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Monday, July 23, 2007

Oliver Sacks on music, the mind and musicophilia

Neurologist Oliver Sacks new book (out October) Musicophilia is about music and the mind. He's written a great introduction in this week's New Yorker, telling stories of people who became obsessed with listening to and playing music after some mental or neurological trauma: "In 1994, when Tony Cicoria was forty-two... he was struck by lightning. He had an out-of-body experience. 'I saw my own body on the ground. I said to myself, 'Oh shit, I’m dead.' …Then—slam! I was back'... Life had returned to normal, seemingly, when 'suddenly over two or three days, there was this insatiable desire to listen to piano music.' This was completely out of keeping with anything in his past. He started to teach himself to play piano. And then, he started to hear music in his head. In the third month after being struck, Cicoria was inspired, even possessed, by music, and scarcely had time for anything else." There's also an audio piece with Sacks talking about music and the mind.
ps: While you're at the New Yorker site, you might also enjoy this video of Malcolm Gladwell talking about Platinum Blue's hit prediction software.

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