Arousing, inspiring, comforting – music is capable of stimulating both passion and compassion, speaking to our very core and taking us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. It can get us dancing to its beat. But the power of music goes much, much further. Indeed, music occupies more areas of our brain than language does–humans are a musical species.
In Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks explores this phenomenon through various case studies, including a surgeon who is struck by lightning and subsequently becomes obsessed with Chopin. Describing how music can animate people with Parkinson’s Disease, can give words to stroke patients, or calm those disorientated by Alzheimer’s or schizophrenia, Sacks uses the example of music, and stories of individual experience, to illuminate the universal human condition.
Music is irresistible, haunting, and unforgettable, and in Musicophila, Oliver Sacks tells us why.