Neuroscience and Music

Matthew Kirkcaldie m.kirkcaldie at removethis.unsw.edu.au
Thu Sep 9 20:30:18 EST 2004


In article <MT%%c.287066$5D1.12713467 at news4.tin.it>,
 Gunten1 <spam at superspam.com> wrote:

> Excuse me for my english, I'm Italian.
> I have a strange question...
> 
> If one person is very good to recognize *instantly* a song, a rhythm, a 
> melody...
> Which is the mainly brain hemisphere activated, the left or the right ?

Generally musical appreciation is thought to be a function of the right 
hemisphere; however, the processes of recognition is a function of 
memory, and may involve the left hemisphere as well.  The enjoyment of 
music has been associated with activity in BOTH hemispheres!  Of course, 
only selective parts of the hemispheres are activated.

> And is there any connection with the "musical intelligence" and Creative 
> Talent in music ?  Or are they two separate things?

Well, if you can say what "musical intelligence" is then somebody might 
have an answer to that.  I do know that musical education levels relate 
to perception of musical stimuli, but that's not a surprise.  I doubt 
anybody would even agree on what creative talent is, so I doubt there is 
a sensible answer to your question.

If I had to guess, I would say that quick recognition of music depends 
on how individuals access their memory, which in turn would depend on 
which senses were dominant and what their experience had been.  Those 
things might indicate someone who was more interested in music and hence 
more likely to be musically creative, than creative in other ways.  
That's pure speculation though.

I know many people can replay music at will in their minds if they are 
familiar with it - I certainly can, and I can pick it apart into 
different instruments by concentrating.  I'm not musically creative 
though.

         Matthew.



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