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New York Times bestselling writer John Colapinto explores what our unique sonic signature reveals about our species, our culture, and each one of us.
Colapinto guides us from the voice’s beginnings in lungfish millions of years ago to its culmination in the talent of Pavarotti, Martin Luther King Jr., and Beyoncé—and each of us, every day.
Along the way, he shows us why the voice is the most efficient, effective means of communication ever devised: It works in all directions, in all weathers, even in the dark, and it can be calibrated to reach one other person or thousands. He reveals why speech is the single most complex and intricate activity that humans can perform. He travels up the Amazon River to meet the Pirahã, a reclusive tribe whose singular language, more musical than any other, can help us hear how melodic principles underpin every word we utter. He heads up to Harvard University to see how professional voices are helped and healed, and he ventures out on the campaign trail to see how demagogues wield their voices as weapons.
As far-reaching as this book is, much of the delight of reading it lies in how intimate it feels. Everything Colapinto tells us can be tested by our own lungs and mouths and ears and brains.
320 pages, softcover, publication date 2022
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