ISSN (print): 2068-8040



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The Romanian Journal of Child and Adolescent Neurology and Psychiatry

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THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC


Authors: Constantin Lupu


Devoted to musical art, music composition and conception process and to our daily need for music, this monograph is a benefit for musicians, psychologists, physicians, students, journalists, etc. while updating many aspects of human life in relation to music. 

Older and contemporary studies on heredity have shown that musicality has an important genetic component. Starting from these findings, the author reminds us that there is a genetic (familial) inclination for vocal or instrumental music expression. 

Previous and current studies on heredity state that musicality has a major genetic component. Based on these findings, the author reminds us that there is genetic (family) predisposition related to vocal or instrumental music expression, to the ability to create and compose music and even to make music a means of living. 

These genetic qualities, as well as the music predispositions are necessary for a someone to undergo continuing training in this field. Learning music requires listening, understanding explanations of themes, education and specialization. Such activities will create musicians, composers and modern renovators. 

Daniel J. Levitin was born in 1957 in San Francisco, studied engineering and music, but dedicated himself to playing music in several rock bands. At age of 30 he became a student again: he started to study cognitive neurophysiology at Stanford, specializing in music perception. He became a leading neurologist, involved in the integration of the processes that take place in the brain when someone sings or listens to music. He does not rely on aseptic laboratory experiments, but on the current perspective on live art. Thus, the author gets to answer some basic questions such as: How did music appear. How are music and language related to each other? What is going on in the composer’s mind? What is musical talent? 

I recommend this 346-page book to our specialists because they may find there explanations of the possibilities of the musical brain that coordinates and links the imponderable subtleties of interpretation and listening to the neurological processes underlying human musical life. The text helps us understand the tremendous impact of the “eternal obsession with music” on our human nature, following the traditional and modern knowledge that pass through the Music Perception Laboratory, where the author is an expert. He published numerous specialized works on music perception and its processing in the brain and demonstrated that music processing is distributed throughout the whole brain. 

Thus, the first stages of listening to the sounds are to be found in the auditory cortex. The perception and the tone analysis in the sensory cortex achieves the tactile feed-back in playing an instrument and in dancing, while the visual cortex enables the reading of music, the initiation of an interpreter’s own movements. The hippocampus stores musical memory, musical experiences and the contexts (continuity) of melodies. Nucleus accumbens and brain amygdala are headquarters of emotional reactions to music. 

In the nine chapters of the book, mixing general concepts with brain anatomy and physiology ones, the author provides us with more details on: “What is music? From Pitch to Timbre”, “Foot Tapping: Discerning Rhythm, Loudness and Harmony”, “ Behind the Curtain - Music and the Mind Machine”, “ What Makes a Musician? Expertise Dissected “ or “The Music Instinct – Evolution’s # 1 Hit” ... In this book, we find a historical analysis of human musical brain by analysing classic composers and their works from Beethoven, Liszt, Tchaikovsky to the Beatles, Chet Atkins, Lenny Breau and other performance groups, including electronic and physiological studies on music of taken by the cortex, the brainstem and the cerebellum.  

The monograph can be ordered at “Cartea prin poştă”, tel / fax: 0214088351 or e-mail: cpp@humanitas.ro.