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This is what it sounds like


Despite being unable to play an instrument, Susan Rogers became an extraordinarily successful record producer – and certainly one of the most successful women record producers in history – because of her ability to listen. (She was an engineer on Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’). ‘This is What It Sounds Like’ distils a lifetime’s expertise as a producer and an award-winning professor with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience, to present a new theory of listening for everyday music fans. Each person has a unique identity as a listener, she explains, determined by seven influential dimensions of musical listening: authenticity, realism, novelty, melody, lyrics, rhythm and timbre.

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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

Read a sample here

Additional information

Weight 0.232 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 1.8 cm










781.17 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K