May 26, 2006

Near to my heart ... but not technically cog sci or librarian

... is Entertainment Weekly's list of the 25 Best Music Websites. The CogSci Librarian likes music quite a bit, and this list includes some old favorites and possibly some new ones.

To wit:

iTunes Music Store quoting EW "well, duh."
EMusic $9.99 a month for 40 iPoddable downloads from independent bands such as Hem, Apollo Nove, and Josh Rouse. 2006 Emusic favorite is Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins.
Pandora (blogged here earlier as the Music Genome Project)


Radio David Byrne
Smithsonian Global Sound
BBC Radio

Happy long weekend (in the US)!


Benjamin Russell said...

Well, I would hazard that the original work of the Music Genome Project at least purported to be about the neurosci reactions to matters of "taste". It may be a stretch, but there you are.

A recent article in The Telegraph is either advocating for or anticipating the results of a parallel "Book Genome Project" for neuroscientists, breaking down plot, character, prosody, et al into similar indentifiable "genes" to be tracked, and perhaps to be measured in a less commercial and more synaptic manner.

Naka Ishii said...

Just read a book by Daniel Levitan, This is Your Brain on Music. It's aimed at the general public, though he does include refs for each chapter at the end. Levitan is a former music producer and current researcher in music cognition at McGill.

He starts with a discussion of what music is, breaking it down into elements, discusses what parts of the brain handle which elements and how music and language are similarly processed, but also how they differ. He ends with a chapter arguing that music is not just a by-product of certain capabilities that we developed for other reasons, but that evolution of music has adaptive benefits, so is more important than some have proposed.

I found it fascinating, though a bit irritating - he provides examples to illustrate his points by referring to specific pieces of music which you may or may not know, so it was irritating when I didn't know the example he gave.

I am particularly interested in why we have the propensity for having music in our heads - this apparently differs a lot from person to person. Levitan doesn't address this in his book, and I was wondering if anyone has done research in this area. So far, I have found only one article which discusses it, and the researcher was his own subject. ("The Perpetual Music Track: The Phenomenon of Constant Musical Imagery" Steven Brown, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol 13(6), Jun 2006. pp. 43-62)

Anything to suggest?

Naka Ishii said...

Sorry - got the author's name wrong: It's Daniel Levitin. Here's his home page: