Not Just Instruments, Musicians' Brains Too Synchronize During Gigs

by Tanya Thomas on  March 20, 2009 at 10:40 AM Research News   - G J E 4
 Not Just Instruments, Musicians' Brains Too Synchronize During Gigs
A new study has found that synchrony at a music concert is not just about jammimg instruments together, the brains of the musicians start working in tandem too!

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the University of Salzburg came to this conclusion after recording the brain electrical activity in eight pairs of guitarists with the aid of electroencephalography (EEG).

The researchers say that the finding as to how EEG readouts from pairs of guitarists become more synchronized has wider potential implications for how our brains interact when we do.

During the study, each of the eight pairs played a short jazz-fusion melody together up to 60 times, while the EEG picked up their brain waves via electrodes on their scalps.

The researchers said that the similarities among the brainwaves' phase, both within and between the brains of the musicians, increased significantly: first when listening to a metronome beat in preparation; and secondly as they began to play together.

They said that, as they had expected, the brains' frontal and central regions showed the strongest synchronization patterns.

But, according to the researchers, the temporal and parietal regions also showed relatively high synchronization in at least half of the pairs of musicians.

The team said that the regions might be involved in processes supporting the coordinated action between players, or in enjoying the music.

"Our findings show that interpersonally coordinated actions are preceded and accompanied by between-brain oscillatory couplings," says Ulman Lindenberger.

The study did not determine whether such occurs in response to the beat of the metronome and music, and as a result of watching each others' movements and listening to each others' music, or whether the brain synchronization takes place first and causes the coordinated performance.

While scientists have shown individuals' brains getting tuning into music before, this is the first time that any research team have measured brain activity among musicians as they performed jointly in concert.

The study has been published in the online open access journal BMC Neuroscience.

Source: ANI

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