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Stroke affects a trombonist’s ability to read and write music

Title of paper under discussion Cerebral localization of the center for reading and writing music Authors Mitsuru Kawamura, Akira Midorikawa and Machiko Kezuka Journal NeuroReport, Vol 11, No 14, pp 3299-3303 (Sept 2000) Link to paper (free access) Overview Popular science would have us believe that language is housed in the left hemisphere of the …

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Practice of a tricky rhythm is visible in brain scans – and it ‘moves’ within the brain as the practice progresses

Title of paper under discussion Dynamic Cortical and Subcortical Networks in Learning and Delayed Recall of Timed Motor Sequences Authors Virginia B. Penhune and Julien Doyon Journal The Journal of Neuroscience, February 15, 2002, 22(4):1397–1406 Link to paper (free access) Overview Using positron emission tomography (PET) researchers from Montreal scanned the brains of volunteers 1) …

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Autism is associated with superior sense of intonation

Title of paper under discussion Enhanced Pitch Sensitivity in Individuals with Autism: A Signal Detection Analysis Authors Anna Bonnel, Laurent Mottron, Isabelle Peretz, Manon Trudel, Erick Gallun and Anne-Marie Bonnel Journal Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol 15, no 2, pp 226–235 Link to paper (free access) Overview Building on previous research showing that people with …

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American babies learn Balkan rhythms quicker than their parents

Title of paper under discussion Tuning in to musical rhythms: Infants learn more readily than adults Authors Erin E. Hannon and Sandra E. Trehub Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS), vol 102, no 35, pp 12639-12643 Link to paper (free access) Overview A 6-month-old baby is remarkably ‘culture-general’ in …

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Musicians “switch off” the right temporoparietal junction when improvising

Title of paper under discussion Expertise-related deactivation of the right temporoparietal junction during musical improvisation Authors Aaron L. Berkowitz and Daniel Ansari Journal NeuroImage, vol 49 (2010), pp 712–719 Link to paper (free access) Overview When handed a simple five-note mini piano keyboard, anyone – musician or non-musician – can improvise a melody of sorts. …

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Adding music to pictures flips brain from ‘cognitive’ to ‘feeling’ mode

Title of paper under discussion The emotional power of music: How music enhances the feeling of affective pictures Authors Thomas Baumgartner, Kai Lutz, Conny F. Schmidt, Lutz Jäncke Journal BRAIN RESEARCH, 1075 (2006), pp 151–164 Link to paper (free access) Overview Although movie soundtracks are universally acknowledged as ‘emotion enhancers’ in the cinematic experience, it …

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Imagining the “Dallas” theme tune is a right-brained affair

Title of paper under discussion When That Tune Runs Through Your Head: A PET Investigation of Auditory Imagery for Familiar Melodies Authors Andrea R. Halpern and Robert J. Zatorre Journal Cerebral Cortex, Vol. 9, No. 7, pp. 697-704 (Oct 1999) Link to paper (free access) Quick summary Here are four of this paper’s most important …

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Music competitions are judged on sight more than sound

Title of paper under discussion Sight over sound in the judgment of music performance Author Chia-Jung Tsay Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 110, no 36, pp 14580-14585 Link to paper (free access) Overview A series of 6-second clips of international music competition contestants in action – some audio-only, some video-only and …

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Musicians have better verbal memory

Title of paper under discussion Music training improves verbal memory Authors Agnes S. Chan, Yim-Chi Ho & Mei-Chun Cheung Journal Nature 396, 128 (1998) Link to paper (free access) Overview Magnetic resonance scanning reveals that the left planum temporale, situated in the left temporal lobe of the brain, is larger in musicians than in non-musicians. Perhaps, reasoned Agnes Chan and …

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Brain activity in musical improvisers revealed

Title of paper under discussion Cortical Regions Involved in the Generation of Musical Structures during Improvisation in Pianists Authors Sara L. Bengtsson, Mihály CsÍkszentmihályi and Fredrik Ullén Journal Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol 19, no 5, pp. 830–842 Link to paper (free access) Overview Scan the brain of someone in the act of selecting freely, …

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