John Powell


why you love music - the story behind the book

I wanted readers of How Music Works to be able to contact me if they had any questions about music, so I made sure that my email address was in the book, and invited people to ask away.  


Soon after it was published in 2010, I started receiving emails asking for information on a wide range of music-related issues.  It soon became clear that there was a lot of interest in the psychological aspects of music.


I began to seriously research the subject, and discovered a treasure trove of great information in such books as The Psychology of Music and Handbook of Music and Emotion: Theory, Research, Applications.  These books were written for students of psychology and musicology rather than the general reader, and were written in a suitable academic style.  


Once again I thought it might be worthwhile to gather all the information and present it in a light conversational style.


How Music Works had concentrated on what happens up to the point at which the musical sounds reached your eardrum - the new book would complete the story by investigating how the messages from the eardrum were dealt with by the brain.  How and why could music make us feel joyful or sad?  Did music therapy really work?  What was the Mozart effect all about?


And alongside the psychology, there was the sociology.  Did background music really effect the behaviour of shoppers or diners?  How do teenage groups of friends all develop similar musical tastes?  


So it was back to Monday evenings of writing, curry and TV.  Having watched the complete set of Morse, I was now watching episodes of  Wallander  (Swedish with subtitles) or the 80s series, Minder.  The staff at the Taste of India did their bit, delivering a lamb achari  for me to tuck into while Wallander's dad painted more trees, or Arthur got Terry into another fix.


Why We Love Music is available from bookstores and online retailers including Amazon.