As publishers let forth pop neuroscience books in torrents, it’s nice to discover a book like Music, Language, and the Brain, an authoritative study by Aniruddh D. Patel that’s lucid enough to be readable but ambitious enough to be interesting.
Patel, a senior research fellow at the Neurosciences Institute, has written an engrossing and comprehensive treatment of one of the more exciting problems in neuroscience: the foundations of language and music in the brain. Patel argues, through seven meaty chapters ranging from studies of rhythm and melody to syntax and meaning, that cognitively and neurally, music and language are closely related, and that their relationship offers avenues for new neuroscience research. The book can be intimidating at times, but it’s also clearly delineated, making selective dipping a welcome possibility. But we suggest reading the whole thing—it’s hard to find a subject more fascinating than the intersection of these two peculiar habits of the human mind.
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