The first British book on neurology in music was published over 30 years ago. Edited by Drs Macdonald Critchley and R A Henson, it was entitled Music and the Brain (published by Wm Heinemann Medical Books), but all of its contributors are now either retired or deceased. Since then, there has been an increasing amount of research, and the present volume includes the most significant of these advances.
The book begins with the evolutionary basis of meaning in music and continues with the historical perspectives, after which the human nervous system is compared to a clavichord, highlighting the use of metaphor in the history of modern neurology. It discusses the neurologist in the concert hall as well as the musician at the bedside by showing how neurology enriches musical perception, the main theme being the cerebral localisation of music production and perception. The book also emphasises the value of teaching singing to treat speech disorders and the importance of nerve compression in musicians, the final chapter being on recent techniques of imaging the musical brain.
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