What draws us to play, or to love hearing, some instruments above all others?
Why are 40m children in China learning the piano, a European instrument that has scant connection with Eastern culture?
What accounts for the guitar’s dominance in Western popular music?
Why do composers express their most melancholy thoughts on cellos?
These questions go beyond music. They touch on the essence of identity, aspiration, expression, history and politics, as well as what Jung called our collective unconscious…
How you interpret any sound depends on its context and your knowledge.
More Intelligent Life asks, “Which is the best music instrument?”
Also see this vintage guide to how to listen to music and a neuroscientist’s debunking of the myth of a "music instinct.”