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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Music, neurology, andpsychology in the nineteenthcentury

  • Author(s): Graziano, Amy B
  • Johnson, Julene K
  • et al.

This chapter examines connections between research in music, neurology, and psychology during the late-nineteenth century. Researchers in all three disciplines investigated how musicis processed by the brain. Psychologists and comparative musicologists, such as Carl Stumpf, thought in terms of multiple levels of sensory processing and mental representation. Early thinking about music processing can be linked to the start of Gestalt psychology. Neurologistssuch as August Knoblauch also discussed multiple levels of music processing, basing speculation on ideas about language processing. Knoblauch and others attempted to localize musicfunction in the brain. Other neurologists, such as John Hughlings Jackson, discussed a dissociation between music as an emotional system and language as an intellectual system. RichardWallaschek seems to have been the only one from the late-nineteenth century to synthesize ideas from musicology, psychology, and neurology. He used ideas from psychology to explainmusic processing and audience reactions and also used case studies from neurology to support arguments about the nature of music. Understanding the history of this research sheds light on the development of all three discipline —musicology, neurology, and psychology.

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