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Neurological moments musicaux
  1. Gerald Stern
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gerald Stern, Emeritus Consultant Neurologist, University College Hospitals, Queen Square, London WC1, UK; geraldsterniii{at}

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I was once general practitioner-cum-neurologist to members of a famous string quartet. They taught me many things. For example, ‘If you listen carefully to a live performance, why is the music sweeter in the second half of a concert?’ I ignorantly suggested that perhaps the musicians were now more relaxed or had adjusted their instruments according to the concert hall acoustics? No, I was firmly corrected. It was because they always insisted that their fees should be paid during the interval. I was told that when musicians are on the international circuit, in certain foreign parts it was not unknown for the local impresario to disappear with the box-office takings. …

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