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The Ongoing History of New Music Encore Presentation: 9 Things About the Brain and Music

There is absolutely no need for music—speaking in terms of evolution, anyway.

As far as scientists can tell, there’s no compelling reason for humans to make and enjoy music, Neurologically, we could get along quite well without it. Sure, our world would be very dull, but we’d be fine as a species.

Yet for some reason, the human brain seems to be hardwired for music. And it looks like even the non-human brain was constructed this way. Archeologists found a flute made out of bone constructed by Neanderthals that was almost 90,000 years old. Why?

Here are a couple of theories:

  • Music was invented because humans (or Neanderthals) wanted to imitate birdsong;
  • Music was invented as part of some kind of religious ritual or ceremony;
  • Or music began as vocalizations on the way to developing spoken language.

Bottom line is that the origins of music remain a mystery—and so is much of what goes on in our brains when it comes to these sounds.

Let’s explore this whole concept. Here are nine things about your brain and music.

Songs featured in this show:

Alice in Chains, Check my Brain

Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Sex and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll

Big Wreck, That Song

Green Day, Wake Me Up When September Ends

Flaming Lips feat. Henry Rollins, Brain Damage (Pink Floyd cover)

Peter Gabriel, I Don’t Remember

Cypress Hill, Insane in the Brain

Eric Wilhite, the Official Complier of Playlists®, provides this.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38573 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “The Ongoing History of New Music Encore Presentation: 9 Things About the Brain and Music

  • I have PTSD, and when I am depressed or anxious, putting the headphones on and listening to music lifts my mood and shuts up my damn subconscious brain.

    That Song by Big Wreck is one I always have to sing out loud when I hear it.


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