Type of article: ORIGINAL
Department of Neurology. Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain.
Music may be considered a special type of language. In addition to performing a communicative function -particularly that of transmitting emotions- it includes artistic and cultural facets. Musical aptitudes have a substantial genetic component, and formal practice results in noticeable changes in the functional structure of specific regions of the brain (cerebellum, corpus callosum, motor cortex, planum temporale). The right hemisphere is associated with innate phenomena in music, especially the components of melody and timbre; the left hemisphere is associated with rhythm and other formal or analytical aspects. Conditions affecting musical ability are classified by the type of dysfunction they cause: deficits of perception and/or production, and total or partial dysfunction (melody, tone, timbre, rhythm, and notation). The emotional component may also be affected selectively. Musicogenic epilepsy, defined as reflex seizures triggered by the subject's listening to or playing a specific passage of music, is caused by a dysfunction of the superior temporal gyrus of the non-dominant hemisphere. It must be distinguished from paroxysmal songs or auditory seizures, phenomena in which the patient reports hearing a specific melody. Musician's dystonia is a specific type of motor control disorder which, given the presence of genetic predisposition and excessive and incorrect training, will result in distortion of the precise motor patterns that govern playing an instrument. Meanwhile, music therapy as a treatment alternative has delivered encouraging results.
Neuromusicology, amusia, task-specific dystonia, epilepsy, absolute pitch, music therapy
Neurosciences and History 2014;2(4):149-155
Neurosciences and History
Archivo Histórico de la Sociedad Española de Neurología
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