There is fairly general agreement that the melody and the rhythm are the independent components of the perception of music. In the theory of music, the melody and harmony determine to which tonality the music belongs. It remains an unsettled question whether the tonality is also an independent component of the perception of music, or a by-product of the melody and harmony. We describe a patient with auditory agnosia and expressive amusia that developed after a bilateral infarction of the temporal lobes. We carried out a detailed examination of musical ability in the patient and in control subjects. Comparing with a control population, we identified the following impairments in music perception: (a) discrimination of familiar melodies; (b) discrimination of unfamiliar phrases, and (c) discrimination of isolated chords. His performance in pitch discrimination and tonality were within normal limits. Although intrasubject statistical analysis revealed significant difference only between tonality task and unfamiliar phrase performance, comparison with control subjects suggested a dissociation between a preserved tonality analysis and impairment of perception of melody and chords. By comparing the results of our patient with those in the literature, we may say that there is a double dissociation between the tonality and the other components. Thus, it seems reasonable to suppose that tonality is an independent component of music perception. Based on our present and previous studies, we proposed the revised version of the cognitive model of musical processing in the brain.

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