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The Psychology of Music


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"So often you can find dysfunction gives you an illumination of what's normal"

 

Listen Now - 03012008 | Download Audio - 03012008

Oliver Sacks on the musical brain

 

Dr. Oliver Sacks plays Chopin mazurkas on his piano in New York. Sometimes he hears them in his head, note perfect, without the piano. How can we 'imagine' music so powerfully and why does it make such an impact emotionally? Read Transcript

 

Thursday 03 January 2008

Listen Now - 10012008 | Download Audio - 10012008

Struck by Lightning: Oliver Sacks and the Musical Brain, Part 2

 

A doctor, making a call in a phone box in New York, was hit by a lightning bolt through the receiver. It reprogrammed his brain, making him obsessed by Chopin and learning to play the piano.

It helped ruin his marriage but gave him brand new talents. How could this happen? Oliver Sacks tells this case history, and others, from his book Musicophilia. Read Transcript

Thursday 10 January 2008

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just listened to a BBC interview with Dr. Sacks about his new Music book.

Quite different and wider reaching than the ABC interview

Except the BBC has, with true English Bureaucracy, hidden it.

It was in a show called The Interview played toady about 30 mins ago.

It may appear here at some time

BBC World Service | The Interview Archive

 

 

Other BBC Sacks/music links

BBC - Radio 3 - Night Waves - Oliver Sacks

BBC - Radio 3 - Music Matters - 10 November 2007

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Hardtalk | Inside other people's minds

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  • 1 month later...
I just listened to a BBC interview with Dr. Sacks about his new Music book.

Quite different and wider reaching than the ABC interview

Except the BBC has, with true English Bureaucracy, hidden it.

It was in a show called The Interview played toady about 30 mins ago.

It may appear here at some time

BBC World Service | The Interview Archive

 

 

Other BBC Sacks/music links

BBC - Radio 3 - Night Waves - Oliver Sacks

BBC - Radio 3 - Music Matters - 10 November 2007

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Hardtalk | Inside other people's minds

 

Missed it but agree that the effects of music on the mind are often missed

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A pity

1 BBC ABC only keep interviews for amonth or so

2. I haven't learnt or have memory for attcaching sound files to hypography posts

here is atranscript

No where near as good as the interview.

'I Think of Us as a Musical Species'

 

Oliver Sacks' new book "Musicophilia" deals with the mysteries of music and the brain. SPIEGEL speaks with him about the Jewish patient who had hallucinations of Nazi marching bands, the Tourette's percussion orchestra and about why he wants to kill people with iPods.

 

Acclaimed neurologist Oliver Sacks believes that humans are the only innately musical species.

Zoom

Jürgen Frank

 

Acclaimed neurologist Oliver Sacks believes that humans are the only innately musical species.

SPIEGEL: Dr. Sacks, close your eyes and think about music. What do you hear?

 

Oliver Sacks: A Chopin mazurka is coming to me. It is one in B flat major, and I feel an itch in my hands to play it. I can sort of see the keyboard in front of me...

 

SPIEGEL: The tune, the mazurka, the keyboard. All of these seem to be present all of a sudden. How can that be?

 

Sacks: Don't all of us probably have latent powers and passions of one sort or another that can hit us unexpectedly?

 

SPIEGEL: You are obviously aware of your own passion for music. However, in your latest book, "Musicophilia," you claim that music can strike even completely unmusical people out of the blue.

 

Sacks: Yes, that's how it was with Tony, a patient of mine. Tony was a busy surgeon who had no particular interest in music and no special talent for music. But then, in fall 1994, he was transformed after he had been struck by lightning and was clinically dead for a brief period of time. He had a cardiac arrest probably for 30 seconds, and his brain didn't get enough oxygen. And, since then, he has been a changed man, in that he now has a passion for music, and he’s discovered a considerable talent for music. He is also, to use his own word, 'obsessed' -- or 'possessed' -- by music. It comes with a certain mystical or religious feeling that it is a gift from heaven.

 

FROM THE MAGAZINE

Find out how you can reprint this DER SPIEGEL article in your publication.

SPIEGEL: Do you have a rational explanation for what might have happened to his brain?

 

Sacks: I'm sure that the lack of oxygen caused some type of reorganization in Tony's brain. Nerve cells were presumably damaged or there was some new growth, so that certain parts of the brain that were previously inactive have become active -- and have become constantly active. He feels he hears piano music all the time, his own compositions. This is not dissimilar to what happens to people with frontotemporal dementia, but in that case there's a very clear mechanism whereby damage in this area removes the inhibition in other areas. With Tony, though, it's not clear.

 

SPIEGEL: Has Tony been possessed, or has he become a good player?

. . .

. . .

SPIEGEL Interview with Neurologist Oliver Sacks: 'I Think of Us as a Musical Species' - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

also

Oliver Sacks on Earworms, Stevie Wonder and the View From Mescaline Mountain

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  • 4 weeks later...
Neurobiologists Discover Individuals Who 'Hear' Movement

 

ScienceDaily (Aug. 7, 2008) — Individuals with synesthesia perceive the world in a different way from the rest of us. Because their senses are cross-activated, some synesthetes perceive numbers or letters as having colors or days of the week as possessing personalities, even as they function normally in the world.

 

Now, researchers at the California Institute of Technology have discovered a type of synesthesia in which individuals hear sounds, such as tapping, beeping, or whirring, when they see things move or flash. Surprisingly, the scientists say, auditory synesthesia may not be unusual--and may simply represent an enhanced form of how the brain normally processes visual information.

Neurobiologists Discover Individuals Who 'Hear' Movement

 

Image from a short video of moving dots. Some people hear sound when watching the video. (Link to full video at end of story.) (Credit: Image courtesy of California Institute of Technology)

 

Anyone with any first-hand experience of this phenomenon?

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  • 7 months later...

Musicians Have A Biological Advantage When It Comes To Emotions In Sounds

By News Staff | March 3rd 2009 12:00 AM | 1 comment |

 

 

In a study in the latest issue of European Journal of Neuroscience, a. . .study found that the more years of musical experience musicians possessed and the earlier the age they began their music studies also increased their nervous systems' abilities to process emotion in sound.

. . .

"Quickly and accurately identifying emotion in sound is a skill that translates across all arenas, whether in the predator-infested jungle or in the classroom, boardroom or bedroom,"

. . .

The results were not exactly what the researchers expected. They found that musicians' brainstems lock onto the complex part of the sound known to carry more emotional elements but de-emphasize the simpler (less emotion conveying) part of the sound. This was not the case in non-musicians.

. . .

In essence, musicians more economically and more quickly focus their neural resources on the important -- in this case emotional -- aspect of sound. "That their brains respond more quickly and accurately than the brains of non-musicians is something we'd expect to translate into the perception of emotion in other settings," Strait says.

Musicians Have A Biological Advantage When It Comes To Emotions In Sounds

 

Guitarists Don't Just Play Together, Their Brain Waves Sync Too

Synchronized, goal-directed actions are nothing new; that concept is the foundation of civilization. . . .

 

A new study shows that when musicians play along together it isn't just their instruments that are working together, it is happening at the brain wave level also.

. . .

The brains' frontal and central regions showed the strongest synchronization patterns, as the researchers expected.

However the temporal and parietal regions also showed relatively high synchronization in at least half of the pairs of musicians. The regions may be involved in processes supporting the coordinated action between players, or in enjoying the music.

. . .

So interpersonally coordinated actions are accompanied by between-brain oscillatory couplings.

video at site

Guitarists Don't Just Play Together, Their Brain Waves Sync Too

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