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At he calls “musical misalignments” Among them a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome who are hypermusical from birth; people with “am. Music responseMusic that triggers some kind of responseI have what you want I have what you needSo sang the Chemical Brothers with what was the entire vocal and lyric content of their song Music Response With those three lines sang over and over again to a heavy dance laden beat they make a good soundtrack for the content of this good read on music and the brain Author Oliver Sacks I suspect would not have known who The Chemical Brothers were but I think he would have understood the meaning considering the depth of subject Music has played a huge part of my life Not as a player very poor 3 chord thrash as a youth was about it but as a huge consumer My parents had a diverse mix of classical and jazz for me to devour as a young boy My mum s sister was a Beatles fan and my dad s brother was a musician of some ability who played Sax and Clarinet and even made it onto TV talent shows My first recording purchased with my own pocket money was a 7 single Coz I Luv You by Slade I must have been 11 or 12 It has been a long journey to now paying via download my latest purchase Sarah Mary Chadwick such is the way we now procure music As I say to anyone that asks over the years my tastes have been truly eclectic I listen to all genres and all artists Abba to Zorn one might say When I purchased this book back on 2422009 the receipt was found tucked into the back page on finishing I was ready to devour it The trouble was I read Sacks famous The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat first a book I also had at that time I did not enjoy Hat at all It was dense in terminology lacking in focus and with uninspiring writing did little to hold my attention Hence this read was placed way back of the reading pack So now started and finished I have to say that I have enjoyed this a little bit than I expected to The writing can still be a little uninspiring though the focus is obvious a focus that is no bad thing for the likes of me Sacks covers a lot of territory Why we may like dislike or even be indifferent to music Amnesia and Dementia and why those that suffer may have an affinity with music Why at some gigsconcerts some musicians spend an inordinate amount of time tuning their instruments between just about every song There are many interesting anecdotes Clive Wearing suffered herpes encephalitis of the brain causing amnesia Clive has been the subject of a documentary called The Man With the Seven Second Memory I recommend looking at a youtube of Clive who has as little as 30 seconds memory at best can hardly recall the subject of a sentence in discussion but then can still play the piano at a remarkable ability Sacks thought that Clive had semantic memory as apposed in the absence of explicit and episodic memory but was not that sure William s Syndrome was another I had to admit that I had never heard of this affliction but Sacks discussion and explanation was first rate In the end though this will be my 2nd and last book by Sacks As much as I have enjoyed this one I know it was the subject matter that was attractive When getting into his own field of Neurology in explanation of his thoughts on the subject of music and the brain his writing was a little too dense for me I understand that the subject matter needs certain scientific explanation but as a lay reader I did need to reread sentences a couple of times and internet search medical terms The bibliography would be useful to the specialist in the field but not so much the layman such as I Footnoted galore but then some of them are half a page long and as interesting as they can be at times it seemed like he had footnoted an event he was keen to include in the narrative but knew not how I do recommend this very interesting book though If one is curious as to why music and the brain can work together in mysterious ways this will be than useful My Personal Musical ExtrasAs I wrote this review I was on forced leave due to the company I work for having its income collapse due to Corvid 19 Time will tell if I return I hope I do as I enjoy my work I have my own small office and have a 30 year old battered boom box in the corner to play CD s on as background Yes I could go digital but the monstrosity still works and I have so many CD s from the old day I packed up about 100 as I left work and then reflected on them a mix of Classical from Beethoven and Mussorgsky to modern composers such as Glass and Nyman Jazz was covered too with The Atlantic Years by John Coltrane through to a crazy set of compilation CD s that I got in the 90 s for jazz in all its subvarieties When I was in the mood for a certain genre I was covered The very good Underworld got a serious play in the last week as they seemed perfect for the times repetitious experimental beats that hit the mark while our office staff discussed our futures I work for a printing company and we have a few old Heidelberg cylinders Whenever I had to go to the production factory they were clunking away in a never ending rhythm that had my brain singing along to whatever suited its 44 time I need it I don t want it I need it I don t want it I need it I don t want it I need it I don t want it I need it I don t want it I need it I don t want it was the sound it sang to me on my last visit a cadence for Mortiis black metal ambient tune called This Absolution It seemed just right considering the circumstances Each evening after work I had always gone for a 30 minute walk Headphones on the music of choice had always had an atmospheric bent Dead Can Dance This Mortal Coil are just a couple of examples Now with lockdown there are few reasons to leave the house though excuse is engaging alone for physical exercise I now get out in the morning and walk for a couple of hours in a local forest I have found that I do not want to listen to music That is a strange feeling I have realised that I needed the sound of the forest the birds singing and the crunch of the path under my feet No music seems to suit the present circumstances This may be the first time in my life that I have felt like this

SUMMARY ´ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ✓ Oliver Sacks

Musicophilia Tales of Music and the Brain

Usia” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds for everything but music Illuminating inspiring and utterly unforgettable Musicophilia is Oliver Sacks’ latest masterpiece. I was flying forwards Bewildered I looked around I saw my own body on the ground I said to myself Oh shit I m dead I saw people converging on the body I saw a woman she had been standing waiting to use the phone right behind me position herself over my body give it CPR I floated up the stairs my consciousness came with me I saw my kids had the realization that they would be okay Then I was surrounded by a bluish white light an enormous feeling of well being and peace The highest and lowest points of my life raced by me No emotion associated with these pure thought pure ecstacy I had the perception of accelerating being drawn up there was speed and direction Then as I was saying to myself This is the most glorious feeling I have ever had SLAM I was back I will never cease to be amazed by books This above account was given by Tony Cicoria forty two very fit and robust and a well regarded orthopedic surgeon in a small city in upstate New York He survived an experience of being struck by lighning He continued his work but from this time on he had the most incredible need to connect with music He was subseuently divorced and continued with his incredible sudden love for music and compositionI am not religious and I am not a believer as such but I know there is another life after death I cannot describe it It is certainly not faith but a certainty from what I have experienced during the last two years that tells me yes life continues after death Many will believe that I am an absolute idiot but I really don t care We come from nothing but there is no proof about this indeed with birth but we do indeed go to an illustrious futureOliver Sacks has made the most incredible research of people with neurological conditions and all of these case studies are riveting You can literally pick up this book and look at whatever page and find something amazing It is really a remarkable reference book and I was just so enthralled to see individuals with evidently insurmountable problems and yet who managed to overcome these through musicMusic is a wonderful thing and it indeed takes up a large part in our brain and so we must enjoy it Well I do anywayIt was fascinating when Sacks said that there are certain musical pieces that he has to listen to over and over again before he moves on to a new composer I can so relate to that I am on overkill at the moment with Grieg and Sibelius but there are indeed other composers waiting in the wings to enthrall me Music my What else can I possibly sayI absolutely loved this book and continually look at it It is in my library and there to stay

Oliver Sacks ✓ 7 READ

With the same trademark compassion and erudition he brought to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition In Musicophilia he shows us a variety of wh. Have you ever experienced an ear worm ie a melody stuck in your head Have you ever found yourself humming or whistling a tune for no reason then thought back to the lyrics or theme of that song and realized it had something to do with what s on your mind Have you ever tried to remember what letter comes after another in the alphabet and found yourself singing that ABC song from childhood Check check and checkAll of these are explored in Musicophilia a fascinating series of essays by Dr Oliver Sacks Awakenings The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat His writing is clear civilized and genial if occasionally repetitive and dryly scientific A ruthless editor might have helpedDrawing from than half a century of clinical work as a neurologist Sacks recounts tales of patients whose conditions have something to do with music Among his subjects are people who have musical hallucinations they constantly hear songs often Christmas carols or marching tunes associate certain notes or musical intervals with colours or pictures suddenly discover after an accident or some other incident that they have an aptitude for music or conversely lose their musical abilitiesThere are some absorbing case studies such as Martin who was born normal but contracted meningitis at three and succumbed to seizures limiting his intelligence and physical abilities As an adult he had a low I but remembered 2000 operas and all of Bach s cantatas including melodies and what each instrument and voice playedI was also intrigued by the woman who can remember pages of text but only when they re associated with a melody Her professor recognizing his own lecture notes written verbatim on an exam thought she was cheating until he discovered her giftAnd there are eye opening tales about composers like Ravel whose famous Bolero with its relentless repetition might have been influenced by his frontotemporal dementia and Shostakovitch who refused to have a piece of shrapnel removed from his head because it mysteriously provided him with music which he then incorporated into his compositionsAlso included is the incredibly moving story of concert pianist and teacher Leon Fleisher whose loss of the use of his right hand for three decades transformed his life and approach to art Sacks s description of Fleisher playing a transcription of Bach s Sheep May Safely Graze the pianist regained use of his hand later in life through Botox treatments for him alone will bring tears to your eyesAnd what about those people who hate or feel indifferent towards music One of them was the great writer Vladimir Nabokov who wrote Music affects me merely as an arbitrary succession of or less irritating sounds The concert piano and all wind instruments bore me in small doses and flay me in larger ones Before reading this book I didn t realize that music crops up rarely in the works of Sigmund Freud or the two James brothers philosopher William and novelist Henry although all three were sensitive to other varieties of human experience and expressionIn a work filled with jaw dropping stories one of the most incredible happened to Sacks himself One day he woke up from a musical dream which followed him throughout the day I found something deeply disturbing and unpleasant about the music and longed for it to stop I had a shower a cup of coffee went for a walk shook my head played a mazurka on the piano to no avail The hateful hallucinatory music continued unabated Finally I phoned a friend Orlan Fox and said that I was hearing songs that I could not stop songs that seemed to me full of melancholy and a sort of horror The worst thing I added was that the songs were in German a language I did not know Orlan asked me to sing or hum some of the songs I did so and there was a long pause Have you abandoned some of your young patients he asked Or destroyed some of your literary children Both I answered Yesterday I resigned from the children s unit at the hospital where I have been working and I burned a book of essays I had written How did you guess Your mind is playing Mahler s Kindertotenlieder he said his songs of mourning for the death of children I was amazed by this for I rather dislike Mahler s music and would normally find it uite difficult to remember in detail let alone sing any of his Kindertotenlieder But here my dreaming mind with infallible precision had come up with an appropriate symbol of the previous day s events And in the moment that Orlan interpreted the dream the music disappeared it has never recurred in the thirty years since AmazingNear the end Sacks provides an illuminating and moving chapter on the connection between grief and music How come some compositions provide consolation and catharsis And there s a touching chapter on patients with Williams Syndrome people who tend to have Is less than 60 but who have universally friendly personalities and extraordinary musical abilityThere s no overarching thesis or direction to Musicophilia how could there be really but there are plenty of studies and stories that will make you think twice next time you find yourself turning on SpotifyFun fact I noticed Sacks cites a study by a Simon Baron Cohen I Googled and sure enough the scientist is Borat s Sacha Baron Cohen first cousin

10 thoughts on “Musicophilia Tales of Music and the Brain

  1. says:

    Have you ever experienced an “ear worm” – ie a melody “stuck” in your head? Have you ever found yoursel

  2. says:

    Sacks is for me a perfect meeting of a science writer and a writer of creative non fiction He has an eual interest in telling an affecting human story and with exploring how and why the brain works While lots of science writing is dry and objective as it should be and while mainstream feature writing often ignores the complicated science stuff Sacks is a rare talent who has a penchant for story telling and for explaining the newest resear

  3. says:

    Sacks relives the pathologies of musical response in his patients while working at Beth Abraham Hospital He describes music as a panacea and says “they were liberated by music” This applies to patients with dementia and those suffering from Williams Syndrome Despite low I he honors them in kind descriptive t

  4. says:

    This book was interesting I guess Lots of anecdotes about the effect of music on behavior and personality but not enough analysis Sacks usually is of a story teller than a hardcore neuroscientist in his popular book – at least in the other two that I’ve read by him – but in this book he fails to be a good story teller too Too many tidbits and little stories I definitely recommend This Is Your Brain on Music over this book

  5. says:

    Music responseMusic that triggers some kind of responseI have what you want I have what you needSo sang the Chemical Brothers with what was the entire vocal and lyric content of their song Music Response With those three lines sang

  6. says:

    It’s not a common characteristic but I recommend this book for all environments where you read Coffee shop living room park bench subway or to ignore your spouse it receives my seal of 4 stars Musicophilia is a lurid but respectable look into the brains and lives of people that appear normal on the outside but have strong strang

  7. says:

    I was flying forwards Bewildered I looked around I saw my own body on the ground I said to myself ‘Oh shit I’m dead’ I saw people converging on the body I saw a woman – she had been standing waiting to use the phone right behind me position herself over my body give it CPR I floated up the stairs – my consciousness came with me I saw my kids had the realization that they would be okay Then I was su

  8. says:

    I am a huge sucker for pop science about human consciousness Sacks unfortunately has the habit of boring me with far too many anecdotes which he fails to link in any progression of Greater Understanding

  9. says:

    This was unexpectedly touching I'm glad I finally read it Review to come

  10. says:

    The neurologist Oliver Sacks has a great book called Musicophilia and a series of talks available on YouTube which goes into some really interesting descriptions of the brain's relationship to music One story involves a man getting hit by lightning and afterward having a newly acuired and deeply profound love of music almost any music too profound to the point that he would feel a euphoria akin to religio mystical rapture or an e