What Is a Music Disorder?

There are many different disorders within the huge spectrum of human development and experience. As music is a form of relaxation and relief, its hard to even fathom that music disorders can exist. From understanding the musical deficiencies of Amusia, Acquired Music Agnosia, and Music Hallucinations we can understand the harmful and unpleasant side of musical experience.

It is moments in life like these, where music is needed more than ever. Throughout the changes happening throughout the globe, music has been an important way of bringing people together.

But, there are people who are not able to enjoy it.

Music disorders are a newly developed entity in neuroscience as the conversation of deficiencies of musical proportions is an apparent issue for people all over the world.

Basic Music Terminology

There is basic music terminology that can help better understand what music is all about! Known as ‘fine grained pitch processing’ by music neuroscientists, pitch refers to the frequency of a sound.

This notion refers to the ability of a person to vocally analyse fluctuations in pitch. Processing and producing various pitches are a crucial part of music creation.

Within the brain, the secondary cortex is an essential part for processing various pitches.

An arrangement of various pitches can be structured in scales. A famous scale comes from the musical The Sound of Music.

The catchy song Do Re Mi is a popular solfege for many vocalists and instrumentalist everywhere.

Rhythm is a regular, strong, repeated pattern of movement or sound. The temporal organisation of music has two main types of time relations that are important for music tempo.

This is the use of quarter, half, whole, eighth, or sixteenth notes. In addition, another aspect of this is the use of a temporal regularity or beat.

Within the brain, the right side of the cranium is known to handle metre while the left side handles rhythm.

According to Psychology.Wikia.orgTimbre is the quality of a musical note that facilitates our distinction between different kinds of sound production. For example, distinguishing the sound and the differences of piano, guitar, flute or violin.

Timbre has a strong correlation with memory.

Memory is important to music as it has been shown that memory in form of pitch information has a strong difference with regular speaking tones.

With the auditory cortex playing a big part of memory for music, studies have shown that the frontal cortices also play an important role for musical interpretation.

The mode of major and minor musical offsprings can invoke sorrow or joy to the listener. Emotions sink together with music in an effortless motion. Within the brain, emotional connection is formulated by a regular cortical relay which suggests no access to sub cortical structures.


Different Musical Disorders

Amusia is a musical disorder that refers to the inability to recognise simple tunes. Within individuals with the musical deficiency, it is also known commonly as tone deafness, dysmelodia and dysmusia.

We see this music disorder play out in a comedic way through entertainment and social media.

Viewers await shows such as Got Talent and American Idol to highlight on individuals with bad musical habits and performance.

The first findings of this music disorder were discovered in 2002 from the Department of Psychology at the University of Montreal, Canada.

The studies concluded that Amusia could be a deficiency from birth or acquired over time. Symptoms of this disease vary from the lack of basic pitch and recognition.

Other aspects such as memory and rhythm are also affected greatly.


Acquired Music Agnosia

Agnosia is the loss of knowledge. In regard to music Acquired Music Agnosia is the inability to recognise music without sensory, verbal, intellectual impairments.

This disorder, in most cases, comes from the brain damage of the right temporal lobes. Similar to Amusia, inabilities to recognise pitch, chords and rhythms are apparent.


Musical Hallucinations

Church bell

Musical Hallucinations is a music disorder that alters the perception through musical sounds in the absence of external auditory stimuli. Sounds such as bells, whistles, and sirens can create other auditory hallucinations. Through various studies, Musical Hallucinations can stem from songs listened to through childhood and may be connected with strong childhood trauma. This music disorder can be produced through other psychiatric disorders such as epileptic brain activity.

Through the range of different musical outlets, music specific disorders must be evaluated within the psychological society more heavily.

Since the developments of music deficiency is newly researched, the topic of music and its correlation with disorders continued to be examined and monitored.

Music is an important part of our lives, and not being able to create or recognise musical aspects can create major psychological issues overtime.

With music’s ability to heal and to take our mind to another dimension of relaxation, it is even more important for the community of psychology further experiments and researches this new sub sector of science and neuroscience.

Photos: Shutterstock

Want to read more about music and the mind? Check this article out now:

Music Can Repair the Mind

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