Music and the Mind

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"Writing with grace and clarity…he touches on everything from the evolution of the Western tonal system, to the Freudian theory of music as infantile escapism, to the differing roles o the right and left brain in perceiving music."
Drawing on his own life long passion for music and synthesizing the theories of Plato, Schopenhauer, Stravinsky, Nietzsche, Bartok, and others, distinguished author and psychologist Anthony Storr illuminates music's deep beauty and timeless truth and why and how music is one of the fundamental activities of mankind.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (October 19, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345383184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345383181
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces

Customer Reviews

The Muse of Music

63 people found this helpful.
 on October 7, 2002
By Esther Nebenzahl
The author is an acclaimed psychiatrist whose personal life was very sad and lonely; he attributed his passion for music as the element which preserved his sanity and emotional equilibrium. Out of the many books he wrote, this was his favorite. He attempts to discover what it is about music that so profoundly affects us, and why it is such an important part of our culture. In doing so, he quotes a vast array of opinions; actually he draws more from what other peole have had to say about music than his own personal opinion.


66 people found this helpful.
 on February 16, 2000
By J. Duncan
Storr begins with the ambitious task of answering the following question: why does a minor scale sound sad and why does a major scale sound happy? He takes the reader on an informative and thought provoking history of that examines the elements of music common to all societies and ultimately reaches his final and most important conclusion on the ultimate benefit we derive from music: peace, resolution and piece of mind. Storr’s ultimate claim is that counterpoint in music and resolution does musically what people so often cannot do in real life: resolve opposing and competing forces.

Lots of surprises in Storr – dissonance resolved

4 people found this helpful.
 on October 1, 2014
By Anti-Climaticus
Coming from a social and psychological perspective, for me Storr’s opening insight in this book begins with a discussion of the social origins of music and the place music had in specific cultures. Citing, as an example, Australian Aboriginals, he notes that music was used to store and pass on knowledge that was critical to survival. He notes that early music also served a collective function where music expressed ‘the structure of their knowledge and social relations’ (19). As well music served as a form of shared identification – they’re playing our song – themes, anthems, war crys and so on. From the outset Storr draws on a diversity of material to make his point and the illustrations used in this opening chapter evidence the work that has gone into writing this book. It is also this detail that is such a delight for the reader to take in and it is really difficult to rely the pleasantness of this red without recounting each and all of the stories he recounts. And as such why for me this is a difficult review to write in a manner that captures what Storr offers here.

The Tao of Music

10 people found this helpful.
 on January 15, 2001
By Darren
Storr synthesizes his knowledge of biology, psychology, history and evolution and fuses it into a mindful musical journey. This is a thought provoking and comprehensive integration of music and the human psyche, and like many of Storr’s books, it enhances your self awareness with each chapter.


5 people found this helpful.
 on January 29, 2005
By D. McClure
I did not know quite what to expect when i ordered this book. The only reason that i did so was because I needed to write my senior thesis and every applicable book at our library was gone. So, i opted just to buy this.

The second of the 2 best books on music and learning

 on December 8, 2014
By Harold Seckinger
The second of the 2 best books on music and learning. “The gift of music is the most enlarging development of the mind since the beginning of learning.” Harold Seckinger, President of the Citrus Youth Educational Symphonic Orchestra.

Five Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on May 12, 2015
By Sok
Great book about music and humanity, culture and history

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