The World in Six Songs  

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"Music is ... an efficient memory and information transmission system. We don't like because it is beautiful, we find it beautiful because those early humans who made good use of it were those who were most likely to be successful at living and reproduction." --p. 225 "In other words, as the philosopher Daniel Dennett points out, we don't think babies are cute because they are intrinsically or objectively cute (whatever that would mean).16 Rather, the process of evolution favored those people and their offspring who found babies cute, and in turn this characteristic became widely distributed in the population."--p.19; note the use of "successfull" and "evolution favored".

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature (2008) is a popular science book written by Daniel J. Levitin.

Levitin’s second New York Times bestseller, following the publication of This Is Your Brain on Music, received praise from a wide variety of readers including Sir George Martin, Sting, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Adam Gopnik.

The World in Six Songs combines science and art to reveal how music shaped humanity across cultures and throughout history. This book leans more heavily on anthropology and evolutionary biology than did This Is Your Brain On Music, which skewed more toward findings in psychoacoustics and neuroscience.

Levitin identifies six fundamental song functions or types (friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge, and love) then shows how each in its own way has enabled the social bonding necessary for human culture and society to evolve. He shows, in effect, how these six song types function in our brains to preserve the emotional and literal history of our lives and species. Levitin illuminates, through songs, how music has been instrumental in the evolution of language, thought and culture. Musical examples ranging from Beethoven to The Beatles, Busta Rhymes to Bach, are used to support the book's propositions.

Using cutting-edge scientific research from his music cognition lab at McGill University; his own experiences in the music business; and interviews with musicians such as Sting and David Byrne, as well as conductors, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists.

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