Saturday, August 22, 2009 By: Suzanne

Short Stories: More from Sacks

Short Story Saturdays

This Saturday I am continuing with Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia. I'm doing chapters since they are arranged in short story like manner. Here's the first post if you want more info.

Chapters 2 and 3 both deal with music in relation to epilepsy. Chapter 2 titled A Strangley Familiar Feeling: Musical Seizures, relates how some people have musical auras, that is, they hear a certain type of music before going into a seizure. They get recognize that if they hear this piece of music, they are most likely only hearing in their heads and are going to have a seizure soon. Some people with this type of aura feel that the music is very familiar but can never quite place it. Others recognize immediately the song they are hearing. The most interesting of these stories was of a mother who diagnosed her son with seizures before the doctors. She heard him humming Pop Goes The Weasel one morning, the same tune she hears just before she has a seizure.

Chapter 3 is titled Fear of Music: Musicogenic Epilepsy. I found this one terribly sad. It tells of people who's seizures are brought on by music. Sometimes any kind of music and sometimes one particular style or piece of music. It seems to be related to the emotions; the more emotional the type of music the more likely it is to cause a seizure. The saddest case was of the 19th music critic Nokonov. At first it was itermitent but gradually any type of music would bring on a seizure. He had to give up his career and actually began to fear all types of music.


Anonymous said...

I love this post. I have 2 nieces that have seizures and this is very informative.

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Rebecca :) said...

Wow. I have been wanting to read Musicophilia and now I have even more reason. My sister has epilepsy, and a child in my pre-k class also has seizures. I have never heard my sister talk about hearing music, I wonder if she does. i don't think there is any warning for her but it would be nice to know if this could be something for her to look out for. Thanks!