Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

Musicophilia Tales of Music and the Brain 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 conditio

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 what he calls musical misalignments Among them a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age oWith 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 what 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 amusia, 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.

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Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

  1. Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE, was a British neurologist residing in the United States, who has written popular books about his patients, the most famous of which is Awakenings, which was adapted into a film of the same name starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.Sacks was the youngest of four children born to a prosperous North London Jewish couple Sam, a physician, and Elsie, a surgeon When he was six years old, he and his brother were evacuated from London to escape The Blitz, retreating to a boarding school in the Midlands, where he remained until 1943 During his youth, he was a keen amateur chemist, as recalled in his memoir Uncle Tungsten He also learned to share his parents enthusiasm for medicine and entered The Queen s College, Oxford University in 1951, from which he received a Bachelor of Arts BA in physiology and biology in 1954 At the same institution, he went on to earn in 1958, a Master of Arts MA and an MB ChB in chemistry, thereby qualifying to practice medicine.After converting his British qualifications to American recognition i.e an MD as opposed to MB ChB , Sacks moved to New York, where he has lived since 1965, and taken twice weekly therapy sessions since 1966.Sacks began consulting at chronic care facility Beth Abraham Hospital now Beth Abraham Health Service in 1966 At Beth Abraham, Sacks worked with a group of survivors of the 1920s sleeping sickness, encephalitis lethargica, who had been unable to move on their own for decades These patients and his treatment of them were the basis of Sacks book Awakenings.His work at Beth Abraham helped provide the foundation on which the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function IMNF , where Sacks is currently an honorary medical advisor, is built In 2000, IMNF honored Sacks, its founder, with its first Music Has Power Award The IMNF again bestowed a Music Has Power Award on Sacks in 2006 to commemorate his 40 years at Beth Abraham and honor his outstanding contributions in support of music therapy and the effect of music on the human brain and mind.Sacks was formerly employed as a clinical professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and at the New York University School of Medicine, serving the latter school for 42 years On 1 July 2007, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons appointed Sacks to a position as professor of clinical neurology and clinical psychiatry, at the same time opening to him a new position as artist , which the university hoped will help interconnect disciplines such as medicine, law, and economics Sacks was a consultant neurologist to the Little Sisters of the Poor, and maintained a practice in New York City.Since 1996, Sacks was a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature In 1999, Sacks became a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences Also in 1999, he became an Honorary Fellow at The Queen s College, Oxford In 2002, he became Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Class IV Humanities and Arts, Section 4 Literature 38 and he was awarded the 2001 Lewis Thomas Prize by Rockefeller University Sacks was awarded honorary doctorates from the College of Staten Island 1991 , Tufts University 1991 , New York Medical College 1991 , Georgetown University 1992 , Medical College of Pennsylvania 1992 , Bard College 1992 , Queen s University Ontario 2001 , Gallaudet University 2005 , University of Oxford 2005 , Pontificia Universidad Cat lica del Per 2006 He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire CBE in the 2008 Birthday Honours Asteroid 84928 Oliversacks, discovered in 2003 and 2 miles 3.2 km in diameter, has been named in his honor.

783 Reply to “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain”

  1. Sacks is, for me, a perfect meeting of a science writer and a writer of creative non fiction He has an equal 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 research on the brain He doesn t condescend, and he doesn [...]

  2. Have you ever experienced an ear worm i.e 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 check.All of these are explored in Musicophilia, a fascinating series of essays by Dr Oliv [...]

  3. 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 if you re interested in a real scientific analysis of music and our obsessi [...]

  4. 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, strange and intractable relationships to music The relationship is sometimes harmful, often incomprehensible, sometimes therapeutic, even charming, but always unforget [...]

  5. 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 acquired 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 extremely pleasurable drug experience in all situations if music [...]

  6. Oliver Sacks has been one of my favorite authors ever since I first read The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat I still completely amazed, and a little bit disturbed, when I think back to his account of the woman who lost her sense of proprioception the internal body sense that lets you know your body is there, even when you have your eyes closed No other author since Proust has explored the nuances of consciousness so carefully, nor pointed out how tenuous the our grip on reality can be.I ve en [...]

  7. 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.

  8. 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 p [...]

  9. I really tried to perservere with this book, but after 100 pages I had to put it down First, although marketed to a popular audience even making it to the best sellers list , there are massive amounts of musical jargon and a background of musical knowledge would be extrememly helpful Second, the books seemed to lack cohesive threads or narritive I found it extremely disjointed with every few paragraphs changing to a different patient with very few being fully developed or resolved Third, I was a [...]

  10. This is my first oliver sacks I always meant to read the Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat but alas never got around to it.I love mr sacks delightful anecdotal storytelling and his intellect that makes fresh and accessible the study of the brain It almost makes the issues dealt with in the book pleasant.In a nutshell, this book is about the power of music, backed by many accounts from the medical perspective of the interaction between music and the brain It s hard to tell without a lot of backg [...]

  11. I wasn t hugely impressed with this Sacks s writing sometimes gets extremely dry as he goes into the technicalities of how the brain functions I found his other books, with chapters each covering a variety of conditions Anthropologist on Mars, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat , to be much stronger, even though they were less consistent thematically It seemed that at times Sacks had to stretch to find patients with some of the musical conditions he described not a good sign, since some of h [...]

  12. Starts off with a fairly unsatisfying collection of anecdotes around loss or gain of musical ability The real heft arrives halfway as Sacks starts pulling together the real research and making implications.The message here is that music is not some frivolous side effect of our neurology Rather, music is processed by dedicated machinery in our brains and can affect us in profound and surprising ways.There are tantalising implications that humans have the capacity for much greater musical ability, [...]

  13. I get the feeling Oliver Sacks likes to reuse material He retells the stories of his clients throughout his books, always with references to his other work This isn t entirely bad, but I had to speed through some parts that were a tad bit repetitive The subject matter is fascinating, and perfectly delivered for the layman Which I happen to be I have a newfound respect for the power of music therapy and music itself.

  14. Leggendo questo bellissimo saggio di Sacks, rimango ancora una volta stupito dalla complessit del cervello umano, che si rende palpabile in questo lungo e dettagliato esame delle patologie neurologiche legate all ampia sfera musicale Proprio il fatto che esistano cos tanti e cos vari disturbi associati alla percezione e alla produzione musicale testimonia quanto profondo e articolato sia il rapporto tra la mente umana e la musica, che come anche le altre arti sembra essere quasi superflua da un [...]

  15. Non ho potuto dedicargli il tempo che avrei voluto, quindi il primo consiglio che mi sento di dare su questo libro leggetelo con calma Ci scritto, si tratta di un libro ricco di contenuti e naturalmente interessante per chiunque sia interessato alla musica, alle dinamiche del cervello umano o a entrambe le cose Un testo ricco di curiosit e aneddoti che ha la caratteristica di rifiutare la forma del romanzo o della storia unica per frammentarsi in una serie di minisaggi su singole persone e o pat [...]

  16. Musicophelia is an enchanting read, though one is struck by the phenomena depicted amusias, musical hallucinations, comatose patients suddenly awakened by nothing than a familiar melody than the manner of their depiction Sacks has always been lauded for his fluid, personable style, and for good reason, but in the wake of classics such as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Uncle Tungsten, his writing seems excessively florid and repetitive neither tight enough nor substantial enough to [...]

  17. 2.5 starsI am a music geek I play piano and I m also taking a Music Theory Class right now So I was really pumped to read a book about how music affects you.But the thing is, all these concept aren t explored I feel like too many topics were squeezed into one book Even , some of them are very repetitive In this book, I ve read in so many chapters about how people with certain disorders and illnesses have a special reaction to music Yes, there are many diseases, but it just got really repetitive [...]

  18. Musicofilia un saggio da leggere sicuramente in pillole, cosa che non ho fatto io Ci nonostante, questo bel tomo di 400 pagine, rimane un interessantissimo saggio sul rapporto cervello musica Quanta rilevanza ha la musica nelle nostre vite Perch in alcuni pazienti post traumatici o post coma insorge tutto a un tratto uno spirito musicale Perch i tormentoni ci rimangono in testa la muiscoterapia davvero efficace Tutte queste domande e molte altre vengono analizzate in modo esaustivo tramite anedd [...]

  19. Woooooooa Heeeeeeey Look at me I m Oliver Sacks and I m tellin you some wacky stuff about brains.oh la la I m so fancy interesting topic but I prefer the podcast interview to the book which I was able to stick with through apx chapter 6 before throwing in the towell npr templates story st

  20. Summary Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks chronicles the neuroscience of music the various ways music affects the brain, and the unusual effects of various neurological conditions on our perception, performance, and experience of music.Oliver Sacks died on August 30 of this year A few months earlier, my son gave me this book, and it seemed especially appropriate to pull it off the to be read pile and acquaint myself with the work of this neuroscientist and physician Before opening the book, I ha [...]

  21. Livro muito bom e me lembrou muito o livro Gen tica, no sentido de ser uma s rie de relatos m dicos vividos pelos pr prios pacientes do Oliver ou por casos que chegaram at o conhecimento dele, onde ele analisa cada um desses casos Mas justamente por ser apenas isso o livro que n o dei cinco estrelas, chega em alguns momentos que fica cansativo e mon tono, mas n o estraga a obra toda o primeiro livro que leio do Oliver Sacks e gostei bastante do estilo dele, pois sempre que pode traz as hist rias [...]

  22. In his characteristic compassion and curiosity Oliver Sacks looks at what seems to be the infinite ways that music interacts with our brains from the worms that play maddeningly in our heads to the power of music as an aid in communication with people who either from birth or from stroke or other life altering situation have lost the ability to vocalize And okay, this blows my mind, that people who otherwise cannot remember the sequence of basic routines in life, like getting up, shaving, making [...]

  23. I m reading this slowly and between other books I have it on my electronic reader and so usually focus on it when I m traveling I always feel I learn something from Sacks, and this book is no different in that respect Now finished I love Sacks I always learn something His stories or examples are terrific And there is an underlying humanity to him that always seems to understand what is good about someone, no matter how serious the neurologic, etc defect In this book, he explores the power of mus [...]

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