That Music Instinct

Daniel Levitin, professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience and music at McGill University is hosting a new two hour documentary on the science of music: The Music Instinct: Science and Song. It airs on PBS on June 24th and investigates music’s “fundamental physical structure, its biological, emotional, and psychological impact, its brain altering and healing powers, and its role in human evolution.”
Levitin is the author of The World in Six Songs (Dutton 2008) and This Is Your Brain On Music (Dutton Penguin 2006). According to Levitin “evolution may have selected individuals who were able to use nonviolent means like dance and music to settle disputes, and songs also serve as memory aides and as records of our lives and legends.”
Before hitting academia Levitin worked as a session musician, a commercial recording engineer, a live sound engineer, and a record producer for, among many bands, the Grateful Dead.

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