The Musical Human

The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth

A RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

‘Full of delightful nuggets’ Guardian online
‘Entertaining, informative and philosphical … An essential read’ All About History
‘Extraordinary range … All the world and more is here’ Evening Standard

165 million years ago saw the birth of rhythm.

66 million years ago came the first melody.

40 thousand years ago Homo sapiens created the first musical instrument.

Today music fills our lives. How we have created, performed and listened to this music throughout history has defined what our species is and how we understand who we are. Yet music is an overlooked part of our origin story.

The Musical Human takes us on an exhilarating journey across the ages – from Bach to BTS and back – to explore the vibrant relationship between music and the human species. With insights from a wealth of disciplines, world-leading musicologist Michael Spitzer renders a global history of music on the widest possible canvas, looking at music in our everyday lives; music in world history; and music in evolution, from insects to apes, humans to AI.

‘Michael Spitzer has pulled off the impossible: a Guns, Germs and Steel for music’ Daniel Levitin
‘A thrilling exploration of what music has meant and means to humankind’ Ian Bostridge