Today’s Nature has a teeth-grittingly bitchy review of psychologist Daniel Levitin’s new music and psychology book The World In Six Songs that would be entertaining were it not so surprisingly vitriolic.
I’ve not read the book, but when someone is criticising the author’s musical taste as immature, not once, but twice, in the world’s leading science publication, you know the review has gone beyond the point of healthy knock-about into the zone of below-the-belt punches.
What is it about Nature book reviews? We covered one in 2007 where the reviewer got stuck in despite not seeming to have read the book.
Actually, no one does a good book barney like the philosophers, who at least have the good grace to wrap their barbs in dry wit and satire rather than just spitting venom at each other (although they do that too).
If you want to get an idea of Levitin’s basic premise, New Scientist has an online article on the book. It seems to be applying the ‘basic plots’ idea to music.
This is widely discussed in literature where many people have claimed to have identified the seven, eight, twenty, thirty six (you get the idea) basic plots in stories, literature and plays throughout history.