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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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The Brain of Musicians

The Brain of Musicians

(p.366) Chapter 24 The Brain of Musicians
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music

Gottfried Schlaug

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a discussion on the brains of musicians. It introduces first the structural brain differences between musicians and nonmusicians. In the search for a morphological substrate of musicianship, several cross-sectional studies comparing adult musicians with nonmusicians were carried out. A priori defined anatomical regions were selected based on the relevance for musical functions and on data derived from human developmental studies as well as animal experimental studies suggesting a high degree of plasticity. Then, the functional brain differences between musicians and nonmusicians are explained. It also emphasizes the implicit musical ability of the human brain. Experimental animal studies strongly support the existence of microstructural plasticity. Many studies have provided evidence for functional and structural differences comparing musicians with nonmusicians.

Keywords:   brain, musicians, nonmusicians, musicianship, microstructural plasticity, musical ability, functional differences, structural differences

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