Reading about art will never be the same as enjoying it, seeing it or listening to it. But sometimes, words of wisdom written by experts in the industry can help us cultivate our passion even more.
Therefore, here are the top 3 music books you should read regardless if you plan on becoming the next Roger Waters or if you simply want to delve into the world of sounds deeper and deeper.
This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, by Daniel J. Levitin
This is a book about the way we perceive music, how music takes place and form and what exactly means to for us, people, to hear a great song.
Ultimately, the book tries to answer to the question “what makes a song great?” Of course, the author offers a very scientific approach to the whole thing, but it helps the reader understand the ins and outs of music.
Quote: “If music serves to convey feelings through the interaction of physical gestures and sound, the musician needs his brain state to match the emotional state he is trying to express. Although the studies haven’t been performed yet, I’m willing to bet that when B.B. King is playing the blues and when he is feeling the blues, the neural signatures are very similar. (Of course there will be differences, too, and part of the scientific hurdle will be subtracting out the processes involved in issuing motor commands and listening to music, versus just sitting on a chair, head in hands, and feeling down.) And as listeners, there is every reason to believe that some of our brain states will match those of the musicians we are listening to.”
The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth through Music, by Victor Wooten
Victor L. Wooten is a Grammy-winning, inspirational writer and bassist, who is capable to tell a story and mesmerise the reader from the very first pages, the very first beat of the drum.
The book talks about a young musician who encounters a philosophical teacher, a guide on his new spiritual journey sprinkled with lessons about music, motivation and tenacity.
Quote: “Musicians do not have to be believed in. We do not have to be trusted. Our Music speaks for itself without the listener having to know anything about us. Music touches people’s emotions in a way that nothing else can. When people find a musician they like, they are usually fans for Life. If they like the musician and his Music, they will open up their hearts to whatever that musician has to say. It matters not what country the musician or the fan comes from. Music is a language that all understand. It goes beyond and breaks down barriers. This makes the musician very powerful, and with power comes responsibility.”
Songwriters on Songwriting, by Paul Zollo
A collection of interviews that will have everyone fall in love with those words. Each of the singers interviewed in the book, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Burt Bacharach, Leonard Cohen, Carole King, have not answers to question, but actual sayings that will (and are) used by fans all over the world. It is a life-changing book for every reader, writer, composer or producer.
Brain Pickings said about the book: “[An] excellent and extensive treasure trove…[The] insights on songwriting extend to the broader realm of creative work in a multitude of disciplines… A magnificent read in its hefty totality.”