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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Although music is ubiquitous across human cultures and from a very young age, a subset of the population possesses an unusual lack of musical ability, to the extent that may be disruptive to perceptual, cognitive, and socioemotional functioning in everyday life. These individuals may be construable as suffering from a constellation of musical disorders. This chapter reviews the current literature on musical disorders, with emphasis on congenital amusia, also known as tone-deafness. We begin with historical and formal definitions of musical disorders. We then review findings in human behavioral and neuroimaging studies, which disentangle various theories underlying musical disorders. We discuss the generalization of musical disorders to extra-musical domains of life, and end with hopes for rehabilitation. In summary, the evidence suggests that musical disorders affect perception and production by disrupting conscious access to sound information via frontal-temporal brain pathways, resulting in subtle but robust effects in speech and language.

Keywords: music, disorders, amusia, tone-deafness, socioemotional functioning, speech, language, pitch, neuroimaging

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