Reflections on the Musical MindAn Evolutionary Perspective

Reflections on the Musical MindAn Evolutionary Perspective

Jay Schulkin

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780691157443

Publisher: Princeton University Press


What's so special about music? We experience it internally, yet at the same time it is highly social. Music engages our cognitive/affective and sensory systems. We use music to communicate with one another—and even with other species—the things that we cannot express through language. Music is both ancient and ever evolving. Without music, our world is missing something essential. This book offers a social and behavioral neuroscientific explanation of why music matters. Its aim is not to provide a grand, unifying theory. Instead, it guides the reader through the relevant scientific evidence that links neuroscience, music, and meaning. It considers how music evolved in humans and birds, how music is experienced in relation to aesthetics and mathematics, the role of memory in musical expression, the role of music in child and social development, and the embodied experience of music through dance. It concludes with reflections on music and well-being. The book is a tour through the current research on the neuroscience of music.