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The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music$
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Isabelle Peretz and Robert J. Zatorre

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198525202

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198525202.001.0001

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Exploring the Functional Neuroanatomy of Music Performance, Perception, and Comprehension

Exploring the Functional Neuroanatomy of Music Performance, Perception, and Comprehension

(p.247) Chapter 17 Exploring the Functional Neuroanatomy of Music Performance, Perception, and Comprehension
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music

Lawrence M. Parsons

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the findings in four neuroimaging and neurological studies of music performance, perception, and comprehension. These investigations elucidate the neural subsystems supporting musical pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo, meter, and duration. In a positron emission tomography (PET) study of pianists, a memorized performance of a musical piece was contrasted with that of scales to localize brain areas specifically supporting music. A second PET study assayed brain areas subserving selectively the comprehension of harmony, melody, and rhythm. Musicians sight-read a score while detecting specific melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic errors in its heard performance. In a third PET study, musicians and nonmusicians discriminated pairs of rhythms with respect to pattern, tempo, meter, or duration. In a fourth study, neurological patients with degeneration of the cerebellum were found to be impaired in fine discrimination of pitch. Overall, these data suggest that the neural systems underlying music are distributed throughout the left and right cerebral and cerebellar hemispheres, with different aspects of music processed by distinct neural circuits. Also discussed are key issues for interpreting the role of music in brain areas implicated in neuroimaging studies.

Keywords:   functional neuroanatomy, music performance, perception, comprehension, neuroimaging, musical pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo

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