creative [kree-ey-tiv]: adjective. Synonyms: clever, cool, innovative, inspired, prolific, stimulating.

criticism [krit-uh-siz-uhm]: noun. The act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

5 Dec 2010

The World in Six Songs - Daniel J. Levitin

This book was written by Daniel J. Levitin, the author of This is Your Brain on Music and the dude who runs the Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill University (that's in Canada!). Impressed yet?
Anyways, this book is all about the whys of songs. It explores the six major "types" of songs that exist (Friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion and love songs), with plenty of examples and explanations of their significance.
There's a bit of a name-dropping feel at times - Sting's name pops up everywhere, and at one point the phrase "While I was dining with Joni Mitchell at an outdoor restaurant once," shows up, I shit you not (see page 132) (There's also a very handy index at the back, to track all the famous names peppered through the 289 pages of this book). Also, there's plenty of anecdotes about the author's life experiences that relate to the content of the book, which made for an even more interesting read. 
I also spotted quite a few references to Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, most notably in the Religion Songs chapter, where Levitin writes "that religion is more than a meme [...] and may have an evolutionary basis."
All and all, a good book, a 781 on the Dewey system, which means that it's a book about Arts, more specifically Music's General Principles and musical forms. Um, I'm not sure it's been labeled quite right?

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