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Synopsis

Ideas in Profile Series

Is music a science or an art? It's both, as Andrew Gant reveals in this lively and accessible account of what music is and what it's for. Music has been central to life since the dawn of humankind and is intimately bound up with the origins of language.

Andrew Gant introduces us to its long history and its many genres and manifestations. He explains how composers compose, players play and singers sing. He looks at how musical styles develop, the ways they fall in and out of fashion, and why certain kinds of music - dancing and love songs, for example - is a universal in human culture. He considers how music is composed, the nature of genius and the workings of inspiration. He shows how music can be composed and used to stir patriotism, instill courage, reinforce identity, sell a product, or make a political point. And he goes beyond humans to examine music in the natural world in the creativity of birdsong. This is, in short, the ideal introduction to a very big subject.

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