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Timeline: Music And The Mind

Explore the connections between music and the mind in this special Timeline presentation.
Vermont Public Radio
Explore the connections between music and the mind in this special Timeline presentation.

Explore the validity of "The Mozart Effect", trace the use of music in advertising and political campaigns, experience auditory illusions and experiments and follow the history of music therapy in this special episode of Timeline.


In this program we'll see that there is real power in music and with this power comes the responsibility to use it well and carefully. There is an undercurrent in our culture, in philosophy and education, to see music as unimportant. Over and over again, music’s role in society has been questioned and its importance diminished. Some even go so far as to call music “auditory cheesecake” meaning that it’s trivial, fluff and of no “nutritional” value.

However, music DOES have a role to play in our society. As we’ll see in this program, music has the power to influence, unite and heal. How individuals use, create and practice music tells us a great deal about the society they inhabit. As Confucius stated many years ago (and this is an English paraphrase)...

"If one should desire to know whether a kingdom is well-governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of its music will furnish the answer."

We’ve been operating under the assumption that music has no survival or evolutionary benefit. Yet, our biology is telling a different story. We might not understand all the ways that musical expression has shaped us, but evidence is mounting that we are musical creatures, seeking organized sound much in the same way that we seek out other physical pleasures and experiences. Our brains are wired for music.

Timeline is an exploration into the development of Western music.

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