Read the fourth chapter of Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia, and the first of Leonard Berinstein’s “Imaginary Conversations” from The Joy of Music. As before, write a 250-500 word response using the questions below to guide your thinking. Post your response here.
- What does Sacks mean by “mental/musical imagery”? How does this relate, if at all, to what Levitin discuss in our first readings?
- Consider what Sacks says on p. 32 (imagining music activates the auditory cortex almost as much as listening to it). If this is true, is it necessary to actually hear to have music? Can music exist beyond the act of hearing sound? What would Small or Levitin say?
- Have you ever experienced Sacks’ “involuntary musical imagery”? What would either Levitin, Small, or Sacks say was behind this involuntary imagery?
- Consider the debate that Bernstein (LB) has with the Lyric Poet (LP) about Beethoven in the first scene (pp. 21-29). Could Levitin’s work have helped to inform LP a bit better, or does Bernstein have a point?
- The crux of Bernstein’s argument is that music as an intrinsic meaning that is utterly unexplainable in other ways (see p. 34-35). Is he right, and do you believe him?
- Evaluate Bernstein’s point on p. 39. Do musicians really make meaning out of music differently than non-musicians? Which hearing is more valid, a musician’s or a non-musicians?
Bernstein, L. (1959). The Joy of Music. Pompton Plains, NJ: Amadeus Press.
Sacks, O. (2007). Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf