This Is What It Sounds Like

This Is What It Sounds Like

What the Music You Love Says About You


Legendary record producer-turned-brain scientist explains why you fall in love with music.

'Extraordinary insights about music, emotion and the brain...An instant classic' Daniel Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain on Music

This Is What It Sounds Like is a journey into the science and soul of music. It's also the story of a musical trailblazer who began as a humble audio tech in L.A. to become Prince's chief engineer for Purple Rain and one of the most successful female record producers of all time.

Now an award-winning professor of cognitive neuroscience, Dr Susan Rogers takes readers behind the scenes of record-making and leads us to musical self-awareness. She explains that everyone possesses a unique 'listener profile', shows how being musical can mean actively listening, and encourages us to think about the records that define us. Lively and illuminating, this book will refresh your playlists, deepen your connection to artists, and change the way you listen to music.

'Superb... this book can show you how to be a better listener' Times Literary Supplement

'A provocative blend of studio stories and fascinating neuroscience' Alan Light, author of Let's Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain

'Fizzing with energy and insight...a crucial addition to the canon of music must-reads' Kate Hutchinson


  • This Is What It Sounds Like is a revelation... extraordinary insights about music, emotion, and the brain... An instant classic, [it] should be read by anyone who has ever been moved by a piece of music-in other words, everyone
    Dr. Daniel J. Levitin, New York Times bestselling author of This Is Your Brain on Music and The Organized Mind

About the authors

Dr. Susan Rogers

Susan E Rogers, PhD. is a Professor of Music Cognition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she received the Berklee Distinguished Faculty Award, the college's highest teaching honor. Prior to her science career, Rogers was a multi-platinum record producer, recording engineer, and mixer. She is best known for her work with Prince ("Purple Rain") as well as David Byrne, Barenaked Ladies, and many others.
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Ogi Ogas

Ogi Ogas, PhD, is a mathematical neuroscientist and the author of Journey of the Mind: How Thinking Emerged from Chaos. He was a Department of Homeland Security Fellow and a Research Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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