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Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2001 Aug;12(1):101-8.

Activated brain regions in musicians during an ensemble: a PET study.

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Department of Neurology, Japanese Red Cross Medical Center, 4-1-22, Hiroo, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8935, Japan.


As in visual processing, we speculated that, in music processing, different brain regions would activate according to the mode of music listening. Using motets by a famous composer, we studied changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) with positron emission tomography associated with concentrating on the alto-part within the harmony (alto-part-listening condition) compared to listening to the harmony as a whole (harmony-listening condition). The alto-part-listening condition was associated with bilateral increases of rCBF in superior parietal lobules, precunei, premotor areas and orbital frontal cortices. Superior parietal lobules are likely to be responsible for auditory selective attention to the alto part within the harmony and the analysis of tone pitch on a mental score. The precuneus possibly participated in writing tones of the alto part on a mental score. Based on our findings, we propose that both auditory selective attention and analytic processing play an important role in concentrating on a certain vocal part within a harmony. During the harmony-listening condition, temporal poles, the anterior portion of the cingulate gyrus, occipital cortex and the medial surface of the cerebellum were bilaterally activated. Further studies are necessary to clarify the difference in music processing between musicians and nonmusicians.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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