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A delightful journey through the psychology and science of music, Why You Love Music is the perfect book for anyone who loves a tune. Music plays a hugely important role in our emotional, intellectual, and even physical lives. It impacts the ways we work, relax, behave, and feel. It can make us smile or cry, it helps us bond with the people around us, and it even has the p A delightful journey through the psychology and science of music, Why You Love Music is the perfect book for anyone who loves a tune. Music plays a hugely important role in our emotional, intellectual, and even physical lives. It impacts the ways we work, relax, behave, and feel. It can make us smile or cry, it helps us bond with the people around us, and it even has the power to alleviate a range of medical conditions. The songs you love (and hate, and even the ones you feel pretty neutral about) don't just make up the soundtrack to your life -- they actually help to shape it. In Why You Love Music, scientist and musician John Powell dives deep into decades of psychological and sociological studies in order to answer the question "Why does music affect us so profoundly?" With his relaxed, conversational style, Powell explores all aspects of music psychology, from how music helps babies bond with their mothers to the ways in which music can change the taste of wine or persuade you to spend more in restaurants. Why You Love Music will open your eyes (and ears) to the astounding variety of ways that music impacts the human experience.


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A delightful journey through the psychology and science of music, Why You Love Music is the perfect book for anyone who loves a tune. Music plays a hugely important role in our emotional, intellectual, and even physical lives. It impacts the ways we work, relax, behave, and feel. It can make us smile or cry, it helps us bond with the people around us, and it even has the p A delightful journey through the psychology and science of music, Why You Love Music is the perfect book for anyone who loves a tune. Music plays a hugely important role in our emotional, intellectual, and even physical lives. It impacts the ways we work, relax, behave, and feel. It can make us smile or cry, it helps us bond with the people around us, and it even has the power to alleviate a range of medical conditions. The songs you love (and hate, and even the ones you feel pretty neutral about) don't just make up the soundtrack to your life -- they actually help to shape it. In Why You Love Music, scientist and musician John Powell dives deep into decades of psychological and sociological studies in order to answer the question "Why does music affect us so profoundly?" With his relaxed, conversational style, Powell explores all aspects of music psychology, from how music helps babies bond with their mothers to the ways in which music can change the taste of wine or persuade you to spend more in restaurants. Why You Love Music will open your eyes (and ears) to the astounding variety of ways that music impacts the human experience.

30 review for Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica--The Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds

  1. 4 out of 5

    David

    This is the 55'th book I have read about music. It is, without a doubt, the most engaging and most enjoyable book about music that I have read. It is not about music per se, rather it is about the psychology of listening to music. I love it. The book opens with an interesting statistical correlation linking personality types to different music genres. Then the book describes a fascinating experiment, where different types of music were played in a supermarket, to understand the influence on wine This is the 55'th book I have read about music. It is, without a doubt, the most engaging and most enjoyable book about music that I have read. It is not about music per se, rather it is about the psychology of listening to music. I love it. The book opens with an interesting statistical correlation linking personality types to different music genres. Then the book describes a fascinating experiment, where different types of music were played in a supermarket, to understand the influence on wine purchases. German music induced greater sales of German wines, while French music induced purchases of French wines. Classical music induced more sales of expensive wines. Wine taste tests showed that playing heavy or light music induced subjective observations of wines being "heavy" or "light". In restaurants, slow music induces slower bites and greater spending on drinks. The book describes seven basic psychological mechanisms for producing emotions through music. These seven mechanisms can be useful for survival in non-musical contexts. The unstated implicit deduction is that perhaps evolution, in furthering survival, also plays a hand in generating emotional responses to music. The book describes how we like music that has repetitions. Music with repetitions is much more memorable, and sets up a context for unexpected contrasts. Music has been proven to be a good therapy for many physical and mental disorders--so long as the patient chooses the music. Without the benefit of choice, music can be detrimental. The so-called "Mozart Effect" works by putting you into an enjoyable state of mind. Any upbeat music or even listening to a Stephen King can potentially have the same effect. What surprised me, was a statistical analysis that found there is no correlation between music skills and mathematical ability. It is difficult to figure out cause and effect between music skills and intelligence. There are no strong correlations. Musically-trained people have better listening skills, a better memory for things heard, better language ability, and better visuo-spatial skills. There is some evidence that musical training does lead to a slight increase in IQ. Film soundtracks have been shown to influence viewers, changing their opinions of the characters. Sometimes music alone is more effective than the dialogue in getting a desired message across. I was flabbergasted to read that in 2015, the song "Happy Birthday" was ruled not to be under copyright. It is the most-sung song ever. There is an interesting chapter on counterpoint--although for some reason, that term is not used. The chapter describes how the mind sorts out melodies, when multiple melodies are playing. Most of all, I loved the humor that shines through everywhere in the book. As one example, Sir Thomas Beecham described the harpsichord as sounding like "two skeletons copulating on a tin roof during a thunderstorm." Well, maybe this isn't the best example, but the humor puts me into a wonderful frame of mind for reading this excellent book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    I received this in exchange for an honest review via Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you the author, John Powell, and the publisher, John Murray, for this opportunity. This non-fiction is an absolute delight to behold! The focus is, as the title so aptly describes, on analyzing the impact music has on our emotions, intelligence, health and daily lives. It is structured into accessible chapters that can be either read in chronological order, or dipped into according to preference. I found the book abso I received this in exchange for an honest review via Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you the author, John Powell, and the publisher, John Murray, for this opportunity. This non-fiction is an absolute delight to behold! The focus is, as the title so aptly describes, on analyzing the impact music has on our emotions, intelligence, health and daily lives. It is structured into accessible chapters that can be either read in chronological order, or dipped into according to preference. I found the book absolutely fascinating. Some non-fiction can come across as rather dry, but here the subject matter was approached with hilarity and a conversational tone. The author is obviously very learned in the field, and a number of other essays, experts and experiments are sourced, yet this never sinks into an essay-like format with an over-complicated and outdated tone. This feels fresh, relevant, and I can imagine will be of interest to almost anyone! Oh, and did I mention that this is HILARIOUS! I was completely sucked in and I don't think I have ever read a non-fiction as fast before. This was compelling reading that I would recommend to music lovers of any genre.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael Ritchie

    Very disappointing book that, for my money, doesn't come close to fulfilling its subtitle. The first half is moderately interesting as he discusses, in layman's terms, the various ways music moves us and the kind of music theory aspects involved (repetition, surprise, etc.). Then the book slips into a more jargon-filled mode with lots of references to scientific/academic experiments. His musical references are uninspiring (despite the subtitle, I don't he ever mentions Metallica) and he doesn't Very disappointing book that, for my money, doesn't come close to fulfilling its subtitle. The first half is moderately interesting as he discusses, in layman's terms, the various ways music moves us and the kind of music theory aspects involved (repetition, surprise, etc.). Then the book slips into a more jargon-filled mode with lots of references to scientific/academic experiments. His musical references are uninspiring (despite the subtitle, I don't he ever mentions Metallica) and he doesn't even touch on the importance of things like lyrics and context. And his version of "Baa Baa Black Sheep" which he lays out and uses to explain some of his points is most certainly not song I grew up singing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This was a very informative and enjoyable read. It supported my belief music can do so many positive things, improve mood, reduce boredom, reduce perceived pain. Also, through science the author made the case for the truth; great performances are the result of a lot of repetitions and detailed hard work. Singing in a communal setting as I do binds you together and encourages you to help each other if things start to go badly. The author is a physicist and classically trained musician. Recommende This was a very informative and enjoyable read. It supported my belief music can do so many positive things, improve mood, reduce boredom, reduce perceived pain. Also, through science the author made the case for the truth; great performances are the result of a lot of repetitions and detailed hard work. Singing in a communal setting as I do binds you together and encourages you to help each other if things start to go badly. The author is a physicist and classically trained musician. Recommended reading for musicians of any level or those that love music with all the emotions it provokes.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nana

    Imagine this as a 3 1/2 star rating - I saw this book on the "New Books" page of my local library site and as a music lover I instantly put it on hold. The concept - exploring the psychology, sociology and science of why it is certain music appealed to us, sounds intriguing enough, and the first half/third is very interesting about how music affects us from a psychological standpoint. I spent a lot of time going "OHHHH, that's what that is!", which was enjoyable. Powell is casual and funny in hi Imagine this as a 3 1/2 star rating - I saw this book on the "New Books" page of my local library site and as a music lover I instantly put it on hold. The concept - exploring the psychology, sociology and science of why it is certain music appealed to us, sounds intriguing enough, and the first half/third is very interesting about how music affects us from a psychological standpoint. I spent a lot of time going "OHHHH, that's what that is!", which was enjoyable. Powell is casual and funny in his tone, and breaks down a lot of probably very complicated and scientifically worded studies into something the average reader could understand. He is very good at this and I enjoyed this part of the book. The about second half is where it fell flat for me - unless you have an appreciation for the technical aspects in music (musical scales, notes, timbre, melody etc etc) which I don't, I just like the music I like, then like me you may get bored or lost. Someone who actually knows the mechanics would probably get a way better appreciation than I did.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Gonçalves

    A fascinating approach to the phenomena of music.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ken Yuen

    Pretty neat book covering music as a topic. One problem I have with psych stuff is that sometimes stuff I learn feels so intuitive that I'm not sure if I'm really picking up on anything novel. I did skip the fiddly more technical bits toward the end.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    Generally, most people enjoy music. Of course, some more than others; but when is the last time you heard someone say that they hate music? Probably, never. So, the question is why on a psychological or biological level do we enjoy it? John Powell wondered this same question and attempts to explore it in, “Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica – the Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds”. Powell’s “Why You Love Music” is a conglomerate of pop psych, theory, science (neuroscience), and cognit Generally, most people enjoy music. Of course, some more than others; but when is the last time you heard someone say that they hate music? Probably, never. So, the question is why on a psychological or biological level do we enjoy it? John Powell wondered this same question and attempts to explore it in, “Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica – the Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds”. Powell’s “Why You Love Music” is a conglomerate of pop psych, theory, science (neuroscience), and cognition studies focusing on the various aspects of music -- from lyrics to musical roles and everything in between. Powell explores and breaks down the reasons why we enjoy music in terms of brain and mental responses. Initially, “Why You Love Music” begins in a slightly overwhelming manner without Powell introducing the topic which makes his writing style feel cluttered and loud. This evens out as Powell finds his footing and the reader becomes used to the presentation. One will find that “Why You Love Music” is more of an explanation-type book where Powell (who is not a psychologist) explains the experiments/results of the field without having done any first-hand primary work. Not to mention, Powell clearly strives to capture the general pop psych audiences so the text serves as an introduction versus truly diving deep into the topics discussed. This does result in a very accessible and easy-to-understand piece expressed in laymen’s terms versus technical jargon that satisfies the average reader; but, it may not be suited for an expert. On the other hand, Powell certainly knows what he is talking about and understands the material himself (Powell has a Masters in Music) which results in efficient educating of the reader with both ‘fun facts’ and more elaborate hypotheses. Even though Powell’s writing is enjoyable; sometimes he is ‘cheesy’ and tries too hard to be a comedian which seems to be a common trend in pop psych books. This may cause some rolling of the eyes among readers. One of the major positives of “Why You Love Music” is its comprehensive and all-encompassing look at the topic. Powell traverses all angles and focuses thoroughly on one topic before moving on but knows how to fit a lot of material into the work making “Why You Love Music” a compelling read. It should be noted that some of the examples used in “Why You Love Music” are directed at British readers and may be slightly lost on the American audience. This, however, doesn’t negatively affect the book too much. At the 125 page mark, “Why You Love Music” completely changes gears leaving the psychology behind and instead focuses on music theory, composition, what makes music, and the presentation of music. Not only does this subject change make this half of Powell’s work feel like an entirely new work but as does the pace which slows drastically for those readers not interested in these technical aspects. This is not cohesive and brings “Why You Love Music” down as it is no longer even related to the title. The concluding chapter of “Why You Love Music” summarizes the first half of the book (thereby answering the title) but, at this point, some of the pizzazz is lost by the second half digression. Powell never truly recovers some of the lost readers and thus the ending is not memorable. Powell offers an appendix he terms, ‘Fiddly Details’ which explains timbre, post-skip reversal, harmonizing, hidden harmonies, and scales & keys. “Why You Love Music” also includes some suggestions for musical listening and viewing, references, and some notes. “Why You Love Music” is an interesting book which begins strongly exploring the psychological connection to music in an accessible and even slightly humorous way. Sadly, Powell takes a detour in the second half which is not as appealing for less technical readers and gravely effects the overall readability of “Why You Love Music”. Even those interested in the second half have to admit that it doesn’t have to do with the book title and is more like Powell’s previous book, “How Music Works”. Either way, “Why You Love Music” is not terrible and is suggested for pop psych readers who are lovers of music searching for a quick read (about 2 days).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I love music so when I saw this book, I instinctively bought it. I enjoyed the first 100 pages where Powell wrote about the emotional side of music including the meanings it gives to those of us who love it. And I also like how there were a number of Powell's personal music recommendations sprinkled throughout the book. I'm always up for discovering new music! All that said, I did not enjoy the bulk of the book that dealt with notes, instruments, tunes etc. It all got a bit too technical and bori I love music so when I saw this book, I instinctively bought it. I enjoyed the first 100 pages where Powell wrote about the emotional side of music including the meanings it gives to those of us who love it. And I also like how there were a number of Powell's personal music recommendations sprinkled throughout the book. I'm always up for discovering new music! All that said, I did not enjoy the bulk of the book that dealt with notes, instruments, tunes etc. It all got a bit too technical and boring for me so I skipped a lot of it. I've taken music lessons numerous times in the past and that stuff bores me to tears (sorry!) But if you're interested in that aspect of music, I'm sure you'd like it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Macayla Fryc

    Boy did I struggle with this book. I couldn't even get to the fascinating science without having to maneuver around the author's sarcasm, snarky comments, and attempt at wit. The author may have the qualifications to write about music and psychology, but the writing style makes it sound like a college kid writing an essay. One that goes on, and on, and on...

  11. 4 out of 5

    C B

    Occasionally amusing, and it successfully helped me grasp some concepts I've previously found elusive, but I frequently zoned out during much of the second half and I don't really understand why I love music any better than I did before.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This book is written for the non-expert and the author explains every term he uses. I found this very useful since I know nothing about music theory. I did play the recorder when I was in primary school (and got pretty good at Men of Harlech!) and sang in church/school choirs. I have had that 'goosebumps' feeling when listening to music or when singing in a group. However I was interested to know a bit more about why music means so much to us humans. He gives plenty of practical examples, such a This book is written for the non-expert and the author explains every term he uses. I found this very useful since I know nothing about music theory. I did play the recorder when I was in primary school (and got pretty good at Men of Harlech!) and sang in church/school choirs. I have had that 'goosebumps' feeling when listening to music or when singing in a group. However I was interested to know a bit more about why music means so much to us humans. He gives plenty of practical examples, such as an experiment which showed how music affects the way we shop. Music in different styles was played in the wine section of a supermarket. People chose more expensive wine when classical music was being played - he suggests that perhaps it makes us feel more ‘posh’. Also more German wine was bought when German music was played. He also talks about how music therapy was developed after WW2 and how music can still be used now to support people with depression and anxiety. He tells an amusing story about how much he hates the music his dentist uses in the surgery (designed to calm his patients down!) but more seriously he says that people need to choose their own music if they use it for mood-changing purposes, since we all react in such a personal fashion to music. He covers how music can improve attention and help with pain. We can remember things more easily if set to music (eg the alphabet song taught to young children) and this can help patients who have had a stroke - he talks of a patient who could not speak but could sings a few words of his favourite song and the speech therapist worked with him until he could sing the whole song. There is apparently no such thing as the Mozart Effect, but any music that you enjoy will enhance your creativity. Any type of music will distract you from 'thinking tasks' when compared to working in silence, but it will help mask other distractions or background noise. Bad news for teenagers who say they can’t do their Maths homework without music blasting out in the background! He gives a lot of technical detail about how notes are formed, how the ear hears them and so on. I must admit, some of that went over my head (no pun intended!). This is partly because he refers to diagrams of sound waves which are given in the book, but I was listening to an audiobook version. I didn’t have access to the accompanying pdf at the time, so I couldn’t follow it very well. But he explains why some notes naturally seem to go together and others clash, and so on. One interesting element was about synchronisation. If we are watching a video recording that has got slightly out of sync between the pictures and the sound, then our brains can cope with up to a quarter of a second of delay. This is because light travels faster than sound so, in our normal world we are used to the idea that the sound of something might reach us slightly after we see it happening. Our brains adjust and can identify the two as being the same incident. Also sound is processed faster in the brain than sight, which helps to compensate. One interesting section was where he discusses whether there is such a thing as natural musical prowess, and comes to the conclusion that practice matters more than talent. What we describe as a natural musical ability in someone is probably down to an inborn interest in music (plus possibly pushy parents!) to ensure the practice actually happens. A segment that touches very directly on why we love music concerns how our brains react when we listen to it. The brain has an area which predicts the outcome of anything. This would have been a survival tactic in the early days of humans, when surprises were often of the sabre-toothed variety. When we listen to music we predict how it is going to go, what the next note is going to be, and we get a shot of dopamine when we are right. That's why we like music that doesn't just hit every beat straight on, but is syncopated. It's also why Europeans might struggle with music from other parts of the world. He talks about the typical patterns of European music and how this differs from, for example, music in the Indian tradition. The last hour of the audiobook is, as he describes it himself, the fiddly technical bits, and you could stop without listening to that if you were short of time, but a music enthusiast would perhaps find it interesting. I learned a lot from this book and it maintained a good balance of readability with solid evidence to support his theories. I would definitely read more of John Powell’s work.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elise

    In this non-fiction book, John Powell explains the physics behind music, and all the things that tug at our heartstrings when we hear particular songs. We learn how music can influence our emotions, and how our brain is an absolutely unbelievably wonderful thing for being able to understand music at all. We learn that hearing our car turn signal going "tick-tock" is an illusion, and I am now obsessed with this. It is in parts a bit of a dry subject (learning about scales, octaves, hertz and relat In this non-fiction book, John Powell explains the physics behind music, and all the things that tug at our heartstrings when we hear particular songs. We learn how music can influence our emotions, and how our brain is an absolutely unbelievably wonderful thing for being able to understand music at all. We learn that hearing our car turn signal going "tick-tock" is an illusion, and I am now obsessed with this. It is in parts a bit of a dry subject (learning about scales, octaves, hertz and relative frequencies), but Powell inserts shots of humour regularly throughout his writing, so it's never terrible to read. I never felt like giving up on it (though full disclosure, I did not read the annexes). Plus he introduced me to this wonderful bird, so 5 stars just to that video!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bernadette Russo

    John Powell’s captivating book, Why You Love Music, digs deep into the minds of all to uncover why some musical elements make us cry, laugh, and love. This book promises to strengthen our knowledge on music, and focuses on the big question: Why? Why does a certain beat make us feel nostalgic, or why are we more focused under the influence of different styles of music. Powell’s intent is to inform readers of musical elements we would never even know to think of, and how those elements affect our John Powell’s captivating book, Why You Love Music, digs deep into the minds of all to uncover why some musical elements make us cry, laugh, and love. This book promises to strengthen our knowledge on music, and focuses on the big question: Why? Why does a certain beat make us feel nostalgic, or why are we more focused under the influence of different styles of music. Powell’s intent is to inform readers of musical elements we would never even know to think of, and how those elements affect our lives. For example, who would have thought that repeating the chorus in songs trains our minds to get those top charts tunes stuck in our heads? I can gladly say that the author accomplishes what he set out to accomplish through this book. After reading, I definitely was more informed than I ever was before about music. This book made me learn so many different theories and ideas about how music can make me feel emotionally, intellectually, and even physically. He puts the words on the page in a way that makes everyone want to keep reading and learn more, because he explains topics that actually relate to our everyday lives. Of course, Powell can’t just be putting incorrect words on the page. In fact, he is a scientist and a musician that has a PhD in physics from the Imperial College at London University and from the University of Sheffield, a master’s degree in music. He’s definitely not an uncultured guy when it comes to the whole music deal (and no, he’s not the John Powell that scored the How to Train Your Dragon movies). Powell makes this book very humorous and easily relatable. It has a very amusing tone; so it won’t make one fall asleep, but will keep them more engaged instead. With non-fiction, factual, books like these, one has to find some sort of relation to the reader to keep them interested. Powell does just that by referencing to both old and new music artists that everyone, old and young, has heard. Also, he has exercises to do at home involving counting beats, or even looking up a song on the internet. This is extremely important for the sake of grasping the reader’s attention because reader involvement keeps interest. My favorite part of this book was a section called Are You Musically Talented? It surrounded the components of being musically talented, and if anyone is really born that way. I learned that having musical talent takes practice and dedication. Studies have shown that the people who take the most time to practice and become higher leveled are the most musically talented people. In spite of that, the people who only spend a small amount of time practicing are less likely to be musically talented and are ranked lower than those who are committed. There was a rank of A to E; A being the musicians who are training to be professionals, and E being the group who had started a musical instrument but had given up on it. The group A people spent more time practicing and were at a higher level in a shorter amount of time than all of the other groups. I thought this section was profoundly interesting being that, I play the guitar and have now noticed that the more time I spend practicing, the greater results I get. Furthermore, I also found how handy the footnotes at the bottom of some pages are. Whenever there was a word or song that Powell thought most people wouldn’t know, there was an asterisk next to it and an explanation at the bottom. This is so helpful for us, because we don’t know everything and are probably confused at times in this book. That extra clarification goes a long way. Though I don’t particularly have a least favorite part, if I had to choose it would be that sometimes throughout the book there would be intricate pieces surrounding more musical science than psychology. At times it got a little confusing, but the author kept repeating the theories and used pictures to help us get a better comprehension. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of pictures and illustrations, whether it’s about science, or just a brain teaser. Personally, I think that pictures in these types of books are a really great enhancement that make it less complicated to read. I would honestly not change a single thing about this book. Everything was put together so well and formed to create a really well-rounded book. It was beautifully cited, with an entire section at the back dedicated to the sources from each chapter and idea. Along with that, there is a section called “Fiddly Details” at the end that went into even more depth about the sometimes confusing musical terms that were mentioned. I would recommend this book to anyone that simply loves music, and people who love psychology. I was at a bookstore when I first was introduced to it, and I saw the title and was instantly hooked. So, I bought it, and this book exceeded my expectations so much; I really did enjoy every single part of it and hope whoever decides to read this thinks the same. However, this is more of an informative book than a story, so I would shy away from this if that is not what you like to read. Why You Love Music opened my mind tremendously to the music world. It was so riveting to learn that classical music in restaurants makes you want to buy more expensive items on the menu. It’s funny how real world topics like that are dependent on music; it really makes you realize just how much music is used in our everyday lives.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Letitia Moffitt

    A little glib and scattered at times, but overall an engaging and accessible book about music and the mind.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rex

    Even better than the first work. Examples rich and covers almost all genres.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liv Caks

    A phenomenal read! I was so enticed by all of Powell’s outlay of information intertwined with his humour. Definitely worth the read - especially if you’re a musician or have a keen interest in music.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Sporadically interesting.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    I absolutely love music, but I’m not a musician. Most of Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica--The Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds was fascinating, but there were a few chapters that went completely over my head. I absolutely love music, but I’m not a musician. Most of Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica--The Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds was fascinating, but there were a few chapters that went completely over my head.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Scott Lake

    The high watermarks; if more than one is allowed; for books on this topic are by Diane Ackerman in her "A Natural History of the Senses" and Daniel Levitin's "This is Your Brain on Music". This book should at least reference those and it doesn't. It falls quite short by comparison to either of those two books. Haven't read either of those? Do so before reading this. Or perhaps not-read this first to prepare.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Godfrey

    This was an interesting book brimming with British humor. I didn't rate this book 5 stars since there were some musical terms/jargon I didn't understand since I'm not musically inclined. The first half the book is good for people like me who greatly appreciates music, but is not musical by any means, while the second half the book is more technical and resonates more with musicians.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christie Litchfield

    Received this book through an ARC. Interesting look at the ins and outs of what makes music and how that effects us through our emotions and connections.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jose Samper

    Interesting. Sometimes too technical.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Lockwood

    Excellent book. Fascinating stuff with an unexpected sense of humour.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ky Nam

    Why You Love Music by John Powell – How Science Shed an Amusing Light on Music Why do we love music? Whether we are pursuing a music career or whether we have no music lesson at all, most of us have tunes or genres which we love without knowing why. It seems merely natural for us just to feel how music affects our emotions. Is it important to know why we love music? Unlike food and money, music is not usually considered as something you need to survive. But if we have known how music has been appl Why You Love Music by John Powell – How Science Shed an Amusing Light on Music Why do we love music? Whether we are pursuing a music career or whether we have no music lesson at all, most of us have tunes or genres which we love without knowing why. It seems merely natural for us just to feel how music affects our emotions. Is it important to know why we love music? Unlike food and money, music is not usually considered as something you need to survive. But if we have known how music has been applied in many areas such as politics, business, psychology, and medicine to manipulate our behaviors and states of mind, we may change our viewpoint on music forever. These mind-blowing pieces of knowledge are introduced by John Powell in his book Why You Love Music. Humorously and insightfully, he represents his diligent research in a way that captivates readers of all music levels. Through this book, you will know that businessmen cunningly use background music to make us spend more, that governors use a certain kind of music to disperse or gather a crowd, and that music can cure Parkinson’s disease and control blood pressure. You may explore further to know why major keys are usually related to happiness while minor keys to sadness, regarding some fascinating mathematic and physical rules of sound waves. You will also be able to choose the appropriate background music while solving a problem or doing house chores. If you are a musician who is looking for new opportunities in the immense music industry, this book could be a good start for you to start exploring a career in multimedia music, music therapy, music production, and many others. John Powell shows that a musician can also be a scientist, a physician, or a historian. Even when you are going to take the traditional path of a performing musician or a music teacher, this book will perfectly serve you. Otherwise, if you do not take music as a serious career, you still find the book full of helpful fun facts that help you be a more avid music lover who can apply music in whatever profession you go into.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mike M

    Powell's book fulfills its intended purpose as a light and popular exploration of the psychological and sociological aspects of music. Personally, and unlike many readers here, I found the second half, where Powell discusses the intersection of physiology and musicology, to be the most interesting. I'm neither a musician nor a musicologist, so his explanation of Just and Equal Temperament was the first time the topic made sense to me. Also very satisfying was his plain and accessible assertion o Powell's book fulfills its intended purpose as a light and popular exploration of the psychological and sociological aspects of music. Personally, and unlike many readers here, I found the second half, where Powell discusses the intersection of physiology and musicology, to be the most interesting. I'm neither a musician nor a musicologist, so his explanation of Just and Equal Temperament was the first time the topic made sense to me. Also very satisfying was his plain and accessible assertion of why Serialism sucks, and his near-suggestion that movie music and minimalism saved classical music from the horrors of the Second Viennese School: now, considering my listening history, I can see why Koyaanisqatsi and The Draughtsman's Contract are such memorable movies for me. In the same chapter, he recounts his discovery of the music George Lloyd -- a nice touch, for an out-of-fashion composer who deserves more rediscovery. As for the humor: I like it; I seem to share with the author a fundamentally humorous view of the world. He's at his best when the humor is integral to his discussion (for example, comparing his efforts at composing a tune according to the "rules" to a "hymn for the patron saint of porridge manufacturers"); the jokes only seem to overreach when they appear as zingers tacked on at the end of some sections. In all, although I still don't understand why Baskery, Babymetal and Buxtehude can coexist in one playlist, I recommended this book for non-experts who've already given some thought to why they love music.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    At times this book made me feel like i was taking a music theory course. Not sure after reading it that the title and content match. I learned a lot about music but the book was different than i had expected. It was interesting enough to read entirely to the end but had i known the breadth of its content before i started it, I probably would not have decided to read it. I was expecting to read more about why people’s musical interests are so varied—the cover saying “from mozart to metallica” mad At times this book made me feel like i was taking a music theory course. Not sure after reading it that the title and content match. I learned a lot about music but the book was different than i had expected. It was interesting enough to read entirely to the end but had i known the breadth of its content before i started it, I probably would not have decided to read it. I was expecting to read more about why people’s musical interests are so varied—the cover saying “from mozart to metallica” made me think he wrote more about that aspect. He eluded to it at times, but not in the depth i wanted. I also didn’t care for all the humor—i like my non-fiction picks to be dry. Maybe thats a british thing? (It reminded me of a book by ozzy osbourne i read a few months ago).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lizaveta Litviniuk

    I took that book in the library and read only few pages, after what I got into it. However, this interest has disappeared in the middle of the book due to the numerous too scientific chapters. I really enjoyed reading first half of the book, since it was really answering the question "Why we love music" from the psychological and physiological sides of our life. Besides, it mesmerized me with the chapter with the explanations about how our ears work in terms of music hearing. I truly believe now I took that book in the library and read only few pages, after what I got into it. However, this interest has disappeared in the middle of the book due to the numerous too scientific chapters. I really enjoyed reading first half of the book, since it was really answering the question "Why we love music" from the psychological and physiological sides of our life. Besides, it mesmerized me with the chapter with the explanations about how our ears work in terms of music hearing. I truly believe now that everyone can produce music regardless of talent - it's all about the amount of practice and the level of determination.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    A good read, but a bit light on both the musical references and psychology. I suppose this was more pop-psych, and it makes for an easy read, but as someone with a classical music background and a deep interest in rock music, I was hoping for a bit more depth, be it on the physics of sound, or the basis of human psychology. The simplification seems like a citation of experiments that prove what one could assume: your teen music makes you happy because you choose it, studied by Prof X and what di A good read, but a bit light on both the musical references and psychology. I suppose this was more pop-psych, and it makes for an easy read, but as someone with a classical music background and a deep interest in rock music, I was hoping for a bit more depth, be it on the physics of sound, or the basis of human psychology. The simplification seems like a citation of experiments that prove what one could assume: your teen music makes you happy because you choose it, studied by Prof X and what did they find? That yes it did! A bit weak, like a high school research paper but without the element of needing to convince the audience of what they already believe.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Neer

    I enjoy music and it is a meaningful part of life but I have never thought about why I Love Music. This is a book with dry musical terms interspersed with wry humor and simple illustrations that helped explain above terms. I struggled to read the book, reading a few chapters and then putting it down for months, and picking it up again to do the same. However, chapter 14 How Musicians Push Our Buttons and the concluding chapter 15 "Why You Love Music" are worth the entire book.

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