A critical review is provided of the literature on musical performance following intracarotid sodium Amytal injection and on studies of musical perception in groups of unilaterally brain-damaged persons. The sodium Amytal data suggest that both hemispheres are active in singing familiar songs, since injection into either hemisphere produces disruption of singing. Studies with brain-damaged populations generally find deficits after right-sided damage in tasks demanding processing of patterns of pitches (e. g., unfamiliar melodic sequences) as well as with differences in timbre. Damage to the right temporal lobe causes the most consistent deficits in these tasks. Damage to the left side does not impair performance on such tasks, but does cause problems when familiar tunes are involved, especially if naming or identification is required, regardless of the presence or absence of aphasia. Damage to the right hemisphere also affects performance in such cases, but not usually to the extent that left-hemisphere lesions do.
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Robert J. Zatorre; Musical Perception and Cerebral Function: A Critical Review. Music Perception 1 December 1984; 2 (2): 196–221. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/40285291
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