Official Review: The Science of Music and The Music of Sc...

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Official Review: The Science of Music and The Music of Sc...

Post by ViziVoir » 29 Jul 2019, 11:51

[Following is an official review of "The Science of Music and The Music of Science" by Michael J. Montague, PhD.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The Science of Music and the Music of Science by Michael J. Montague, Ph.D., is a broad introduction to how science and music connect and intertwine. It discusses a variety of concepts within this domain, from the unique way that music evolved in humans to the nature of waves and even string theory. Since this is just an introduction, though, it's far more accessible than you might think. Every concept is discussed in a way that doesn't rely on prior knowledge in the field, though I believe people with some formal training in either discipline stand to gain even more from reading this book.

Throughout the book, the author does a great job of maintaining a light and personal tone, as well as describing potentially unfamiliar aspects of science and music in a way that's both concise and clear. General audiences might struggle with keeping track of some of the technical language that is introduced, though, so this isn't a light read by any stretch of the imagination. It requires a lot of focus - potentially even note-taking or annotation - to fully appreciate the text.

It is also very well-organized, and with fifteen chapters, the book's roots in a class syllabus are obvious. Some topics, like how the brain processes music, require much more space than others, such as music's evolutionary origin, and these differing requirements are taken into account very well with regards to the book's overall structure. There are some issues with formatting on Kindle, such as oddly laid out tables and embedded images that don't scale in size correctly, and I found a handful of typos. These problems are few and far between, though, and they don't really hinder understanding.

Despite these efforts, the book's biggest shortcoming is clear: it's rather dry. Technical analyses of music and science by nature require some level of jargon, and since the book is geared towards people who aren't necessarily familiar with scientific and musical terms, words frequently need to be defined. It's also very difficult to use relatable anecdotes to illustrate scientific studies, though the author makes a valiant effort. I believe that this is merely a requirement of the subject matter, and it would certainly be much more of a problem without the author's conversational tone and careful organization.

Ultimately, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It's targeted at a very specific audience: people who are interested in the scientific study of music and how it pertains to the human experience. Within this limited scope, the book is very tightly organized and well-executed. If you're interested in a crash course about the relationship between music and science, and you don't mind a challenging, intellectual read, I highly recommend it.

The Science of Music and The Music of Science
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Post by Chrystal Oaks » 30 Jul 2019, 14:34

This is an exciting topic for me. My mom taught private music and music theory, so I learned that music and math support each other. It has also been demonstrated how math and science support each other. This is the first I've heard for music and science supporting each other, but it does make sense. I look forward to getting a copy of this book and reading it. Thanks for your great review!
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Post by esp1975 » 30 Jul 2019, 15:30

This sounds like a professor wrote a text book for their class, and their editor/publishing house thought it would be great to release it as a general non-fiction book. I have long known there was a deep connection between music and math, and this sounds like it is expanding on that and looking at science as a whole. This is a great reminder why STEM is not the only important thing in schools. Arts help us to understand the world around us in a very essential way.

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Post by kdstrack » 30 Jul 2019, 15:57

This sounds intriguing. I have read about how different types of music evoke varied emotional responses in the listener. This is probably a bit more technical, but I would be interested in the author's premise about the connection between music and science. Thanks for the excellent recommendation!

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Post by maggi3 » 30 Jul 2019, 16:06

The topic of this book sounds interesting, but I’m not sure if I would like the textbook-like feeling. It’s impressive that the author was able to maintain a conversational tone. I’ll keep this one in mind. Thanks for the review!

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Post by RUHIPB » 30 Jul 2019, 16:27

It's quite an interesting book.. but.. it will be real great of you add in since kind of mind blowing experiment that deals with the linking if music and science and explain what you are trying to achieve...

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Post by kandscreeley » 30 Jul 2019, 20:35

This one interested me as I majored in music in college. I'm glad to see it wasn't too detailed, but that all the concepts were explained well.
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