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Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain | [Oliver Sacks]

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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' 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. He 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.

©2007 Oliver Sacks; (P)2007 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"[Sacks'] 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)
"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." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (512 )
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Performance
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  •  
    DENNIS Adelphi, MD, United States 02-06-14
    DENNIS Adelphi, MD, United States 02-06-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Quite a variety of musical perception"

    Sacks thoughtfully reveals how strange music appreciation is, by presenting many examples of unusual musical perception. In addition to dysfunctions related to accidents and illness, he describes the quirks of "earwigs", perfect pitch and color-sensed tones. Neurology still does not explain how acoustics are connected to emotions, or how simple rhythm is physically compelling. Nevertheless, it makes you think about what your brain is doing when you listen to music.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robyn 08-26-12
    robyn 08-26-12
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    "Recommended"
    What did you like best about Musicophilia? What did you like least?

    The subject matter and insight into the ways humans work and how little we know about it is what intrigues me most. The repetitiveness of the episodes narrated is what can get boring.


    Do you think Musicophilia needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. It is well self-contained.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hart 06-07-12
    Hart 06-07-12
    ratings
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    9
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    "ThingsINeverKnew"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Musicophilia to be better than the print version?

    Cannot respond. Did not read the print.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story agreed with many things I have always believed about music. E.g., Rhythm is probably one of the most primitive emotions we have and respond to. Each key has a different "mood" to it, so do certain intervals.


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He sounds like what I imagine Oliver Saks voice would sound.+


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    It would make a potentially excellent documentary.
    "HowWeRespondtoMusic."


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gustavo Joao Pessoa, Brazil 01-30-12
    Gustavo Joao Pessoa, Brazil 01-30-12
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    "The brain and music: how they are connected it."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, especially if that person likes either psycology, music or the inner works of our brain. It is very well narrated, very informative.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It is not a fictional work. But you can relate to some of the cases discussed in here.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    I didn't finish all the book yet, but John Lee has done a great job. I downloaded another book narrated by the author himself. I could not stand it, whereas in this book even the most technical details seem to be a normal complement to the whole book. With a lesser narrator, I don't even know if I could stand it either.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It is not that kind of book, although someone else might be more sensitive than me as to this.


    Any additional comments?

    I cannot say what exactly makes this book so good. Could be its narrator, the way it is written, the odd aspects related to music, or the whole ensemble. Whatever it is, is a very good reading to learn things about our mind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ch Portland, OR USA 07-16-11
    ch Portland, OR USA 07-16-11 Member Since 2012

    I love to read and hope you do too! Audio books are great for people on the go!

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    "A Great Gift you can give your loved ones"

    I have to admit that I just am fascinated by all of Oliver Sacks' stories. I actually used the concepts discussed in this book on my uncle who had Alzheimer's disease and was getting very disconnected from life. He had been a bluegrass mandolin player and responded very positively to playing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken". I bought the CD for him so that my aunt could play it for him. He could actually sing along with Maybelle Carter on "Wildwood Rose" and he named the singer. My aunt thanked me for giving this gift to him. And I thank Dr. Sacks for bringing these books to us. They are more than idle entertainment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim 03-19-08
    Jim 03-19-08
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    "Not Sacks' Best, and Reader Ruins It"

    Sacks chronicles some bizarre and interesting auditory aberrations, many of which I could not even have imagined. This I expected, but there just wasn't enough meat and insight to hold my attention through the whole thing.
    With his British accent, the reader sounded wrong for Sacks's first-person narrative. Even aside from that, his voice was nearly intolerable to my ears. How to describe it...not an Oxbridge accent exactly. Maybe like an upperclass English twit trying to conceal drunkenness by being extra precise with his diction.
    Just curious: does Sacks ever actually cure anyone, or is he, like most neurology specialists, "diagnose, adios"?

    8 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Silver Spring, MD, USA 12-01-07
    Jeff Silver Spring, MD, USA 12-01-07
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    "Lame"

    I thought this book was going to be about cool hearing disorders -- becoming a maestro after having a car accident etc, but there is precious little of dat in here. The focus is entirely on the minutiae of ringing ears and the dissapointingly mudane disorder known as the auditory hallucination. Snore.

    3 of 31 people found this review helpful
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