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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Sep 23, 2008 - Psychology - 400 pages
1776 Reviews

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With the same trademark compassion and erudition he brought to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition. In Musicophilia, he shows us a variety of what he calls “musical misalignments.” Among them: a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty-two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hypermusical from birth; people with “amusia,” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds-for everything but music. Illuminating, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable, Musicophilia is Oliver Sacks' latest masterpiece.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - trile1000 - LibraryThing

Intellectual and emotional. This book gives various anecdotes about how music affects people. Some are about how one's very existence and identity are attached to music. Some parts were just ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mrgan - LibraryThing

Interesting stories and ideas about music as a pretty basic human need and facility. The book is a bit jumbled, though, so individual cases aren't as memorable. Read full review

Selected pages


Sudden Musicophilia
Musical Seizures
Imagery and Imagination
Brainworms Sticky Music and Catchy Tunes
Musical Hallucinations
A Range of Musicality
Amusia and Dysharmonia
Aphasia and Music Therapy
Dyskinesia and Cantillation
Music and Tourettes Syndrome
Rhythm and Movement
Parkinsons Disease and Music Therapy
The Case of the OneArmed Pianist
Musicians Dystonia
Emotion Identity and Music

Absolute Pitch
Cochlear Amusia
Why We Have Two Ears
Musical Savants
Music and Blindness
Synesthesia and Music
Memory Movement and Music
Music and Amnesia
Musical Dreams
Music Madness and Melancholia
Music and the Temporal Lobes
Dementia and Music Therapy
About the Author

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About the author (2008)

Oliver Sacks was a physician, writer, and professor of neurology. Born in London in 1933, he moved to New York City in 1965, where he launched his medical career and began writing case studies of his patients. Called the “poet laureate of medicine” by The New York Times, Sacks is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, and Awakenings, which inspired an Oscar-nominated film and a play by Harold Pinter. He was the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, and was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2008 for services to medicine. He died in 2015.

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