Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Philip Ball Article

This article by Philip Ball hits on several topics:

. . . Focal dystonia is sometimes called 'musician's cramp', but it is not a primarily muscular problem: it begins in the brain. As neuroscientist Jessica Grahn of the University of Cambridge, UK, explains, it stems from the fact that intense musical practice can overinflate the mental representation of the relevant part of the body (usually the fingers, although it can affect lip control in brass players). Once the neural representations of the fingers overlap, they can no longer be controlled independently. . . . But it is precisely because the disorder is a neural rather than a muscular problem that dystonia is so hard to treat, and there is still no genuine cure. . . . 

. . . Although she acknowledges that musical expression is multi-faceted, she argues that current neurological studies suggest that the activation of mirror neurons — 'empathy circuits' that fire both when we watch another person perform an action and when we perform it ourselves — offer a clue about how music works. It may be, she says, that when we hear music, we can 'read' it as we would read indicators of emotional state in another person's vocal or physical gestures. . . . .

. . .  support may be emerging for the suggestion of philosopher Susanne Langer that music mimics the dynamics of emotion itself. Or, as psychologist Carroll Pratt put it in 1931, that 'music sounds the way emotions feel'.

No comments:

Post a Comment