Music can move us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can persuade us to buy something, or remind us of our first date. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. It can get us dancing to its beat. But the power of music goes much, much further. Indeed, music occupies more areas of our brain than language does—humans are a musical species.
Oliver Sacks’s compassionate, compelling tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our own brains, and of the human experience. In Musicophilia, he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians, and everyday people—from a man who is struck by lightning and suddenly inspired to become a pianist at the age of forty-two, to an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hypermusical from birth; from people with “amusia,” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans, to a man whose memory spans only seven seconds—for everything but music.
Our exquisite sensitivity to music can sometimes go wrong: Sacks explores how catchy tunes can subject us to hours of mental replay, and how a surprising number of people acquire nonstop musical hallucinations that assault them night and day. Yet far more frequently, music goes right: Sacks describes how music can animate people with Parkinson’s disease who cannot otherwise move, give words to stroke patients who cannot otherwise speak, and calm and organize people whose memories are ravaged by Alzheimer’s or amnesia.
Music is irresistible, haunting, and unforgettable, and in Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks tells us why.
Baker & Taylor
Drawing on the individual experiences of patients, musicians, composers, and everyday people, the author of
Sacks's own enthusiasm about the complex workings of the human mind (he teaches clinical neurology and psychiatry at Columbia U.) becomes infectious in his writings. In this volume, he turns his attention to the many phenomena concerning music and the brain, relating the scientific explanations alongside numerous and compelling case studies. Sacks describes the effects of music--and different aspects of music--on ordinary individuals, musicians, and people who have had accidents or disabilities, in chapters on music and memory, musical hallucinations, music therapy, and perfect pitch, among other topics. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Drawing on the individual experiences of patients, musicians, composers, and ordinary people, the author explores the complex human response to music, and how music can affect those suffering from a variety of ailments.
tales of music and the brain
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Musical perception, musical sensibility, musical emotion and musical memory can survive long after other forms of memory have disappeared. Music of the right kind can serve to orient and anchor a patient when almost nothing else can. Page 337
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