What’s the Relationship between The Music and the Brain?

Music and the Brain
The topic of this video is the Music and the Brain. Aniruddh Patel, of the Neurosciences Institute, discusses what music can teach us about the brain, and what brain science, in turn, can reveal about music. It is a very interesting video rich in information on how does music affects the brain. I always wondered what would be the relation of the human brain and the music. Watching this video, some of my inquiries were answered.

 

This presentation is a part of a series called “Grey Matters” and is organized by Neurosciences Institute and the University of California Television. There are many other interesting talks on the human mind and brain, but I haven’t found the time yet to watch them all. Because these presentations are long, over 50 minutes, I will present only those which I was able to watch them fully without getting bored. So let’s continue to what you are going to see the music and the brain.

 

This talk is divided into two major parts. In the first one, Dr. Patel talks about what music can teach us about the brain and in the second part what we can learn about the brain studying the music effects.

 

The music and the brain is a very old interest. One philosopher who interested about the effects of music on people was Plato. In fact, music is a lot older than philosophy. A.Patel shows us a flute which it is aged 35.000 years old. This indicates that humans are a musical species and according to the presentation, maybe humans are the only musical species. This has to do with some specific areas of the human brain.

Is has been observed that music engages many brain functions, such as:

confidence

 

o Emotion

o Memory

o Learning and plasticity

o Attention

o Motor control

o Pattern reception

o Imagery

o And more…

 

Music, Language and the Brain

 

There are two brain anomalies which can reveal some relationship between language and music. These are “Aphasia” and “Amusia”. Aphasia indicates a language problem. An aphasic cannot understand words and cannot use words together to form meaningful sentences. Amusia is a disorder, less common than Aphasia with similar effects on music, which is the loss of musical abilities followed by brain damage.

 

Well, these two disorders can reveal if there is a connection between language and music. This is the main concept of this presentation. There is a hypothesis that music and language use the same neural circuits. And this assumption results from the fact that most people we understand when something is wrong in the music we hear as well as in the language we use. So there must be rules in music as there is grammar in language.

 

So the cases that have to be studied are the following:

 

o Aphasia without Amusia

o Amusia without Aphasia

 

Aniruddh Patel makes the research on these two cases and presents the results.

 

Have you ever wondered why parrots dance to the music? In this video, this is also explained.

 

The presentation ends with the promises of music neuroscience. These are some elements which can reveal many mysteries of the human mind. Music engages many brain functions, has grammar and rules and also it can be broken and studied into smaller parts.

 

Honestly, there is too much information in this video about the music and the brain which I cannot represent here. If you are interested in this topic, then this presentation is a must see.

 

Here is your Video. Enjoy!


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2 comments on “What’s the Relationship between The Music and the Brain?

  1. Music and Emotions

    The most difficult problem in answering the question of how music creates emotions is likely to be the fact that assignments of musical elements and emotions can never be defined clearly. The solution of this problem is the Theory of Musical Equilibration. It says that music can’t convey any emotion at all, but merely volitional processes, the music listener identifies with. Then in the process of identifying the volitional processes are colored with emotions. The same happens when we watch an exciting film and identify with the volitional processes of our favorite figures. Here, too, just the process of identification generates emotions.

    An example: If you perceive a major chord, you normally identify with the will “Yes, I want to…”. If you perceive a minor chord, you identify normally with the will “I don’t want any more…”. If you play the minor chord softly, you connect the will “I don’t want any more…” with a feeling of sadness. If you play the minor chord loudly, you connect the same will with a feeling of rage. You distinguish in the same way as you would distinguish, if someone would say the words “I don’t want anymore…” the first time softly and the second time loudly.
    Because this detour of emotions via volitional processes was not detected, also all music psychological and neurological experiments, to answer the question of the origin of the emotions in the music, failed.

    But how music can convey volitional processes? These volitional processes have something to do with the phenomena which early music theorists called “lead”, “leading tone” or “striving effects”. If we reverse this musical phenomena in imagination into its opposite (not the sound wants to change – but the listener identifies with a will not to change the sound) we have found the contents of will, the music listener identifies with. In practice, everything becomes a bit more complicated, so that even more sophisticated volitional processes can be represented musically.

    Further information is available via the free download of the e-book “Music and Emotion – Research on the Theory of Musical Equilibration:

    http://www.willimekmusic.de/music-and-emotions.pdf

    or on the online journal EUNOMIOS:

    http://www.eunomios.org

    Enjoy reading

    Bernd Willimek

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