Localization of pitch in the brain?

Matt Jones jonesmat at physiology.wisc.edu
Mon Jul 16 11:05:52 EST 2001


tarantism99 at yahoo.com (gg) wrote in message news:<eaec8154.0107141638.5417d6e2 at posting.google.com>...
> Hello everyone,
> 
> I am interested in any research pertaining to the localization of
> pitch in the human brain.  Specifically, I am looking for any studies
> relating localized neural activity to the perception of musical notes,
> or even better, to imagined/internalized musical notes.  I understand
> that Broca's and Brodmann's areas have been implicated in musical
> perception, but I have been unable to find any good online resources. 
> Can anyone point me in the right direction?
> 
> Thanks in advance,
> Graham


Graham,

Neural activity correlated with pitch perception is present in many
different areas, and is therefore not "localized" per se.

However, the earliest stage where neurons appear to respond to pitch
(as opposed to frequency - not the same thing) is probably the
cochlear nucleus which is the first main integrative processing stage
for auditory information.

-Conscious- perception of pitch will obviously involve cortex also.

By the way, one important aspect of audition pertains to "sound
localization" (i.e., how do we know -where- a sound is coming from.)
Horizontal localization is thought to take place by coincidence
detection of signals coming from the two ears, in a structure called
the Medial Superior Olive. Vertical localization partly depends on
spectral changes caused by direction-specific filtering and damping by
the pinna. So this "localization" probably involves some of the same
areas involved in pitch perception. I just mention this to draw a
distinction between what auditory physiologists usually mean by
"localization" (i.e., identifying the location of the sound) and how
you used the same word above to mean the location of the relevant
neural activity within the brain.

Try google searches for "cochlear nucleus", "superior  olive" and
"inferior colliculus". You will find tons of online info on the loci
of pitch perception, including some pages written by Didier Depireux,
a regular contributor to this group.


Didier? Any additional pointers to online info on pitch processing?



Cheers,

Matt




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