Lindsay Waite, December 8, 2013 (view all comments by Lindsay Waite)
I am always intrigued by music and how it originates in people. Musicians like Mozart seemed to have a muse feeding them notes, chord patterns, melodies, and beauty. I read this book also to see what parts of the brain are involved in the creation of music. It is interesting - filled with anecdotes on prodigies, how people with certain ailments (like Parkinson's) are helped with music, the result of brain injuries with respect to musical skills, and so forth. I'm not sure I came away with anything to answer my query other than some knowledge of the parts of the brain involved, but nevertheless it's a book that was worthy of my time.
John Zimmerman, February 8, 2009 (view all comments by John Zimmerman)
MUSICOPHILIA contains 29 chapters. Each chapter is independent. Each chapter describes a series of people with a brain dysfunction that manifests itself in a change in musical ability (ies) or musical appreciation. Some of these patients were professional musicians who suffered a stroke, or an accident; He has collected data on patients in similar situations from a number of other Dr.s, and has researched medical literature back to the late 19th century. In most cases, the particular dysfunction may be traceable to a specified area in the brain, and he tries to trace it. His fascinating chapter on Absolute Pitch even notes that “Absolute Pitch can shift with age” and that this can be a problem for older musicians. My sister & I both experienced such a shift sometime in our fifties!
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Syracuse56, November 9, 2008 (view all comments by Syracuse56)
Oliver Sacks theory on the power of music for people suffering with dementia has inspired me to create a music therapy program at an senior assisted living residence.
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lsumner, July 30, 2008 (view all comments by lsumner)
Did you know that for some people the association between color and music is more than metaphor? Has your child ever said “That piece in D major is blue.”? Perhaps after a stroke one of your relatives was convinced that every musical interval has a different taste to the tongue? Learn about the condition of Synesthesia and much more about the way music can affect the brain in this fascinating look at neuroscience by author and researcher Oliver Sacks.
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colevalleymama, April 4, 2008 (view all comments by colevalleymama)
I've never been struck by lightining but sometimes driving to work I want to play my guitar so bad it hurts.
When I meditate I will hear whole songs that just seem to drift up into my consciousness. My mom played Chopin and all the classics on the piano when I was growing up, so I totally love music and now am interested in music therapy at the mid point in my life.
I took my guitar to work one day where I help care for the disabled and I played a spoof of "Take Me To the RIver " by Talking Heads and changed the words to relate it to one of my clients love of fishing, and his whole body relaxed as he laughed along with the song. I knew then that I wanted to help others relax with music.
My mom just told me about Dr. Sacks so I had to research him and music therapy connection. Thanks for the article!
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Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
0 stars -
Knopf Publishing Group -
Musicophilia is a fascinating look at music and its effects on our brains. Who but Oliver Sacks could make such a compulsively readable book?
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Sacks is an unparalleled chronicler of modern medicine, and fans of his work will find much to enjoy when he turns his prodigious talent for observation to music and its relationship to the brain. The subtitle aptly frames the book as a series of medical case studies — some in-depth, some abruptly short. The tales themselves range from the relatively mundane (a song that gets stuck on a continuing loop in one's mind) through the uncommon (Tourette's or Parkinson's patients whose symptoms are calmed by particular kinds of music) to the outright startling (a man struck by lightning subsequently developed a newfound passion and talent for the concert piano). In this latest collection, Sacks introduces new and fascinating characters, while also touching on the role of music in some of his classic cases (the man who mistook his wife for a hat makes a brief appearance). Though at times the narrative meanders, drawing connections through juxtaposition while leaving broader theories to be inferred by the reader, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. This book leaves one a little more attuned to the remarkable complexity of human beings, and a bit more conscious of the role of music in our lives." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Los Angeles Times,
"Sacks portrays our innate propensity toward music as an overall plus — often therapeutic and occasionally a lifesaver."
"Sacks is not in the business of answers carved in stone....His ultimate gift to readers is a sustained sense of wonder at the enormous variability of individual human experience."
by Seattle Times,
"Sacks' tales...work their way beyond passionate personal appreciation of music toward potential uses with neurological conditions."
by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
"Sacks is less interested in providing answers here than he is in creating awareness. While the stories Sacks relates are not as fantastical and colorful as in previous books, they are just as compelling."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Pleasantly rollicking, but with a definite hint that the grand old man is taking it easy."
"Neurologist Sacks...charmingly argues that music is essential to being human in ways that have only begun to be understood....His customary erudition and fellow-feeling ensure that, no matter how clinical the discussion becomes, it remains, like the music of Mozart, accessible and congenial."
"A gifted writer and a neurologist, Sacks spins one fascinating tale after another to show what happens when music and the brain mix it up."
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. Here, he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians, and everyday people.
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