Interesting Discoveries About The Brain (6)

Music to Our Ears

In his book, Musicophilia, neurologist Oliver Sachs says,

Anatomists would be hard put to identify the brain of a visual artist, a writer, or a mathematician – but they could recognize the brain of a professional musician without a moment’s hesitation. 

And it seems music is not just physically transformative for musicians – all of us are responsive to music. There is no doubt about it, our relationship with music is ancient, complex and mysterious. Both sides of the brain are involved when we listen to music which gives us a coherence that many scientists consider essential for both biological and social function.  This coherence promotes high level brain function and may possibly be one reason music has such a powerful influence on all of us – but important as that may be, it isn’t the complete picture.

After all, nobody really knows why we can sing even when we can no longer speak.  Or why different parts of our brains react to different musical pitches.  And how can it be that babies in the womb – completely free of cultural influence – show definite musical preferences?

Our relationship with music is a mystery that continues to lead scientists to investigate and musicians to create.

So – what does music do to your brain?


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  1. so cool! what a playground of information and ideas. thank u for sharing. i think u’d luv my sister-in-laws thoughts and well and plan on emailing your link to her shortly.
    for me, music i’m sure, does lots to my brain that i have no idea about 🙂 but the tip of the ‘berg is the story i hear in the words combined w rhythm. i’ve never been very turned on by non-lyrical sounds but adore the combination and find it a venu of escape and fantasy as described by Sachs. thank u again.
    keep on!

    1. Sana – thank you for your comment. I am away from home at the moment and have limited internet access but had a quick look at your sister-in-law’s web-site and it looks fantastic – looking forward to reading more. Thanks again.

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