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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Music in You

Over the weekend I heard two interesting programs that dealt in music. The first was Friday's "On Point." Host Tom Ashbrook interviewed Daniel J. Levitin, author of The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature. It is Levitin's contention that human beings are "hard-wired" for music, and that we are the only creatures that have and need music in our lives. It was a fascinating discussion. Levitin is also the author of This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, which we have in our collection [781.11 LEV]. Levitin has a musical background, as well as one in research at McGill University. Check out his website here.

If the topic interests you, I'd also suggest delving into Oliver Sacks' book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain [781.11 SAC]. Sacks was interviewed about Musicophilia earlier this year on NPR; you can listen here.

The other music related segment I heard this weekend was on "This American Life." (The segment was originally aired last year.) Writer, Starlee Kine examined what makes a good break-up song. She approached it in relation to her own break-up, and ended up writing a break-up song, "The Three of Us," with the help of professional songwriters. If you visit the website, you can hear the winners of a contest in which 129 groups/individuals interpreted "The Three of Us."

If you'd like to write your own song, borrow this book by Cliffie Stone: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Songwriting But Didn't Know Who to Ask [781.3 STO]. It should be good for a few pointers.

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