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Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brainby Oliver Sacks
Synopses & Reviews
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, andunforgettable, and in Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks tells us why.
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.
Drawing on the individual experiences of patients, musicians, composers, and everyday people, the author of Awakenings explores the complex human response to music, detailing the full range of human reactions to music, what goes on and can go wrong when we listen to music, and how music can affect those suffering from a variety of ailments. 100,000 first printing.
Oliver Sacks is a physician and the author of nine previous books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings (which inspired the Oscar-nominated film). He lives in New York City, where he is Professor of Clinical Neurology at Columbia University.
Table of Contents
Haunted by music. A bolt from the blue : sudden musicophilia ; A strangely familiar feeling : musical seizures ; Fear of music : musicogenic epilepsy ; Music on the brain : imagery and imagination ; Brainworms, sticky music and catchy tunes ; Musical hallucinations — A range of musicality. Sense and sensibility : a range of musicality ; Things fall apart : amusia and dysharmonia ; Papa blows his nose in G : absolute pitch ; Pitch imperfect : cochlear amusia ; In living stereo : why we have two ears ; Two thousand operas : musical savants ; An auditory world : music and blindness ; The key of clear green : synesthesia and music — Memory, movement, and music. In the moment : music and amnesia ; Speech and song : aphasia and music therapy ; Accidental davening : dyskinesia and cantillation ; Come together : music and Tourette's Syndrome ; Keeping time : rhythm and movement ; Kinetic melody: Parkinson's disease and music therapy — Phantom fingers: the case of the one-armed pianist ; Athletes of the small muscles : musician's dystonia — Emotion, identity, and music. Awake and asleep : musical dreams ; Seduction and indifference ; Lamentations : music and depression ; The case of Harry S. : music and emotion ; Irrepressible : music and the temporal lobes ; A hypermusical species : Williams Syndrome ; Music and identity : dementia and music therapy.
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