chapter  6
14 Pages

Musical art and brain damage II: performing and listening to music

Introduction Performing musical artists, whether opera or jazz singers, pianists, violinists, or organists, all display their craft, talent, skill, experience, and musical cognition. Both expression and reception are thus displayed. The accumulated body of experimental data suggests that total musical expression relies on the specialization of both hemispheres (Baeck, 2002b; Wieser, 2003). Currently, the general hemispheric pattern is that while the left hemisphere specializes in the perception of timing and rhythm, the right hemisphere specializes in pitch and timbre perception. Within each hemisphere, the temporal lobes are predominantly involved with musical perception and the frontal lobes in musical output and expression. The latter feature of music is associated with language and is an important issue for discussion in the context of music. Music consists of a variety of sub-components and fragments, not all of which are understood or defined, while the sub-components of language appear closely related to each other and to form a unified entity, one that requires single cortical control. Moreover, the sub-components of language are better understood than those of music. However, the bulk of the discussion in this chapter concerns disruption to musical abilities following brain damage or neurological intervention.