us in so many ways.
* The Music Instinct will not only deepen your appreciation of the music you love, but will also guide you into pastures new, opening a window on music that once seemed alien, dull or daunting. And it offers a passionate plea for the importance of music in education and in everyday life, arguing that, whether we know it or not, we can all claim to be musical experts.
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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
Remarkable capacity to use words to open our ears - Sunday Telegraph, Book of the Week
I defy anyone to read this book without coming away better informed about why music affects us in such a profound way... His passion for music is evident on every page, and his enthusiasms are infectious. - The Sunday Times
If you try listening to music after reading this book, you'll probably hear it differently - more knowingly, even - Telegraph
This book surveys current thinking and tells you why music rocks - Times
Fascinating - Waterstone's Book Quarterly
An intelligent and open-minded work - Word
Impressively engaging...it will be the rare music lover that does not come away without having learned meant interesting things - Guardian
Wonderful account of why music matters... one of the finest and most versatile of current nonfiction writers - Sunday Times
Publishing would be a far better place if popular science books were all as truly scientific in spirit as this - 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 The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature, H2O: A Biography of Water, The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science, and Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads To Another, which won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books. His latest books are The Sun and Moon Corrupted, a novel, Universe of Stone: Chatres Cathedral and the Triumph of the Medieval Mind, and Nature's Patterns. Philip obtained a PhD in physics from the University of Bristol - where he also played a lot of music.