Music and the Mind
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Music and the Mind

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  312 ratings  ·  23 reviews
"Writing with grace and clarity...he touches on everything from the evolution of the Western tonal system, to the Freudian theory of music as infantile escapism, to the differing roles o the right and left brain in perceiving music."
Drawing on his own life long passion for music and synthesizing the theories of Plato, Schopenhauer, Stravinsky, Nietzsche...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 19th 1993 by Ballantine Books (first published 1992)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Music and the Mind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Music and the Mind

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,069)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mikael Lind
This is a splendid book on music! It's not often that I read a non-fiction book from start to finish without reading some good fiction in between, but that was the case with this book; maybe because I am myself a musician and so the topic speaks to me directly, but also because the book is very well written.
True, one can criticize the book on three accounts.
First, the author should have connected the philosophical writings in the latter half of the book more with his knowledge in psychology. The...more
I will review this book in the style that Mr. Storr wrote it. First a quote from the goodreads member, Jigsaw, who recently finished reading the book.

"This book wasn't what I expected; nevertheless, it was good once I understood what the actual point was. I thought at first that it would address psychological aspects of music primarily. Instead, it focuses briefly on physiological aspects of music, and then becomes more of a review of philosophy of music. Once I got used to this, it was decent....more
Billy Coupar
I would agree with most of the other reviews here in that; if knowledge is power, then you'll certainly be powerful after reading this. Lots of great references and interesting ideas, which lead you to other books and concepts. However it is extremely academic and the other reviewers are right when they tell you that a lot of the book is made from quotations, long and short.
This book was basically all about the author's opinion on how he feels music effects and impacts people on an everyday basis. Storr believes music plays a significant role in everyone's lives. He talks about how music helps people getting through difficult times, how we are surrounded by it. This book was actually pretty interesting for a non-fiction book. Although it is usually more difficult for me to read non-fiction books quickly, this book was interesting enough to be a quick read. I was ab...more
Barnaby Thieme
Made it about half-way through this book -- it doesn't strike me as worth finishing. It's not bad as far as it goes, but Storr is no authority on this topic. He's a psychologist who has written books about a number of eclectic subjects, and has no specialization in musicology or music psychology.

This book is essentially a long essay by somebody who is generally smart and who has reflected philosophically about music with the resources of a decently-read layperson, but he doesn't seem any more q...more
Storr shares his thoughts on music, philosophy, and psychology in this well-written book. He explores various great philosophers' viewpoints on music from the past, including Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, Schopenhauer, and Plato as well as various composers and musicians. He finds himself especially sympathetic with Schopenhauer and Nietzsche (because he is an atheist) and spends a great deal of time discussing their thoughts on music. Although he is a committed evolutionist, Storr is forced to puzzle...more
an incredibly stimulating philosophy of music – why it exists, what purposes it serves – through the words of a psychiatrist who understands music through the words/thoughts of philosophers. quoting from works of nietzsche, schopenhauer, plato, socrates, and jung, he contemplates the origins of music, our fascination with it, and its meaning in our lives. not to mention his focus on thoughts from composers such as wagner, stravinsky, haydn, and tchaikovsky.

a fascinating read for those who might...more
Huh. Not particularly impressed. The whole book seemed to be building up to some point or other, with all the quotations and analyses of philosophers and musicologists. I just wasn't sure what the point was, or what he was trying to say, exactly. Perhaps something like "music is important?"
Some interesting quotes and a few helpful ideas, such as his treatment of music as a force/process that helps organize the mind and especially the subconscious (much in the way that dreams do) but on the whol...more
This book wasn't what I expected; nevertheless, it was good once I understood what the actual point was. I thought at first that it would address psychological aspects of music primarily. Instead, it focuses briefly on physiological aspects of music, and then becomes more of a review of philosophy of music. Once I got used to this, it was decent. The author does spend a lot of his time quoting others, though.
May 19, 2007 Todd rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: philosophical or scientific types who love music
The book is a fascinating exploration of the relation of the human mind to the experience of music. The book takes a broad and long view of music's place in human society, taking into account ancient philosophical opinions on music, anthropological explorations into the origin of music, cultural variations in musical styles, modern psychological experiments on music's effect upon the mind, etc.
well-written and engrossing, though more valuable in scope if you have even a rudimentary understanding of philosophy.

people usually complain that music is so ambiguous, that it leaves them in such doubt as to what they are supposed to think, whereas words can be understood by everyone. but to me it seems exactly the opposite." ~felix mendelssohn (as quoted in the book)
All of the late Anthony Storr's books are worth reading. He was an eminent British psychiatrist who is always fascinating when discussing Freud and Jung. This book concerns his love of music and he finds himself most at home when talking about Nietzsche. But it is the arousal of music that produced this music and he analyses its reality.
Clive Buckingham
OK, but as another reviewer mentions, it's personal reflections and he's no technical authority on music. So I was slightly disappointed on that score. Philip Ball (The Music Instinct) goes straight to the heart of the matter in more methodical style, so to my mind he's the one to read on this topic.
The most lucid and interesting book about music I've ever read. Storr is concerned with the affect of music on personality, the cultural relativism of music's theoretical underpinnings, and the emotional/intellectual dimensions and impact of listening to and performing music.
Kelly O'Dowd
I was given this book to read for my Choir CP class junior in High School by Mr. Zwier. I loved it back then. Forgot about it, then found it in my bookstore. I have yet to reread it, but I think I'll understand more now than I did 15 years ago.
I had to read this book for a class at university. The author does not adhere to standards for scientific writing and inconsistently cites actual research to back up claims.
Aug 14, 2013 Eleanor marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction
Was going to read this and then got caught up with other books, so it's back on the "To read" shelf for the time being.
This book manages to take a fascinating and joyous topic and render it boring and pedantic. Disappointing.
Miha Mazzini
A must for musicians, good read for music enthusiasts, but without the focus and even rambling sometimes.
Jul 31, 2007 Marc rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mindful musicians
This book has a fair amount of interesting information, but I recall being bored by the prose.

Simply brilliant, a great read and very thought provoking!
This book definitely deserves a review. Will do that later tonight.
Oct 31, 2009 Mike rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: guitar
Too theoretical for me to provide any enjoyment.
Geneve marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2014
Utah Fitz
Utah Fitz marked it as to-read
Aug 14, 2014
Asmaa Mostafa
Asmaa Mostafa marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2014
Brian Stewart
Brian Stewart marked it as to-read
Aug 11, 2014
Apaul Patricio
Apaul Patricio marked it as to-read
Aug 09, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 35 36 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Music, Language, and the Brain
  • Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination
  • The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It
  • Emotion and Meaning in Music
  • Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music
  • The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven
  • The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature
  • The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body
  • Listen to This
  • How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond
  • The Joy of Music
  • Noise Music: A History
  • Improvisation: Its Nature And Practice In Music
  • Kind Of Blue: The Making Of The Miles Davis Masterpiece
  • The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart
  • Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past
  • Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds
  • The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing: The Experience and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Anthony Storr was an English psychiatrist and author. He was a child who was to endure the typical trauma of early 20th century UK boarding schools. He was educated at Winchester, Christ's College, the University of Cambridge and Westminster Hospital. He qualified as a doctor in 1944, and subsequently specialized in psychiatry.

Storr grew up to be kind and insightful, yet, as his obituary states, h...more
More about Anthony Storr...
Solitude: A Return to the Self Freud: A Very Short Introduction Feet of Clay: A Study of Gurus Churchill's Black Dog and Other Phenomena of the Human Mind The Dynamics of Creation

Share This Book