The World in Six Songs

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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

Dividing the sum total of human musical achievement, from Beethoven to The Beatles, Busta Rhymes to Bach, into just six fundamental forms, Levitin illuminates, through songs of friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion and love, how music has been instrumental in the evolution of language, thought and culture. And how, far from being a bit of a song and dance, music is at the core of what it means to be human.

A one-time record producer, now a leading neuroscientist, Levitin has composed a catchy and startlingly ambitious narrative that weaves together Darwin and Dionne Warwick, memoir and biology, anthropology and a jukebox of anecdote to create nothing less than the ‘ soundtrack of civilisation’.

© Daniel Levitin 2019 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Critics Review

  • A fantastic ride

    New Scientist
  • Masterful … Eminently enjoyable

    Los Angeles Times
  • Exquisitely well-written and easy to read, serving up a great deal of scientific information in a gentle way for those of us who are – or just think we are – a bit science-phobic

    Huffington Post
  • Fascinating. Provides a biological explanation for why we might tap our feet or bob our heads in time with a favorite song, how singing might soothe a baby, and how music emboldens soldiers or athletes preparing for conflict

    Associated Press
  • Why can a song make you cry in a matter of seconds? Six Songs is the only book that explains why

    Bobby McFerrin, ten-time Grammy Award-winning artist ("Don't Worry, Be Happy")
  • Fantastic

    New Scientist

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