Music and the Brain

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"This is your brain," the old saw might have gone. Simple. At rest. Blank. And this is your brain on music: Switched on, lit up, soaring, rocking.

Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin started out as a record producer, but couldn't get over the brain science of music. What it is, exactly, that enchants us in Mahler and Mozart, U2 and Gnarls Barkley.

For that matter, why do humans bang on drums, build temples for orchestras, stuff ear buds in their ears and groove?

It's obvious why we're into sex and food, but why music? Why its ubiquity and antiquity? Why our obsession, from clavichords to stadium rock?


Daniel J. Levitin, Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Music at McGill University and author of "This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession."

This program aired on August 18, 2006.


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