The ‘secret’ of Shostakovich, it was suggested—by a Chinese neurologist, Dr Dajue Wang—was the presence of a metallic splinter, a mobile shell-fragment, in his brain, in the temporal horn of the left ventricle. Shostakovich was very reluctant, apparently, to have this removed:
Since the fragment had been there, he said, each time he leaned his head to one side he could hear music. His head was filled with melodies—different each time—which he then made use of when
X-rays allegedly showed the fragment moving around when Shostakovich moved his head, pressing against his ‘musical’ temporal lobe, when he tilted, producing an infinity of melodies which his genius could use.
— Oliver Sacks