Books on music

I recently read the book “This Is Your Brain On Music” by Daniel Levitin which I would thoroughly recommend to anyone interested in music production. Daniel Levitin is a neuroscientist who is particularly interested in the effects of music on the brain. One of the discussion parts of the book is why the brain loves anomalies in music, it’s what keeps the subconscious interested in listening to the music. You have probably experienced the same, where you can listen to certain music over and over again before getting bored, but with other tracks just a handful of plays later you are skipping to the next track. This book is really great at understanding why that happens, I would highly recommend!

“This Is Your Brain On Music” became an international bestseller, sparking a cultural conversation about the power of music. It inspired scientific research, challenged long-held beliefs abous musicality, and offered a deep appreciation for this universal human experience.

Some of the key themes explored in this book:

  • Music’s Evolutionary Advantage: Levitin argues that music, even more than language, played a crucial role in human evolution, fostering social cohesion, aiding memory, and enhancing learning.

  • The Building Blocks Of Melody: He breaks down the fundamental components of music like rhythm, pitch and harmony, explaining how our brain’s parse and respond to them.

  • Musical Preferences: He unravels the mystery of personal taste, exploring why we gravitate towards certain genres and artists, often before we’re even born.

  • The Neuroscience of Pleasure: Levitin delves into the brain’s reward system, showing how music triggers the release of dopamine and other pleasure chemicals, creating euphoria and emotional connection.

  • Music’s Therapeutic Power: The book examines the potential of music therapy for various conditions, from depression and anxiety to Parkinson’s disease and stroke.

I purchased The Secrets of Dance Music Production by Attack a while back and have found it a good reference material for learning new tips and tricks. Yes YouTube can be a great resource, but sometimes it helps to have a more authoritative answer from professionals who have lots of experience.

The Secrets of Dance Music Production is a 312 page full colour book covering a wide range of topics, including basic studio setup, synthesis and sampling, sound design, music theory, song arrangement, mixing and mastering, and even tips for learning from the masters. I know there are many online courses for music production, some costing hundreds of dollars, but this book will cover a lot and I suppose you could then supplement with information gleaned from elsewhere. I think it is a great recommendation for everyone including beginners.

The book goes beyond theoretical explanations and provides numerous step-by-step tutorials and walkthroughs, enabling readers to apply the concepts directly in their productions and caters to a wide variety of electronic music genres, including house, techno, drum & bass, EDM, trance and more.

There are also accompanying downloadable resources, allowing readers to experiment with the provided sounds, recreate techniques from the book, and explore production concepts in a practical setting.