Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks

I’ve been meaning to write a review of Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (wikipedia) by Oliver Sacks (wikipedia).

The book presents a number of case studies in a variety of topics involving music and the brain, like epilepsy and music, amnesia and music, or depression and music. There are also case studies involving things like amusia and note-color synesthesia. There are people who get struck by lightning and then becomes obsessed with piano music. Or the people who are unable to speak but are still able to sing. Or the violinist for whom a single note suddenly sounds out of tune.

After each case study, Sacks offers some explanation about what might be going on in the brain to cause these abnormalities.

I found this book absolutely fascinating and devoured it whenever I had a chance until I finished it. It’s well worth the money, especially if you love music and have a nerdy bone in your body.

You can read a significant excerpt and hear an interesting piece on Musicophilia at NPR. You can purchase it from amazon.

One response to “Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks”

  1. Hmmm…I’ll have to respectfully disagree. Sacks is a great writer, but I thought his take on music was far too analytical, and really lacked soul. It seemed to put the music in the form of a problem you could “solve”, which I really don’t think is the case.

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