Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Book review: Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks

This very interesting book examines how people perceive music. Dr. Sacks looks at how the human brain absorbs music, and he tells interesting tales about the musical abilities of people with perfect pitch and people who "see" musical notes and keys as colors in their own mind. Also fascinating are Sacks' stories of people who have suffered brain injuries and strokes and the effects these have on their ability to perceive music. One of the interesting bits of information is the research finding that upwards for 50 percent infants with a severe visual impairment compensate with extraordinary hearing and musical comprehension, including developing perfect pitch. Sacks' stories come from interviews with patients and with a wide range of musicians, and also with doctors and psychologists working on the cutting edge of neurological research. This book is full of interesting tidbits about music and science and is recommended to anyone interested in the science behind music.

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