Mozart’s Brain Publication date : October 7, 2010
Bernard Lechevalier is a professor emeritus in neurology and a member of the French National Academy of Medicine. An expert in neuropsychology, he contributed to the creation of a Neuropsychology Unit specialising in memory at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm). He is a church organist and the author of Le Cerveau mélomane de Baudelaire. Musique et Neuropsychologie (2010).
On 11 April 1770, the young Mozart heard Allegri’s “Miserere”. The musical score of this piece was a well-guarded secret, but when he returned home Mozart successfully transcribed the entire “Miserere” from memory.
How is it possible to accomplish such a feat of memory? What happens in the mind of the person who writes, who listens? Can Mozart’s genius be explained? And what is now known about child prodigies?
The author uses some of the most iconic incidents from Mozart’s life as a springboard to explore the mechanisms of musical perception.
• After reviewing the latest research on how the brain functions, Bernard Lechevalier proposes an explanation of the development of genius in terms of the organisation of cerebral activity.
• “An exploration of the mechanisms of musical perception.” Le Journal des psychologies