In the first comprehensive study of the relationship between music and language from the standpoint of cognitive neuroscience, Aniruddh D. Patel challenges the widespread belief that music and language are processed independently. Since Plato's time, the relationship between music and language has attracted interest and debate from a wide range of thinkers. Recently, scientific research on this topic has been growing rapidly, as scholars from diverse disciplines, including linguistics, cognitive science, music cognition, and neuroscience are drawn to the music-language interface as one way to explore the extent to which different mental abilities are processed by separate brain mechanisms. Accordingly, the relevant data and theories have been spread across a range of disciplines. This volume provides the first synthesis, arguing that music and language share deep and critical connections, and that comparative research provides a powerful way to study the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying these uniquely human abilities.
Winner of the 2008 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award
Similarities and Differences, Language and Music
By E. N. Anderson - August 29, 2008
This is the best book so far on language, the brain, and music. It is highly technical, especially the first five chapters. Nonspecialists with a serious interest can get through the last two ("Meaning" and "Evolution") but the first five are hard going unless you are fairly advanced. Patel reviews an enormous, and almost entirely very new, literature on similarities and differences at the micro level between language and music. Overall, music is clearly related to language in many ways, but equally clearly a separate realm--a different communicative modality. He also points out that music and its meanings are learned. We are not born knowing that minor key is "sad"; that's a recent west-European idea, unknown to the rest of the universe. We have to learn about the pastorality of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, and so on. On the other hand, lullabyes sound like mothers shushing their babies, and I would add that laments in every culture sound like ordinary weeping... read more
Music & Language: Heavy Brain Work
By M. Fischlowitz - January 1, 2008
I bought Dr. Patel's book because of my lifelong love of music, and interest in how we learn, remember, and communicate music. As a non-musician, but sometime writer, I also have the same deep interests in language.
This work is intended for the scholar, interested in learning about current research in acquisition of both language and music. In his introduction Dr. Patel clearly states that "...this book is written to be accessible to individuals with primary training in either music or language studies." This is an accurate description of the work. The book is densely annotated, an asset to scholars and researchers. The form of annotation, however, is a hindrance to fluid reading of the thesis of the work.
I had a particular interest in finding Dr. Patel's comments on memory for language and music. Although there is a complete index to this work, the word "memory" does not appear in it. Neither does the topic of Memory appear in the book's... read more
If you have to pick one book on the subject...
By Christopher Lavender - December 20, 2009
this is the book! Extremely well written and VERY thorough. Patel's "Music, Language, and the Brain" represents presumably most (if not all) of the data that has been found thus far at the crossroads of music, language, and cognition. It does get technical from time to time but we're dealing with a technical topic and as a musician with only cursory knowledge of linguistics and cognition I still found the technical data well presented and very understandable. There are small points here and there that I might disagree with (based on my experience as a musician) however in every case it is made clear that these points are hypotheses of the author and further research needs to be done. This book isn't for everyone but for those interested in what connections can currently be made, what connections can NOT be made and possible future research in the field of music/language cognition, this volume is complete and enjoyable!
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