Assessment of musical processing in brain-damaged patients: Implications for laterality of music Academic Article uri icon


  • Reception and production aspects of musical ability were assessed in two studies of left cerebro-vascular accident (LCVA) and right cerebro-vascular accident (RCVA) patients and controls. Musical tasks included perception of rhythm and pitch variations in familiar and unfamiliar tunes; and production of a well-known song, three original melodies, and imitation of rhythm patterns. The only "laterality of music" effect to emerge in the first study was impaired ability in LVCA patients to correctly perceive rhythmic changes. In the second study LCVAs were poorer than the other two groups in the singing of novel melodies, and both lesioned groups were poorer than controls in singing a familiar tune and in tapping rhythms. Premorbid musical ability was significantly related to performance over all groups combined. The RCVA group showed an inconsistent pattern of performance. The LCVA group was consistently more impaired over all tasks but apart from the aforementioned effects this was nonsignificant. It is argued that laterality effects for music processing cannot be reliably established.

publication date

  • March 1990