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Musical Illusions and Phantom WordsHow Music and Speech Unlock Mysteries of the Brain$
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Diana Deutsch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190206833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190206833.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

Hallucinations of Music and Speech

Hallucinations of Music and Speech

(p.128) 9 Hallucinations of Music and Speech
Musical Illusions and Phantom Words

Diana Deutsch

Oxford University Press

Chapter 9 discusses the rare phenomenon of musical hallucinations. For some they are unwanted, persistent, and dramatically intrusive. Others hear phantom music that is sophisticated, beautiful, and sometimes original. People often describe their hallucinated music in terms of “playlists” composed of music in many different genres, from which fragments seem randomly selected. One such playlist might include folk songs, religious hymns, Christmas carols, patriotic songs, and children’s songs. The music often sounds as though played on a scratched or broken record, or on a tape constantly being rewound. Musical hallucinations are most likely to be experienced by elderly people with hearing loss, but young people with normal hearing, including excellent musicians, also experience them. Some may be caused by an unusually large amount of brain activation, particularly in the temporal lobe. People who have been isolated for long periods may also experience hallucinations, including of music. Hallucinations of speech are also described and discussed. Reports of musical hallucinations show that the different attributes of music can be retrieved or lost independently. A hallucinated piece might be heard in the wrong tempo or loudness, or as played by an unknown instrument. Famous musicians who hallucinated music include Robert Schumann, Bedřich Smetana, and Sviatislav Richter.

Keywords:   hallucinations, musical hallucinations, speech hallucinations, playlist, brain injury, dream music, hearing loss, brain stimulation, Penfield, composers

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