"A humane discourse on the fragility of our minds, of the bodies that give rise to them, and of the world they create for us. This book is filled with wonders" Daily Telegraph Oliver Sacks' compassionate tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our own minds. In Musicophilia, he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians and everyday people - those struck by affliction, unusual talent and even, in one case, by lightning - to show not only that music occupies more areas of our brain than language does, but also that it can torment, calm, organize and heal. Always wise and compellingly readable, these stories alter our conception of who we are and how we function, and show us an essential part of what it is to be human. 'Fascinating. Music, as Sacks explains, "can pierce the heart directly". And this is the truth that he so brilliantly focuses upon - that music saves, consoles and nourishes us "Daily Mail" An elegantly outlined series of case studies... which reveal the depth to which music grips so many people' Observer.
Brain, Vision, Memory – Tales in the History of Neuroscience (Paper)
Brain, Vision, Memory – Tales in the History of Neuroscience
In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin (The World in Six Songs) explores the connection between music, its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it, and the human brain. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, Levitin reveals: How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world; Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre; That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise; How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head. Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.
Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning. It is thought that brain development continues for many years after birth. Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds. There is also a causal link between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things.) This kind of intelligence, by which one can visualize various elements that should go together, is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for everything from solving advanced mathematics problems to being able to pack a book- bag with everything that will be needed for the day.
In these tales of ordinary madness, Charles Bukowski ingeniously mixes high and low culture, from prostitutes and the philosophy of Kant to despair and classical music, to create his modern dystopia. Inspired by DH Lawrence, John Fante and Hemingway, Bukowski's writing is passionate, extreme and relentlessly realistic. These are angry yet tender, humorous and haunting portrayals of life in the underbelly of America.
Brain-Computer Music Interfaces (BCMIs) aim to allow users to control music using their brain activity information. In this thesis the design and implementation of a BCMI for controlling the expressive content of musical pieces using emotions is presented. Human emotions can be characterized as a combination of arousal and valence values. However, the variability of these values across different subjects complicates the use of emotions for controlling music expression. Two experiments are presented to study the best approach for calculating arousal and valence value boundaries. The obtained results indicate that using images with emotional content in the process of calibrating the BCMI is less reliable than instructing the subjects to consciously modulate their excitation/relaxation state. Another conclusion is that the computed valence value is less reliable than the arousal value for controlling the BCMI. The impact of using both music and visual feedback in the BCMI is investigated and the main conclusion is that most of the users participating in the experiment are able to control better the BCMI when receiving only musical feedback compared to both music and visual feedback.
Inspired by DH Lawrence, Chekhov and Hemingway, Bukowski's writing is passionate, extreme and has attracted a cult following, while his life was as weird and wild as the tales he wrote. This collection of short stories gives an insight into the dark, dangerous lowlife of Los Angeles that Bukowski inhabited. From prostitutes to classical music, Bukowski ingeniously mixes high and low culture in his 'tales of ordinary madness'. These are angry yet tender, humorous and haunting portrayals of life in the underbelly of Los Angeles.
Early studies of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike - strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, horrendous accidents - and see how victims coped. In many cases their survival was miraculous, if puzzling. Observers were amazed by the transformations that took place when different parts of the brain were destroyed, altering victims' personalities. Parents suddenly couldn't recognize their own children. Pillars of the community became pathological liars. Some people couldn't speak but could still sing. In The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, Sam Kean travels through time with stories of neurological curiosities: phantom limbs, Siamese twin brains, viruses that eat patients' memories, blind people who see through their tongues. He weaves these narratives together with prose that makes the pages fly by, to create a story of discovery that reaches back to the 1500s and the high-profile jousting accident that inspired this book's title. With the lucid, masterful explanations and razor-sharp wit his fans have come to expect, Kean explores the brain's secret passageways and recounts the forgotten tales of the ordinary people whose struggles, resilience, and deep humanity made neuroscience possible. "The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons" refers to the case of French king Henri II, who in 1559 was lanced through the skull during a joust, resulting in one of the most significant cases in neuroscience history. For hundreds of years scientists have gained important lessons from traumatic accidents and illnesses, and such misfortunes still represent their greatest resource for discovery.
On his journeys to Russia in the early twentieth century, British author Arthur Ransome gathered folklore from peasant storytellers and then retold them in English upon his return. This choice collection includes nine of these charming tales - some resembling stories from western Europe, others introducing exotic creatures and situations unique to the Russian imagination. Filled with magical beasts, daring young men, frightful giants, wicked witches, and captivating creatures of the sea, the tales introduce young readers to the legendary Firebird; the dulcimer-playing Sadko, whose music could make the Tzar of the Sea dance; the iron-toothed witch Baba Yaga; and other beguiling characters.
Even though science continues to make discoveries about the human brain, there is still much that is unknown. While there are explanations for many biological questions of “how” that have been answered, one that still eludes scientists is how music has an emotional effect on the human mind. Memory and emotions are innate qualities that are part of how humans function. Music, on the other hand, is a creation of man that has existed for millennia. While it has never been questioned "if" music affects humans, the questions of "how" and "why" remain to be answered. The fact that there are still questions about the impact of music on the human psyche only proves how complex and meaningful to the human experience it actually is.
The Lives of the Brain – Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind
The Boundaries of Babel – The Brain and the Enigma of Impossible Languages