Neuroscience and Music

bwes_remove_ at wi.rr.com bwes_remove_ at wi.rr.com
Fri Sep 10 13:16:10 EST 2004

> > Excuse me for my english, I'm Italian.
> > I have a strange question...
> > 
> > If one person is very good to recognize *instantly* a song, a rhythm, a 
> > melody...
> > Which is the mainly brain hemisphere activated, the left or the right ?
> Generally musical appreciation is thought to be a function of the right 
> hemisphere; however, the processes of recognition is a function of 
> memory, and may involve the left hemisphere as well.  The enjoyment of 
> music has been associated with activity in BOTH hemispheres!  Of course, 
> only selective parts of the hemispheres are activated.
> > And is there any connection with the "musical intelligence" and Creative 
> > Talent in music ?  Or are they two separate things?
> Well, if you can say what "musical intelligence" is then somebody might 
> have an answer to that.  I do know that musical education levels relate 
> to perception of musical stimuli, but that's not a surprise.  I doubt 
> anybody would even agree on what creative talent is, so I doubt there is 
> a sensible answer to your question.
> If I had to guess, I would say that quick recognition of music depends 
> on how individuals access their memory, which in turn would depend on 
> which senses were dominant and what their experience had been.  Those 
> things might indicate someone who was more interested in music and hence 
> more likely to be musically creative, than creative in other ways.  
> That's pure speculation though.
 <small snip>

I recently (this February>  I had "scar tissue"; around 3/4 of a 
"twinkie"; removed from my right temporal lobe; including the amygdala & 
hippocampus. I didn't drink or smoke & was right handed pre-op. Now I 
drink (almost to excess), accept any herb that's offered, and I am left 
handed. I also have better short term memory, better sense of balance 
(unless I drink or smoke too much), keep the beat much better now (with 
the left hand & foot); less fear (much beter on ladders/roofs/tubular 
full-body MRI's). My music appreciation/enjoyment is much better now.
Yes I realize these functions are "reverse hemisphere" controlled, and 
that I'm missing a  sizable chunk of the _right_ one. My paradigm is 
that by removing the scar tissue, it allowed the opening of neural 
pathways from the heretofore stunted ones. I also had problems pre-op 
recognizing people I knew. I would recognize my wife from the shoulders 
done; by the jacket, purse and shoes she wore, but not by looking at her 
face. That too has improved. (Unless I'm ignoring her. <grin>)

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