Monday, July 6, 2009

Music and the Mind

I've recently been thinking a lot about the effects of music on the brain. Last week noted neurologist Oliver Sacks gave a fascinating interview on the daily show in which he discussed his new book, Musicophilia, as well as what his own brain looks like on music. Oliver Sacks, as some of you may know, is the author of numerous other books, including his most famous, The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, a novel that explores a variety of neurological disorders. I've just started his new book, so I'll let you know how that goes. There's been more brain-music news this week; in All in the Mind, a highly recommended podcast that I listen to religiously, host Natasha Mitchell discusses the mind of nineteenth century composer Robert Schummann. Natasha explores his life, his relationship to music, and his abrupt death at 46 in a mental asylum. Is there a connection, she asks, between mental illness and musical genius? This is a question that is not unknown to me, as I have been involved in formal debates and have written papers, in fact about Schumann himself, on this very topic. I as of yet have no answers, and neither, as I expected, does Natasha. It certainly is fascinating to think about and I highly recommend giving it a listen. Have a good day folks, and don't forget to listen to some music :)

Update: the folks at scientific american mind also seem to have their brains on music

1 comment:

  1. Ahemhem, my favorite lady, have you caught this yet?
    How much do I love Neil deGrasse Tyson? You know...