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pianist, composer, conductor and musicologist

Season 2. July 2011 - June 2012. Number: 11 May 2012
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The Musician's Brain...
You guessed it, it is different but how? In which way are we different from "normal" people? We do hear music in our mind and this since our very tender age.. Read some search results on the topic...
Musicians are programmed to translate sounds into movements and gestures. This "process" is always running in their brain since they started making music.
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Thinking in abstract ways is one very important facet of a musician's mind. Relating "objects", perceiving and analyzing abstract relationships between non-tangible "structures" in time and transposing them into space is a very interesting aspect of the functioning musical mind
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200px-Gehirn,_medial_-_beschriftet_lat.svg.pngimage from Wikimedia
Nina Kraus
Nina Kraus is a Professor at Northwestern University, investigating the neural encoding of speech and music and its plasticity. Her research examines the neural encoding of sound in the normal system, how it is disrupted in clinical populations, and how it reacts to differing levels of expertise. For individuals with speech and language disorders (reading, auditory processing disorder, autism), the neural encoding of speech can provide a biological marker of deficient sound encoding, while the musician’s brain illustrates how extensive auditory expertise can enhance sensory-cognitive interactions. Investigations on brain plasticity are aimed at improving speech perception and auditory learning in normal and clinical populations. As a result of the Listening, Learning and the Brain Project, a research study funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Kraus Lab has developed an objective and non-invasive technique for the diagnosis of physiological disorders in auditory processing, a method now widely known as BioMARK (Biological Marker of Auditory Processing, formerly known as BioMAP). {from Wikipedia}  [Read more...]
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Suzuki_violin_recital.jpgimage from Wikimedia
Music and Memory. Early Musical Education
Music has been shown to improve memory in several situations. In one study of musical effects on memory, visual cues (filmed events) were paired with background music. Later, participants who could not recall details of the scene were presented with the background music as a cue and recovered the inaccessible scene information.
Other research provides support for memory of text being improved by musical training. Words presented by song were remembered significantly better than when presented by speech. Earlier research has supported for this finding, that advertising jingles that pair words with music are remembered better than words alone or spoken words with music in the background. Memory was also enhanced for pairing brands with their proper slogans if the advertising incorporated lyrics and music rather than spoken words and music in the background. {from Wikipedia}  [Read more...]
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Player_piano_keyboard.jpgimage from Wikimedia
Musician vs. Non-musician processing
Brain structure within musicians and non-musicians is distinctly different. Gaser and Schlaug (2003) compared brain structures of professional musicians with non-musicians and discovered gray matter volume differences in motor, auditory and visual-spatial brain regions. Specifically, positive correlations were discovered between musician status (professional, amateur and non-musician) and gray matter volume in the primary motor and somatosensory areas, premotor areas, anterior superior parietal areas and in the inferior temporal gyrus bilaterally. This strong association between musician status and gray matter differences supports the notion that musicians’ brains show use-dependent structural changes. Due to the distinct differences in several brain regions, it is unlikely that these differences are innate but rather due to the long-term acquisition and repetitive rehearsal of musical skills.. {from Wikipedia}
[Read more...]
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Some interesting search results:

ScienceDirect - Trends in Cognitive Sciences : Music acquisition: effects of enculturation and formal training on development

Musical structure is complex, consisting of a small set of elements that combine to form hierarchical levels of pitch and temporal structure according to grammatical rules. As with language, different systems use different elements and rules for combination. Drawing on recent findings, we propose that music acquisition begins with basic features, such as peripheral frequency-coding mechanisms and multisensory timing connections, and proceeds through enculturation, whereby everyday exposure to a particular music system creates, in a systematic order of acquisition, culture-specific brain structures and representations. Finally, we propose that formal musical training invokes domain-specific processes that affect salience of musical input and the amount of cortical tissue devoted to its processing, as well as domain-general processes of attention and executive functioning.

This study evaluated the relationship between primitive and scheme-driven grouping (A. S. Bregman, 1990) by comparing the ability of different listeners to detect single note changes in 3-voice musical compositions. Primitive grouping was manipulated by the use of 2 distinctly different compositional styles (homophony and polyphony). The effects of scheme-driven processes were tested by comparing performance of 2 groups of listeners (musicians and nonmusicians) and by varying task demands (integrative and selective listening). Following previous studies, which had tested only musically trained participants, several variables were manipulated within each compositional style. The results indicated that, although musicians demonstrated a higher sensitivity to changes than did nonmusicians, the 2 groups exhibited similar patterns of sensitivity under a variety of conditions.

Music of the Hemispheres         | Senses        | DISCOVER Magazine

We think there really isn't that much difference between the way we perceive language and the way absolute-pitch musicians perceive tones, says Schlaug. What is probably different is the degree to which they apply this analytic skill to a musical task.
On some level language and music lay claim to separate domains, but there are apparently shared cerebral circuits as well. What is the evolutionary relationship between these two distinctive human traits? Did music emerge from language, or was it the reverse? Charles Darwin believed that music arose as an elaboration of mating calls, protohuman males and females endeavoring to charm each other with musical notes and rhythm. Zatorre, for one, thinks this might be putting the musical cart before the verbal horse.

How Mozart K448 can increase your IQ -- Listen & Try | Smart-Kit Puzzles and Games

Well as a novice pianist myself at the at the tender age of 15,I also have seen and experienced the greatness of music as a whole and its effect on the mental state of a human.In my own examinations and academic study I have benefitted from practising and listening to classical.This post here I must say is as close to the truth as ever beore Mozart's music truly does have a profound and significant effect on the brain in conjunction with the playing of a musical instrument.

J.S. Bach The Well-Tempered Klavier (3CD set)
My complete recording of the Well-Tempered Klavier on piano can be auditioned here...
Bach_face.jpgimage from Wikimedia
I published a paper on the Well-Tempered Klavier by J.S. Bach you can read it (pdf 3.4MB) here...
image from Wikimedia
I recently created inventor-musicae.com which is a blog dedicated to music and musicology, please connect, publish, comment and share if you like.

F.Liszt Funerailles by Mehmet Okonsar ~ F. Chopin Etude op.10 n.1 C maj.

Mehmet Okonsar is a pianist-composer-conductor and musicologist. Besides his international concert carrier he is a prolific writer.  He is the founder of the first classical music-musicology dedicated blog site: "inventor-musicae" as well as the first classical-music video portal : http://www.classicalvideos.net. Mehmet Okonsar's official site: http://www.okonsar.com
Inspiration By Tzvi Freeman
Words of Song
No, I don't mean words that are sung. I mean the words that music speaks: the nuances and motifs of a melody that take the defined boundaries in which we have boxed ourselves, our feelings and our ideas, and transport them to a higher place [read more...]
critic, n.:
    A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries
    to please him.
        -- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"

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