Shoulder rests relieve tension, especially in violinists with a long ‘ear to neck’ measurement

Title of paper under discussion Electromyographic analysis of muscular activity in the upper extremity generated by supporting a violin with and without a shoulder rest Authors Charles E. Levy, Wynne A. Lee, Alice G. Brandfonbrener, Joel Press, Alexis Engel Levy Journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists (vol 7, no. 4, pp 103-109, January 1992) Link …

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Interrupted cadences trigger musicians’ right hemispheres within 200 milliseconds

Title of paper under discussion Early neuronal responses in right limbic structures mediate harmony incongruity processing in musical experts Authors Clara E. James, Juliane Britz, Patrik Vuilleumier, Claude-Alain Hauert, Christoph M. Michel Journal NeuroImage, Volume 42, Issue 4, 1 October 2008, Pages 1597-1608 Link to journal (open access) Overview Reckoning that interrupted cadences “should evoke a …

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Groovy music tickles pleasure and motor centres in the brain

Title of paper under discussion The sensation of groove engages motor and reward networks Authors Tomas E. Matthews, Maria A. G. Witek, Torben Lund, Peter Vuust, Virginia B. Penhune Journal NeuroImage, Volume 214, 1 July 2020, 116768 Link to original paper (open access) Overview Researchers in Aarhus, Denmark, set out to investigate the effects of musical …

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How come Alzheimer’s disease spares musical memory?

Title of paper under discussion Why musical memory can be preserved in advanced Alzheimer’s disease Authors Jörn-Henrik Jacobsen,  Johannes Stelzer,  Thomas Hans Fritz,  Gael Chételat, Renaud La Joie,  Robert Turner  Journal Brain, Volume 138, Issue 8, August 2015, Pages 2438–2450 Link to original paper (free access) Overview It has long been recognised, both anecdotally and scientifically, that people with Alzheimer’s …

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Musicians with absolute (perfect) pitch have a ‘pruned’ planum temporale in their right cerebral hemisphere

Title of paper under discussion Absolute Pitch and Planum Temporale Authors Julian Paul Keenan, Ven Thangaraj, Andrea R. Halpern and Gottfried Schlaug Journal NeuroImage, 14(6):1402-8, January 2002 Link to original paper (open access) Overview The planum temporale (PT), a triangular area just behind the primary auditory cortex on each of the two temporal lobes , …

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Professional musicians display more focussed brain activation than amateurs during performance (real or imaginary)

Title of paper under discussion The musician’s brain: functional imaging of amateurs and professionals during performance and imagery Authors M. Lotze, G. Scheler, H.-R.M. Tan, C. Braun and N. Birbaumera Journal NeuroImage, Volume 20, Issue 3, November 2003, Pages 1817-1829 Link to original paper (open access) Overview In order to investigate the differences that a musical training …

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Musicians good at listening to one person speak whilst hearing two

Title of paper under discussion Musician advantage for speech-on-speech perception Authors Deniz Başkent and Etienne Gaudrain Journal The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 139, EL51 (2016) Link to original paper (open access) Overview Are musicians better than non-musicians at being able to listen to one human talking whilst hearing two? It is a skill that may …

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Improvisers have stronger connections between parts of their brains

Title of paper under discussion Connecting to Create: Expertise in Musical Improvisation Is Associated with Increased Functional Connectivity between Premotor and Prefrontal Areas Authors Ana Luísa Pinho, Örjan de Manzano, Peter Fransson, Helene Eriksson and Fredrik Ullén Journal Journal of Neuroscience, 30 April 2014,  34 (18) 6156-6163 Link to original paper (open access) Overview This Swedish project set out to discover the effects of …

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Music lessons help language abilities in eight-year-olds

Title of paper under discussion Musical Training Influences Linguistic Abilities in 8-Year-Old Children: More Evidence for Brain Plasticity Authors Sylvain Moreno,  Carlos Marques,  Andreia Santos,  Manuela Santos,  São Luís Castro, Mireille Besson Journal Cerebral Cortex, Volume 19, Issue 3, March 2009, Pages 712–723 Link to original paper (open access) Overview The idea that passively listening to music can improve your …

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Musical pitches genuinely evoke colour sensations in some people

Title of paper under discussion Automaticity of pitch class-color synesthesia as revealed by a Stroop-like effect Authors Kosuke Itoh, Honami Sakata, Hironaka Igarashi, Tsutomu Nakada Journal Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 71, May 2019, Pages 86-91 Link to original paper (open access) Overview Synaesthesia is a merging of senses that aren’t normally connected, whereby the stimulation …

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