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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000068.txt from 2000/09

From: stewart kiritz <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Language vs. music
Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2000 23:08:33 -0400


Studies of aphasia, stroke and alzheimers' patients, etc. show that much of
the "circuitry" is different. We used to talk of right brain being music,
left brain being language. We now know it is much more complicated. Speech
recognition and melody recognition are mostly handled by separate areas of
the brain. I am not a neuropsychologist. But I know enough to tell you
that the differences are very significant. For example, brain injury
victims may lose all ability to recognize speech or to talk, yet have many
of their musical skills intact. Same for some stages of Alzheimer's. You
can also see profound differences when people listen to music or speech on a
PET scan of the brain. It is an empirical question, not a philosophical
one, whether neural mechanisms are the same or similar between language and
music, but I suppose it is a philosophical one how different is different!
If you want to see them as the same then ...

Stewart Kiritz

----- Original Message -----
From: "William Wright" <>
Subject: Re: [kl] Language vs. music

> <><> Rien Stein wrote:
> To begin with the last: it is a well-known fact that people who stutter
> often can better express themselves when they sing what they want to
> "say".
> Is this a double-edged sword? On the one hand, it supports the
> "music and language use different areas of the brain" approach; but on
> the other hand, it could indicate that music restores an element that is
> missing in such cases and that is required for language.
> However, my vague memory (very vague!) is that music helps
> stutterers because it activates an alternate pathway to the same speech
> centers in the brain -- or something of that sort.
> I hope it's apparent that I'm not claiming that music and language
> are the same thing, only that they may share some basic (low level or
> primitive) circuitry in common.
> Cheers,
> Bill
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