Musician

Women are quicker than men at recognising tunes

Title of paper under discussion Sex Differences in Music: A Female Advantage at Recognizing Familiar Melodies Authors Scott A. Miles, Robbin A. Miranda, and Michael T. Ullman Journal Frontiers in psychology vol. 7, 278; 1 March 2016 Link to paper (free access) Overview Working in the Brain and Language Laboratory of Georgetown University, Washington DC, Scott …

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Musicians’ brains look younger

Title of paper under discussion Keeping brains young with making music Authors Lars Rogenmoser, Julius Kernbach, Gottfried Schlaug and Christian Gaser Journal Brain Structure and Function (2018) 223:297–305 Link to paper (free access) Overview Already known for its effect on brain development and its potential to help brain rehabilitation, might music-making have a further benefit: …

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Chocolate, cocaine and Rachmaninov’s 3rd Piano Concerto excite common brain circuitry

Title of paper under discussion Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion Authors Anne J. Blood and Robert J. Zatorre Journal PNAS, 25 September 2001, vol 98 no 20, pp 11818-11823 Link to paper (free access) Overview Using a scanning technique called positron emission tomography (PET) to detect changes …

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Did an auditory illusion lead Schnabel to rush subdivided passages in Beethoven?

Title of paper under discussion A filled duration illusion in music: Effects of metrical subdivision on the perception and production of beat tempo. Authors Bruno H Repp and Meijin Bruttomesso  Journal Advances in cognitive psychology vol. 5 114-34, 13 January 2010 Link to paper (free access) Overview Scientists have long recognised that a “filled” time interval …

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Musicians’ brains have an enlarged speech area – and it keeps growing with experience

Title of paper under discussion Increased Gray Matter Volume of Left Pars Opercularis in Male Orchestral Musicians Correlate Positively With Years of Musical Performance Authors Ihssan A. Abdul-Kareem, Andrej Stancak, Laura M. Parkes and Vanessa Sluming Journal JOURNAL OF MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING 33:24–32 (2011) Link to paper (free access) Overview Broca’s area, a region in the left …

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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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