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Neuroimage. 2006 Apr 15;30(3):917-26. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Shared networks for auditory and motor processing in professional pianists: evidence from fMRI conjunction.

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1
Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine, Hanover University of Music and Drama, Hohenzollernstrasse 47, D-30161 Hanover, Germany. bangert@gmx.com

Abstract

To investigate cortical auditory and motor coupling in professional musicians, we compared the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activity of seven pianists to seven non-musicians utilizing a passive task paradigm established in a previous learning study. The tasks involved either passively listening to short piano melodies or pressing keys on a mute MRI-compliant piano keyboard. Both groups were matched with respect to age and gender, and did not exhibit any overt performance differences in the keypressing task. The professional pianists showed increased activity compared to the non-musicians in a distributed cortical network during both the acoustic and the mute motion-related task. A conjunction analysis revealed a distinct musicianship-specific network being co-activated during either task type, indicating areas involved in auditory-sensorimotor integration. This network is comprised of dorsolateral and inferior frontal cortex (including Broca's area), the superior temporal gyrus (Wernicke's area), the supramarginal gyrus, and supplementary motor and premotor areas.

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