Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

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By (author) Oliver W Sacks, Read by Simon Prebble

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: CD-Audio
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 158mm x 26mm | 159g
  • Publication date: 16 October 2007
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0739357395
  • ISBN 13: 9780739357392
  • Edition: Abridged
  • Edition statement: Abridged
  • Sales rank: 592,595

Product description

Music can move us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can persuade us to buy something, or remind us of our first date. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. It can get us dancing to its beat. But the power of music goes much, much further. Indeed, music occupies more areas of our brain than language does--humans are a musical species. Oliver Sacks's compassionate, compelling tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our own brains, and of the human experience. In "Musicophilia, " he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians, and everyday people--from a man who is struck by lightning and suddenly inspired to become a pianist at the age of forty-two, to an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hypermusical from birth; from people with "amusia," to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans, to a man whose memory spans only seven seconds--for everything but music. Our exquisite sensitivity to music can sometimes go wrong: Sacks explores how catchy tunes can subject us to hours of mental replay, and how a surprising number of people acquire nonstop musical hallucinations that assault them night and day. Yet far more frequently, music goes right: Sacks describes how music can animate people with Parkinson's disease who cannot otherwise move, give words to stroke patients who cannot otherwise speak, and calm and organize people whose memories are ravaged by Alzheimer's or amnesia. Music is irresistible, haunting, and unforgettable, and in "Musicophilia, " Oliver Sacks tells us why.

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Author information

Oliver Sacks is a physician and the author of nine previous books, including T"he Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat "and "Awakenings" (which inspired the Oscar-nominated film). He lives in New York City, where he is Professor of Clinical Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University. Visit his website at www.oliversacks.com.

Review quote

"Sacks is an unparalleled chronicler of modern medicine, and fans of his work will find much to enjoy when he turns his prodigious talent for observation to music and its relationship to the brain . . . This book leaves one a little more attuned to the remarkable complexity of human beings, and a bit more conscious of the role of music in our lives." "-Publishers Weekly " "Neurologist Sacks, one of the foremost physician-essayists of the day, charmingly argues that music is essential to being human in ways that have only begun to be understood. . . His customary erudition and fellow-feeling ensure that, no matter how clinical the discussion becomes, it remains, like the music of Mozart, accessible and congenial." "-Booklist " "If we could prescribe what our physicians would be like, a good number of us would probably choose somebody like Sacks. Learned, endlessly inquisitive and seemingly possessed of a bottomless store of human compassion, the neurologist's authorial personality both reassures and arouses curiosity . . . Sacks is as good a guide to this mysterious and barely understood world as one could ask for, mixing serious case studies with personal takes on music and what its ultimate uses could possibly be." "-Kirkus " "A gifted writer and a neurologist, Sacks spins one fascinating tale after another to show what happens when music and the brain mix it up." "-Newsweek " "From the Hardcover edition."