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Music, Passion, and Cognitive Function (Paperback) (Leonid Perlovsky)

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Music , Passion, and Cognitive Function examines contemporary cognitive theories of music, why they cannot explain music’s power over us, as well as the origin and evolution of music. A new cognitive theory is described, a theory of musical origin based on the fundamental role of music in cognition: music unifies the inner world split by language, and enables the accumulation of knowledge and cultural evolution. The book considers the split in the vocalizations of proto-humans into two types-one less emotional and more concretely-semantic, evolving into language, and the other preserving ancient emotional connections along with semantic ambiguity, evolving into music. This theory is unique in making experimentally verifiable predictions.

The book presents experimental confirmations of the theory in psychological and neuroimaging research. It discusses the parallel evolution of consciousness, musical styles, and cultures since Homer and King David. It explains that "in much wisdom is much grief" due to cognitive dissonances created by language that splits the inner world. Music enables us to survive in this "sea of grief," overcomes discomforts and stresses of acquiring new knowledge, and unifies the soul. This is the reason for the power of music.

  • Provides a foundation of music theory
  • Demonstrates how emotions motivate interaction between cognition and language
  • Covers differentiation and synthesis in consciousness
  • Compares the parallel evolution of music and cultures
  • Examines the idea of music overcoming cognitive dissonances

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