Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Musical Species: Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia

I recently came across Spiegel On-line's interview with Oliver Sacks about his recent book Musicophilia. It really is a must-read. The interview canvases, albeit briefly, a wide range of topics.

One thing that caught my attention for the better part of the day is Sacks' suggestion that "a sense of rhythm, which has no analog in language, is unique and that its correlation with movement is unique to human beings. Why else would children start to dance when they're two or three? Chimpanzees don't dance." I am not sure I buy that at all, and find myself sort of surprised by it. Some researchers have suggested that music (in particular rhythm) came before and established a foundation for the language (see for example The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body).

Whatever one makes of it, it's well-worth checking out. You'll find it right here.
You can find an equally interesting review of the book right here.

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