The frequency and anatomic localization of musical automatisms (MA) among 416 patients with partial seizures admitted for video-EEG recording and presurgical evaluation are reported from Timone Hospital, Marseille, France. Seven (1.4%) patients, 2 children and 5 adults, met criteria for MA. MA consisted of humming in 5 patients and singing in 2. Singing was associated with complex behavioral changes including euphoria, laughing, gestural automatisms, and dancing. Humming occurred in seizures affecting the temporal lobe, whereas singing was associated with seizures originating in the frontal lobe, particularly the right prefrontal cortex. [1]

COMMENT. Musicogenic epilepsy is well known (Critchley M. Brain 1937;60:13-27). Seizures occur on hearing or playing music, and often, in response to specific compositions. Laughter as a form of epilepsy (gelastic seizures) is also reported, usually in young children with hypothalamic hamartoma [2] (Ped Neur Briefs Nov 2003;17:81-83). Singing as a musical automatism during seizures is uncommon, the above authors citing reports by Vidailher M et al. 1989, and Doherty MJ et al. 2002. The anatomy of music perception has been studied using a highresolution PET scanner at the University of Caen, France, and the Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology, London, UK [3]. The left hemisphere is dominant for rhythm, tune recognition, and pitch perception, whereas the right hemisphere subserves timbre or quality of tone perception.