Between Couch and Piano: Psychoanalysis, Music, Art and Neuroscience

By Gilbert J. Rose | Go to book overview

Chapter 8

The power of implicit motion: “it goes straight through”
A standard musical practice is to recapitulate recurrent themes in order to develop and elaborate them further. We shall do the same, aiming always for an overview of art and the creative process in the light of contemporary psychoanalysis.Two working assumptions:
1 Psychoanalysis and art each enhance self-recognition; the former, verbally and explicitly; the latter, nonverbally and implicitly.
2 The mid-ground between feeling and thought is a seed-bed of creative imagination.

Neuroscience data and the work of artists, Paul Klee and Alberto Giacometti, will illuminate the material.

Let us return to the temporary therapeutic miracles that music and art can sometimes accomplish with victims of neurological devastation. Recall that listening to music, performing it or just imagining it can sometimes restore motor ability, emotional range and psychological identity for a brief period of moments or even hours. This may be accompanied by a revival of normal EEG patterns.

Not that all music will work. Some individuals respond to romantic composers like Chopin or Schubert but not to Bach or Bartók. Music can be anti-epileptic for some and precipitate seizures in others; in movement disorders, if the music is overloud or forceful it can cause some patients to jump or jerk with the beat (Sacks, 1998).

We begin with a clinical vignette.

Anne was in a late stage of vascular dementia. At a much earlier point she would succumb nightly to escalating panic and agitation

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