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Left hemianomia of musical symbols caused by callosal infarction
  1. M Satoh1,
  2. K Furukawa1,
  3. K Takeda2,
  4. S Kuzuhara3
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Mie University School of Medicine, Mie 514-8507, Japan
  2. 2Department of Neurology, Japanese Red Cross Medical Centre, Tokyo 150-8935, Japan
  3. 3Department of Neurology, Mie University School of Medicine, Mie 514-8507, Japan
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Masayuki Satoh
 Department of Neurology, Mie University School of Medicine, Tsu, Mie 514-8507, Japan; masayuki-sato{at}seijuji-hp.jp

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Musical scores consist of two components, musical symbols and pitch notations. Musical symbols are elements of notation that do not denote pitch. Examples include time symbols (for example, “4/4”, “rit.”) and dynamic marks (“f”, “cresc.”) as indicated by roman letters.1 Pitch may be defined as the quality of a sound that fixes its position on a scale, indicated by “notes” written on, between, above, or below the five lines comprising the musical stave.1 Case studies suggest that the left hemisphere is dominant in reading pitch notations,2,3 but opinions are divided on the left hemisphere’s superiority for naming musical symbols. In order to investigate this problem, we assessed hemispheric function in a patient with a callosal lesion.

In November 1997, a 69 year old, right handed businessman who suffered from hypertension and diabetes mellitus suddenly developed impairment of the movement of his left hand. When opening a desk drawer with his right hand, his left hand involuntarily caught in the drawer as the result of a cerebrovascular event. He was an amateur violinist and had been active in concerts as a soloist, or as a member in an ensemble. For example, at the opening ceremony of the concert hall of our city, he performed Beethoven’s Romance in F major accompanied by the piano. He had been a member of a semiprofessional orchestra for 30 years. He met criteria for Grison’s sixth level of musical culture.4 After this cerebrovascular event, he was unable to play the violin …

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