novice - double brain dichotomy for guitarists

hanalei at rain.org hanalei at rain.org
Sat Feb 4 15:17:53 EST 1995


In article <3gttvq$apf at infa.central.susx.ac.uk>, maxk at cogs.susx.ac.uk
(Maximilian King) wrote:

> I am a novice to the neuro-sciences field, but am rapidly gaining interest
> in issues concerning the organisation of the brain's cognitive abilities.
> 
> I am also a guitarist, and would like to ask an amateur question to the
> professional neuroscience community about mental processing of music in
> humans and bi-lateral hand co-ordination skills, both of which relate to
> playing the guitar.
> 
> Is there enough evidence to support a view that one brain hemisphere processes
> musical information in one manner whereas the other hemisphere would process
> it differently? 

Hi, Max!  You have many interesting questions, and I have one interesting
recommendation:  Find a copy of Dr. Gottfried Schlaug's (principal author)
research article in the journal SCIENCE concerning musicians' brains. 
According to this study, musicians' brains are structured differently from
other people's.  In fact, the researchers found that the left-hemisphere's
planum temporale is enlarged in musicians' brains.  This is contrary to
what many brain specialists had assumed since the enlarged structure is in
the analytical, verbal left hemisphere rather than in the intuitive,
gestaltic, nonverbal right hemisphere.  I liked the suggestion that the
findings could lend support to the idea that exposing the unborn fetus to
music may enhance development of the anatomical structures necessary for
perfect pitch!  

D.G.A., Ph.D.



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