Reviews: THE MUSIC INSTINCT : How music works and why we can’t live without it

The Music Instinct: How music works, and why we can't do without it. A book by Philip Ball.

“[A] wonderful account of why music matters, why it wrenches our souls and satisfies our minds and sometimes drives us crazy… I defy anyone to read this book without coming away better informed about why music affects us in such a profound way… His passion for music is evident on every page.” Sunday Times

“Learned while never less than absorbing… Ball can truly make scholarship sing.” Boyd Tonkin, Independent

“Ball’s book towers above the competition with its erudition, balance, and attention to detail… This is the most accessible, comprehensive, and provocative investigation of the science of music – and its limits – yet to be written.” Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“One of his great strengths, besides the breadth and solidity of his knowledge, is his consistent refusal to turn intriguing but incomplete evidence into glib take-home stories… publishing would be a far better place if popular science books were all as truly scientific in spirit as this one.” Marek Kohn, Independent

“Sends the reader back to the music a better listener.” The Observer

“He writes equally authoritatively about classical music, jazz, pop and rock’… [a] remarkable capacity to use words to open our ears.” The Sunday Telegraph

“Ball handles a mammoth task with enviable ease and exactness.” Sunday Herald

“Impressingly engaging… It will be the rare music-lover who does not come away without having learned many interesting things.” The Guardian

“The Music Instinct offers an expansive and high-level overview of a complex field. Ball is both an enthusiastic writer about music and a passionate listener engaged with its emotional meaning as much as with its intellectual puzzles.” Nature

“He appears to have heard everything and dismissed nothing. Bestriding with equal ease the very different disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, history and neurology, [Ball] answers con amore the questions posed in the subtitle of this important book. A remarkable achievement.” Classic FM Magazine

“An impressively detailed book that will open your ears and mind to the sounds around you.” The Big Issue

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Bodley Head (February 2010) ISBN 1-847-92088-8
US edition published by OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS (September 2010)

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