“Music is an enigma.” Why do we enjoy music? Why did this ability to enjoy sound appears in evolution? Why animal cries evolved toward Palestrina, Bach, and Justin Bieber. Aristotle was the first one to ask this question: “Why does music, being just sounds, remind us of the states of our soul?” Many great minds tried to answer this question, from Pythagoras to Helmholtz. Even Kant, who explained the emotions of the beautiful by relating it to knowledge, could not explain music: “it merely plays with senses.” Darwin thought that his theory of evolution can explain everything in the living world, with one exception: “Music is the greatest mystery.” Today evolutionary musicologists agree with Darwin. Pinker repeats Kant: music is “auditory cheesecake,” for biological causes and effects “music is useless”.
Humans have been making, listening, and dancing to music since time immemorial, and this art can easily soothe or amplify our emotions. New research explains what "chords" music strikes in the brain, and how it relates to certain cognitive processes, particularly learning.
Music is a universal language and a powerful force in the world. It can have incredible impact on our brain and easily make us cry or feel joyful. Just a few notes of a song can resurface memories long past. In this 2018 Dialogues Between Neuroscience and Society lecture, legendary jazz guitarist Pat Metheny discusses, with a panel of SfN members, music’s impact on the brain and on our emotions and memory; the process of creativity in music, art, and science; and the role of music in healing.