[Dixielandjazz] Right Brain

Russ Guarino russg at redshift.com
Wed Sep 10 15:32:50 PDT 2003

To All OKOM musicians, scientists, philosophers and deep thinkers:

Do you remember the thread some months ago about the "left brain-right
brain" improv theory?

The theory I laid out was that we read music with the left brain and jam
[ do the creative stuff ] with the right brain.

This was based on a book I had read long ago by Julian Jaynes, titled
"The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" [ I
incorrectly named the book by  Carl Sagan as "The Bi-Camerial mind".
Sorry about that ] and the more recent experience I've been having [as a
lifetime music reader ]  trying to get up to speed playing creative

Well, I did a gig last week with a guy who had had a stoke effecting his
left brain hemisphere.  He played quite well, but he had trouble talking
and controlling his facial expressions.  At a break I chatted with him,
asking about his background, etc., the usual stuff.  He said he had a
stoke several years ago that effected the left hemisphere and destroyed
his ability to read music.  He was working very hard to get his reading
back. But his improv  was OK and as a matter of fact, better than ever.
He characterized his problems in terms of the left hemisphere right
hemisphere concept.

So, I conclude that the idea that we improv with the right brain and
read  with the left seems to hold up.

Russ Guarino

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