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Music on the Mind

We’ll speak with neuroscientist and music producer Daniel Levitin about his book, "This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of Human Obsession."

Music on the Mind

Tom Fudge:  This is your brain on music.  So do you like that?  Well, if you don't, you can be assured that somebody else does.  We may have different tastes in music, but the love of music seems to be a universal.  It's just part of being a human being.  Poets have rhapsodized about the power of music. It calms the savage beast, and so on.  But is there some scientific explanation for music's hypnotic affect on our brains?     

There is, although this is a question people are still trying to answer completely.  One of the major researchers in this subject is neurologist Daniel Levitin.  He's written a book that's called Your Brain on Music .  And he's uniquely qualified to study this subject.  In addition to being a scientist he's worked as a musician and a record producer.  He joins me from studios at McGill University, where he runs the Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition and Expertise.



  • Daniel Levitin runs the Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University. He is also a neuroscientist, musician and record producer. His book is called This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession.

Intro Music:   Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, from the album Out Of Our Heads (1965)

Music Clip 1:   Superstition by Stevie Wonder, from the album Talking Book (1972)

Music Clip 2:   Joanne by Michael Newsmith and the First National Band, from the album Magnetic South (1970)

Break Music:  All Blues by Miles Davis, from the album Kind of Blue (1958)


Music Clip 3:  Benny and the Jets by Elton John, from the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)

Music Clip 4:   Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

End Music:  Windy by The Association, from the album Insight Out (1967)