• Theodore Melnechuk
  • Robert J. Zatorre
Part of the Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience book series (REN)


Music, like language, occurs in all human societies, permitting nonverbal communication of emotion, providing esthetic pleasure, synchronizing some work and recreational behavior, and otherwise enhancing social cohesion. Like natural languages, the diverse musical systems of different cultures share some universal traits, including the discreteness of pitch levels and the recurrence of rhythmic patterns, and possibly cross-cultural codes of emotional expression in intervals and melodic patterns. Unlike linguistic capacities, which all normal individuals acquire, musical capacities differ widely across individuals.

Further reading

  1. Clynes M, ed (1982): Music, Mind, and Brain: The Neuropsychology of Music. New York: Plenum PressGoogle Scholar
  2. Critchley M, Henson RA, eds (1977): Music and the Brain: Studies in the Neurology of Music. Springfield, III: Charles C ThomasGoogle Scholar
  3. Deutsch D, ed (1982): The Psychology of Music. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Zatorre RJ (1984): Musical perception and cerebral function: A critical review. Music Percept 2:196–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore Melnechuk
  • Robert J. Zatorre

There are no affiliations available

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