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The Musical Human


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A world-leading musicologist tells the extraordinary story of humankind’s relationship with music across evolutionary time

About the Author

Michael Spitzer is Professor of Music at the University of Liverpool. Previously he taught for twenty years at Durham University. An accomplished pianist, Spitzer is a world-leading authority on Beethoven, but he also writes widely on the philosophy and psychology of music. He lives just off Penny Lane with his wife and two daughters.


Entertaining, informative and philosophical ... An essential read
*All About History Magazine*

Extraordinary range ... All the world and more is here
*Julian Glover*

An ambitious and total history of music
*Daily Telegraph*

Full of delightful nuggets ... sends the reader back to a world of musical examples time and time again

Extraordinary ... Ranging from the Geissenklösterle caves to K-Pop, from the lost music of the Aztecs to the role of song in hunter-gatherer societies, and drawing on a vast array of specialisations, from archaeoacoustics to ornithology, Spitzer utilises a breath-taking variety of sources ... The Musical Human will make you think differently about music, about its place in your life and about its importance to human life tout court
*Literary Review*

Bold, compelling and ear-opening
*New Statesman*

A hugely ambitions work, but never daunting, and there's something thought-provoking on every page ... With scholarship, wit and passion, this book demonstrates that there is truly a soundtrack to human lives
*Catherine Bott, Classic FM*

A thrilling exploration of what music has meant and means to humankind
*Ian Bostridge*

Music changed my life. It changes my mood, my thoughts, my feelings and changes the way I move. Now I know why. This book has connected me to not only the language of love but the language of life. If you can just hum, whistle out of tune or shake a leg at a wedding then open the pages of this book and know why! A revelation
*Michael Cashman*

Blurring the lines between musical theory, anthropology, biology and history, Spitzer posits that music is one of our most defining achievements, fundamental to the human experience
*Radio Times*

An amazing book, tying together research in archaeology, anthropology, music history, and human origins to form a compelling and exciting account of the many ways music has developed across the world and across time. Michael Spitzer has pulled off the impossible: a Guns, Germs and Steel for music
*Daniel Levitin*

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