A couple of days ago, Beeferman sent me a link to a NY Times article that seemed completely in line with a strain of thinking that has had me captivated for years. The piece, "Neuron Goes Awry, and Brain Becomes iPod," is a look at doctors who are researching the nature of musical hallucinations. Of course, it has always seemed like common sense to me that: a) there's a reason you can't get certain tunes or songs out of your head, and that b) there's a reason that certain tunes return to plague your mind at certain times. I always thought it rather Proustian: I would hear some cheesy '80s song by Eddie Money when my brain decided during a college date that I felt about as insecure at that moment as I did when my seventh-grade girlfriend asked me to kiss her on some rickety amusement-park ride that was, indeed, oscillating to the turns of Mr. Money's saccharin melody. Likewise my recent and involuntary obsession with an OutKast song that seems to play in my head whenever I venture into Urth Caffe -- does buying acidic overpriced coffee among wannabe celebrities make me feel hip-hop? (I assume there's no explanation for hearing Ravel on the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- unless I think of how Parisian and Monet-like those views of Riverside Drive in the 100's can seem to someone who has spent too much time looking at impressionist city-scenes).
According to this article, however, current findings on the topic...
"support recent work by neuroscientists indicating that our brains use special networks of neurons to perceive music. When sounds first enter the brain, they activate a region near the ears called the primary auditory cortex that starts processing sounds at their most basic level. The auditory cortex then passes on signals of its own to other regions, which can recognize more complex features of music, like rhythm, key changes and melody."
The piece also says that:
"There is no standard procedure for treating musical hallucinations. Some doctors try antipsychotic drugs, and some use cognitive behavioral therapy to help patients understand what's going on in their brains. "Sometimes simple things can be the cure," Dr. Aziz said. "Turning on the radio may be more important than giving medication."
The point, I guess, is that we're all in lots of trouble -- and I'm assuming that if you read this blog, your brain is as much of an iPod as mine is -- now that the digital revolution has made it possible for us to nostalgically revisit so many dark corners of our musical memories on such a regular, consistent basis. The upside, of course, is that for any of us interested in making movies, it will only get easier to produce the ideal soundtracks to the eventual motion pictures we currently call our imaginings.