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The Musical Human with Michael Spitzer

  • 10 Jun 2021
  • 19:00
  • Zoom

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You may not consider yourself a “musician” ; Michael SPITZER would like to suggest otherwise. What if music-making were an inherently human component of our life on earth, an overlooked part of our origin story embedded in us whether we recognise it or not ?

There is a difference between birdsong and bird calls ; few animals can “remember” song as we can, and very few appear to do it for fun. Yet we can all hear rhythm in insects, melody in birds and our sense of musical tradition seems to be shared by … whales.

Michael gives us ‘The first Big History of Music’ in The Musical Human – a novel approach to Homo Sapiens’ 165 million year story, weaving together archaeology, anthropology, music history and theory, as well as research on human origins to look at

  • a single human life
  • human evolution
  • and world history.


Michael Spitzer is Professor of Music at Liverpool University, both a specialist of Beethoven and a pop music scholar (his latest work being on Captain Beefheart). His specific interest in intersectsing with other disciplines is shown in his published works which have successively linked music with thought, philosophy, emotion and history.

After studying in Oxford (Merton College) he completed his PhD at the University of Southampton; he then taught for 20 years at Durham, and founded a series of international conferences on music and emotion, before moving to Liverpool in 2010.

He is Past President of the Society for Music Analysis.



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