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This Is Your Brain On Music

I'm reading a really interesting book right now: This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science Of A Human Obsession by Daniel Levitin. The author started out as a musician, then became a producer for several bands including Blue Oyster Cult.

His interest in how we perceive music and why some songs move us and others don't led Levitin back to school where he studied neuroscience. In his book Levitin examines why some of us seem to be born with musical ablity and others not, and why we like some forms of music and others not so much.

Here's an interesting factoid from the book for you: During the late Middle Ages musicians were baned by the Church from using the musical interval of an augmented fourth - the distance between C and F-sharp ( the interval in Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story when Tony sings the name Maria ). The interval was considered so dissonant that it had to be the work of the devil, and it was even named Diabolus in musica!

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