Friday, February 26, 2010

Notes on Amusia and Neurology


Part of the problem I have with timing is revealed in the lack of rhythm.  This phenomenon is part of amusia, a musical disorder that appears mainly as a defect in processing pitch, but it also encompasses musical memory and recognition.

"Cases of acquired amusia have shed light on two important aspects of music perception and processing.   First, both melodic and temporal perception require local and global auditory information processing; with respect to melody, pitch intervals are local and melodic contours are global. Similarly, there are local strategies for the perception of duration and temporal distance between auditory events (known as rhythm) and global mechanisms for the perception of metre (the temporal variance of recurrent pulses providing durational units by which we recognize a waltz or a march23,24). Temporal structures of music, rhythm in particular, are preferentially processed in the left hemisphere. In relation to the processing of pitch, lesions on the right side impair perception of melodic contour, whereas unilateral lesions impair perception of pitch intervals."  For more, see..

Lesions in the right hemisphere interfere with pitch-related tasks more than rhythm-related tasks.