Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Music Therapy and OOO

I heard an interesting show about music therapy on the radio a couple of days ago. Both my parents are professional musicians so I was keen to think about it.

I was thinking about how it worked—how music can have such an impact on the brain. I've been writing about causality and my view is that something can change, destroy or deeply impact something else when it becomes formally very regular. An earthquake is a more regular than normal oscillation of tectonic plates. A stroke is a weirdly regular brain wave pattern.

I was wondering whether the stacking of music, suggestion, lyrics and memory on top of one another in music therapy was what had such an impact. That it's the synchronization of many objects that has this effect, holding the mind and allowing new connections to be established.

1 comment:

Bill Benzon said...

But the brain IS music, or pretty nearly. Some Parkinson's patients can walk to music but are immobile without it, as though music supplied the movement information no longer conveyed by the nervous system.

Here's a tech report I wrote with a music therapist, David Ramsey: Musical Coupling: Social and Physical Healing in Three Disabled Patients:

AbstractSome important aspects of physiological function can be conceptualized as a system of coupled oscillators. In a similar fashion, coupled oscillation can be used to understand musical interaction between individuals. The looping circuitry of individual nervous systems can be thought of as a bank of oscillators while musical sound provides the coupling function linking individuals together in a very satisfying form of social interaction. By providing severely disabled patients with simple piezoelectric triggers they can play electronic musical instruments well enough to join together in making music that is satisfying to them and to others as well. This article discusses three such patients and suggests avenues for future research.