Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

What good is music? Oliver Sacks (author of The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, The Island of the Colorblind, and especially - for chemists - Uncle Tungsten) concludes in the Preface to Musicophilia that there is no apparent evolutionary advantage associated with human appreciation for certain combinations of sounds and rhythm. Nevertheless, music remains one of the most powerful evocators of memory and stimulant of emotion. As is always the case with Sacks, his writing is inventive and his perspective combines neuroscience with experiences that we can relate to. One of his chapters deals with the use of music therapy in the treatment of Alzheimer's and other patients with dementia. My daughter who is a hospice social worker had only recently told me similar stories about clients with whom she has had very positive results using music. Like much of the workings of the brain, the response to music is mysterious. It is great to have a guide like Oliver Sacks to take us on a tour of exploration. This inexpensive paperback edition is revised and expanded from the 2007 clothbound.

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Oliver Sacks

Publication Date: 
Monday, January 1, 2007