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September 12, 1977

Music and the Brain: Studies in the Neurology of Music

JAMA. 1977;238(11):1185. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280120077028

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


To objectively examine someone's labor of love poses immense difficulties for the reviewer. Perhaps the first question that needs to be asked is why this book was put together in the first place. I have a mental picture of a group of distinguished ladies and gentlemen, impeccably clad in evening attire, repairing to a salon following an unusually edifying performance of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. As a result of a lively discussion, neurologists, psychologists, musicologists, and just interested individuals among the participants must have decided to put on paper, in some kind of organized fashion, what is currently known about the brain's function in terms of composition, performance, and appreciation of music.

The authors are, in fact, speaking to a group that is not much larger than themselves. Their own interest, be it historical, scientific, or simply cultural, is reflected in the individual contributions. Probably because of the widely divergent