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Musicophila: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks, Book Review Example

Pages: 2

Words: 574

Book Review

Background and Thesis

The love for music is exemplified in this book as a characteristic only attributable to the human species and no other kind. Musicophila is described as an innate mating tendency in humans and is compared to the lovely bird songs that never seem to vary through time. The wonderful aspect about music is that anyone can feel rhythm and beat and the lasting effects often stay with a person for a lifetime. “Only through extrinsic interferences such as Alzheimer’s Disease, strokes and other brain inhibiting diseases can the tales of music be inhibited.” (Stuart 2009). Mozart is an example of a person exhibiting an absdolute pitch “have been shown through MRI studies to have an exaggerated asymmetry between the volumes of the right and left temporal plenums which are structures in the brain important for the perception of speech and music.” (Stuart 2009). Often one may see that a person that is handicapped in an accident that loses some brain activity has evidence of increase brain activity on the right side of their brain. The right side of the brain is the side that is known to bring out the creative and musical side of a person. Since the emotional response to music is considered a subcortial response those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia find it easy to enjoy music.

Body of Paper

The author is attempting to give a basic background on how the brain works with relation to sensory and musical perception with regards to a normal, healthy person versus a person who has suffered some type of memory loss. Further the book poses theoretically that even with a bit of memory loss a person can enjoy music and tones due to the loss being a subcortial loss. One sensory experience promotes the reaction of another therefore music appreciation and brain adaptation is developed through exposure to other creative forces. The brain can adjust to many obtrusive physical and mental conditions where music can act as a stimulating hope for recovery.

The author developed the thesis by presenting the different objectives of music with relation to its effect on different segments of the brain. He did this by comparing different brain degenerating conditions to normal contexts and how music reaches these people. The author justified his position with the various examples given which were qualitative objective. A use of some quantitative reference was mentioned in the book but the book was rather based on qualitative data and reference.

Something to Ponder

One interesting point is discussed on page fifty (50) about earworms and music. A doctor recalls patient hearing earworms as she was prescribed bi-polar medication. Isn’t this sort of strange how a side effect of a medication can bring a about a stimulation of a repetitive song in your head? “This is a classic example of over sensory stimulation occurring in a patient that can actually be measured on an EEG.” (Sacks 2008).  On the other hand the brain may find congruence between music and vision that have no apparent relation. Isn’t this strange?

Conclusion

People with no musical training have been known to compose great musical classics. Suddenly suppressed brain functions suddenly gave rise to creative notions. Some scientists believe the non-dominant brain lay dormant for all the time previous and has suddenly taken control due to some stimulant in life.

Works Cited

Sacks, Oliver Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain New York: Random House, Inc., 2008

Stuart, Amilu (2009) Retrieved December 27, 2009 from, http://ezinearticles.com/?Musicophilia—Tales-of-Music-and-the-Brain&id=2147610

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