Musicophilia

Musicophilia

Tales of Music and the Brain

Book - 2007
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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.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.
ISBN: 9781400040810
9780676979787
Branch Call Number: 781.11 S121
Characteristics: xiv, 381 p.

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1aa
Aug 17, 2017

Fascinating topic, enthusiastically yet sympathetically written in a overly-organized book (one of the chapters is barely two pages in length). Just about every single angle about music and human brains is covered -- various types of musical hallucinations, various types of amusia: permanent and temporary, congenital and what sorts of illnesses they are associated with, various sorts of music therapies, historical anecdotes, and much more; each is illustrated with patient cases.

g
glotet
Jun 09, 2017

I found this book fascinating and informative. It provided me with much to ponder about music and the brain. Those who love music and have an interest in neuroscience will be richly rewarded.

KCLSRecommends Oct 13, 2014

Oliver Sacks 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 -- and much more.

I've read the book to a certain point. It's fairly interesting but not riveting and one of the key problems I have with his writing is his belief/support of evolutionary theory. That's how I see it anyway. I didn't finish the book as I lost interest in the subject and his writing style is part of the reason why I stopped.

j
jonesisinger
Nov 21, 2013

I found the book very interesting. It validates the use of music when used therapeutically. I found the section about music and dementia very helpful and applicable.

s
Sunny222
Dec 27, 2010

This book did not hold my interest. It would be more interesting to someone who loves classical music, or someone who plays music or who is fascinated by how the brain processes sound and music.

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jonesisinger
Nov 21, 2013

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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