Charles Limb is a doctor and a musician who researches the way musical creativity works in the brain.
Charles Limb has two titles on his official website: Associate Professor, Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, and Faculty, Peabody Conservatory of Music. He combines his two passions to study the way the brain creates and perceives music. He's a hearing specialist and surgeon at Johns Hopkins who performs cochlear implantations on patients who have lost their hearing. And he plays sax, piano and bass.
In search of a better understanding of how the mind perceives complex auditory stimuli such as music, he's been working with Allen Braun to look at the brains of improvising musicians and study what parts of the brain are involved in the kind of deep creativity that happens when a musician is really in the groove.
Read our Q&A with Charles Limb on the TED Blog >>
Plus our quick catchup Q&A at TEDMED 2011 -- including his top 5 songs of all time >>
"If you think about it from a kind of abstract philosophical level, it’s unusual that acoustic vibrations in the air can make you feel deep emotion, something that can affect your life."Charles Limb in Urbanite Baltimore magazine
“I don’t think that we should give up on beauty.”
“Restoration of basic sensory function is critical. … But it’s in restoration of the ability to perceive beauty where we can get inspiring.”
“This is what we want out of our senses. We want beauty; we don’t just want function.”
“When we think of the loss of the sense, we really think about something like this: the ability to touch something luxurious, to taste something delicious, to smell something fragrant, to see something beautiful.”
“When you say a word, what you care [about] is that word was perceived correctly. You don’t care that the word sounded pretty when it was spoken. Music is entirely different; when you hear music, if it doesn’t sound good, what’s the point?”