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"One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time." Carl Sagan

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why mix Science with Music & What is music?
This Is Your Brain On Music

This Is Your Brain On Music
By Daniel Levitin


This is your Brain on Music (The Science of Human Obsession) by Daniel J. Levitin

Daniel J. Levitin is a research scientist, musician, award-winning record producer, writer, and former Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Currently, he is an associate professor of psychology at McGill University, where he holds the Bell Chair in the Psychology of Electronic Communication and the FQRNT Strategic Chair in Psychology. He is an associate member of the Department of Music Theory, Program in Sound Recording, and Program in Music Technology at McGill. He earned his PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of Oregon (with a PhD minor in Music Technology), his BA from Stanford University in cognitive psychology (with honors and a minor in music), and did post-doctoral training in psychoacoustics and neuroimaging at Stanford University. Levitin served as vice president of artists and repertoire at 415/Columbia Records (now Sony Records) from 1984 to 1988, as president in 1989, and was instrumental in building the company to $20 million in annual sales. After 415, Levitin ran a successful production and consulting company whose clients included every major American record label and several film companies. From 1996 to 1998 he worked at Interval Research Corporation, the Silicon Valley think tank owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, collaborating with computer industry pioneers, including the inventors of the laptop computer, the laser printer, and the computer mouse. At Interval, Levitin developed new musical instrument controllers currently used by Laurie Anderson and Michael Brook. In 1999, Levitin helped to form one of the first internet music distribution companies, MoodLogic, Inc., for which he serves on the corporate advisory board. In 2000, Levitin helped to found McGill University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology. An avid writer, Levitin has published twenty-five peer-reviewed scientific articles and over 300 articles about music and music technology in commercial and trade magazines including Billboard, Electronic Musician, Mix, and Grammy. For his technical and marketing contributions to the recording industry, Levitin has been awarded twelve gold or platinum records, and two of his projects received Oscar nominations. He has consulted on underwater sound source separation for the U.S. Navy, and currently directs the McGill Laboratory for the Study of Music Cognition, Perception and Expertise. As a musician (tenor saxophone, guitar, and bass), he has performed with Mel Tormé, Nancy Wilson, and members of the Steve Miller Band and Santana. Check out Dr. Daniel J. Levitin’s websites at www.psych.mcgill.ca/levitin/ and www.yourbrainonmusic.com.

In the intro Dr. Levitin gives his background on how he came to love music. As a student he purchased a 100 dollar stereo ands started listening to all types of music. Later to keep his parents happy he agreed to use the headphones his father bought for him. Here is where he started to hear music in all its realm. Essentially he tells how music or sound gets directly translated into brain waves of similar frequency. Where as light also a frequency based creature gets converted from different frequencies into a mind construct known as colour. In the first section he begins a description about what  is music. By defining each musical term he gives a working vocabulary to the non-musically inclined. Pitch: psychological construct and has to do with the frequency of a note high or low frequencies correspond to high or low pitches. Rhythm: duration and grouping of notes. Tempo: overall speed of music. Contour: overall shape of music melody. Timbre (rhymes with amber) the quality of an instrument that lets one distinguish between them eg a piano and an organ. Loudness: how much air an instrument displaces i.e. the overall energy output or amplitude. Reverb: the perception of how far away the instrument is from listener. Meter: created by brain and derrived from info gathered involving rythym and loudness. Key: importance of certain notes within musical piece created in the mind. Melody: main theme of music and involving the most salient or memorable melody in song. Harmony: relationship between pitches of different tones.
11:06 pm edt 


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