British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Music Instinct, The: Science and Song

Synopsis
While listening to music, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, asks the questions "where do goose bumps come from?" and "what’s going on in my brain that allows the goosebumps to happen?" Levitin leads a group of researchers as they investigate music’s fundamental physical structure; its biological, emotional and psychological impact; its brain altering and healing powers and its role in human evolution. Researchers and scientists from a variety of fields are using groundbreaking techniques that reveal startling new connections between music and the human mind, the body and the universe. Together with an array of musicians from rock and rap to jazz and classical, they put music under the microscope.

Internationally renowned performers Bobby McFerrin and cellist Yo-Yo Ma describe the way musical intervals are used or combined to create melody and harmony. Percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who is profoundly deaf, encounters music in a unique way, as fundamentally a "physical phenomenon." Rock stars Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley were asked to participate in a new experiment to reveal the difference in the brain when two people perform music together - as opposed to solo.

Research also shows that music has enormous potential to help explore the complexities of human brain function. For example, there’s a strong connection between the auditory and motor regions of the brain, and music seems to engage the motor system in a way that other modalities do not. People with motor disorders like Parkinson’s disease have improved their ability to walk while listening to a rhythm track, and stroke patients who have trouble with speech show signs of improvement when they receive music therapy. And there’s new evidence that music can actually change the physical structure of the brain - a fact that has critical implications for both education and medicine. One thing is clear, proven and agreed upon; music has a profound capacity to influence and alter the human experience.
Language
English
Country
United States
Year of release
2010
Year of production
2009
Subjects
Biology; Music; Psychology
Keywords
brain; Music; neurobiology; neuropsychology; music therapy

Online availability

URI
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/musicinstinct/
Price
free
Delivery
Streamed

Credits

Director
Elenea Mannes
Contributor
Daniel Levitin

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 1 NTSC
Price
$24.99
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
120 minutes
Year
2011

Production Company

Name

Thirteen/WNET

Sponsor

Name

PBS

Web
http://www.pbs.org External site opens in new window

Distributor

Name

PBS Shop

Web
http://www.shoppbs.org External site opens in new window

Record Stats

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