Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I'm recomending the book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain to everyone who loves music and brains. This is the latest work by neurologist Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and An Anthropologist on Mars. In Musicophilia, Dr. Sacks explores the strange way that music works in the human brain and what happens when things go wrong. It opens with the story of a man who was struck by lightning and suddenly developed an uncontrolable interest in music, to the extent that he ended up becoming a composer. Sacks discusses patients who's epileptic seizures are triggered by music in bizarre ways, patients with musicophobia, and people who suffer with amazing musical hallucinations. One individual who loved atonal music was actually plagued by musical hallucinations that he found particularly irritating because of their tonal harmony. This is a fascinating book.