Musical Disorders

  title={Musical Disorders},
  author={Isabelle Peretz},
  journal={Current Directions in Psychological Science},
  pages={329 - 333}
  • I. Peretz
  • Published 1 October 2008
  • Psychology
  • Current Directions in Psychological Science
Research over the last decade has provided compelling evidence that the ability to engage with music is a fundamental human trait, yet the biological basis of music remains largely unknown. Recent findings indicate that a small number of individuals have severe musical problems that have neurogenetic underpinnings. Such deficiencies are termed congenital amusia, an umbrella term for lifelong musical disabilities that cannot be attributed to mental retardation, deafness, lack of exposure to… 

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Findings concerning pitch discrimination, pitch memory, contour processing, experiential aspects of music listening in amusia, and emerging evidence concerning the neurobiology of the disorder are considered.
Congenital amusia—pathology of musical disorder
Molecular genetic investigations linked amusia with deletion of 22q11.2 chromosome region, and the studies done on relatives and twins indicated familial aggregation ofAmusia, indicating asymmetrical processing of musical signals in auditory cortex of left and right brain hemispheres.
The amusic brain: in tune, out of key, and unaware.
It is suggested that the amusic brain is equipped with the essential neural circuitry to perceive fine-grained pitch differences, but the neural pitch representation cannot make contact with musical pitch knowledge along the auditory-frontal neural pathway.
The Amusic Brain: Lost in Music, but Not in Space
Results indicate that the neurocognitive impairment of congenital amusia does not affect the processing of space and that classical spatial effects on bisection performance and on mental rotation performance did not differ from each other.
Congenital amusias.
How far musicality and perfect pitch are derived from genetic factors?
There is an agreement about joint genetic and environmental background of musical reception and performance. Musical abilities tend to cluster in families. The studies done on a random population,
Congenital amusia in speakers of a tone language: association with lexical tone agnosia.
The results show that speakers of tone languages such as Mandarin may experience musical pitch disorder despite early exposure to speech-relevant pitch contrasts, and indicates that the pitch disorder as defining congenital amusia is not specific to music or culture but is rather general in nature.
Is there potential for learning in amusia? A study of the effect of singing intervention in congenital amusia
In this small‐scale study, a professional singing teacher used a broad‐brush intervention approach with five individuals diagnosed with congenital amusia to enhance vocal efficiency and health, singing technique, musical understanding, pitch perception, and production.
Born to dance but beat deaf: A new form of congenital amusia


Varieties of Musical Disorders
The Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia (MBEA) is proposed to use because it is arguably the best tool currently available and theoretically motivated and satisfies important psychometric properties.
What is specific to music processing? Insights from congenital amusia
Music and the brain: disorders of musical listening.
An approach for understanding disordered musical listening is developed that is based on the systematic assessment of the perceptual and cognitive analysis of music and its emotional effect and can be applied both to acquired and congenital deficits of musical listening, and to aberrant listening in patients with musical hallucinations.
Congenital amusia: a group study of adults afflicted with a music-specific disorder.
The present study convincingly demonstrates the existence of congenital amusia as a new class of learning disabilities that affect musical abilities.
Abnormal electrical brain responses to pitch in congenital amusia
Novel electrophysiological evidence is presented that this disorder can be traced down to a right‐lateralized N2‐P3 response elicited by pitch changes, which may serve as a marker of an anomaly in music acquisition.
The genetics of congenital amusia (tone deafness): a family-aggregation study.
The results confirm that congenital amusia is expressed by a deficit in processing musical pitch but not musical time and also show that the pitch disorder has a hereditary component.
The nature of music from a biological perspective
Brains That Are out of Tune but in Time
Evidence that the disorder stems from a deficit in fine-grained pitch perception is presented, which points to the presence of a congenital neural anomaly that selectively impairs pitch processing.
Genetic correlates of musical pitch recognition in humans.
Twin study results suggest that variation in musical pitch recognition is primarily due to highly heritable differences in auditory functions not tested by conventional audiologic methods.
TO WHAT EXTENT DO MUSIC and language share neural mechanisms for processing pitch patterns? Musical tone-deafness (amusia) provides important evidence on this question. Amusics have problems with