A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown that musical training helps people hear speech syllables in loud environments, and has shown how this happens. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers Yi Du and Robert Zatorre monitored brain function as musicians and non-musicians listened to speech fragments and varying background noise levels.
Brain stimulation can change how much we enjoy and value music
Enjoyment of music is considered a subjective experience; what one person finds gratifying, another may find irritating. Music theorists have long emphasized that although musical taste is relative, our enjoyment of music, be it classical or heavy metal, arises, among other aspects, from structural features of music, such as chord or rhythm patterns that generate anticipation and expectancy.
The same brain-chemical system that mediates feelings of pleasure from sex, recreational drugs, and food is also critical to experiencing musical pleasure, according to a study by McGill University researchers published today in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.
What does the 1960s Beatles hit “Girl” have in common with Astor Piazzolla’s evocative tango composition “Libertango”?
Probably not much, to the casual listener. But in the mind of one famously eclectic singer-songwriter, the two songs are highly similar. That’s one of the surprising findings of an unusual neuroscience study based on brain scans of the musician Sting.
This significant investment of public and private support will redefine the future of music research in Canada by transforming the way musicians compose, listen and perform music.
A team of scientists from McGill University, the University of Cambridge, and Stanford Graduate School of Business developed a new method of coding and categorizing music. They found that people’s preference for these musical categories is driven by personality. The researchers say the findings have important implications for industry and health professionals.
By Cynthia Lee
Everyone marches to the beat of their own drum: From walking to talking to producing music, different people’s movements occur at different speeds.
Masashi Usui has over 18 years of experience playing the saxophone. Yet when he applied to the Master of Music program at McGill’s Schulich School of Music, he was told that he needed to improve his English in order to be admitted.
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Study fuels nature versus nurture debate
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? New research on the brain’s capacity to learn suggests there’s more to it than the adage that “practise makes perfect.” A music-training study by scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -The Neuro, at McGill University and colleagues in Germany found evidence to distinguish the parts of the brain that account for individual talent from the parts that are activated through training.
Sometimes an artist’s most meaningful projects arise by chance, in everyday interactions, rather than through any grand plan. So, it seems, was the case with the intrepid cellist Matt Haimovitz, whose latest enthusiasm came about in the halls of McGill University, where he has been on the faculty for more than a decade.
Article from the The Boston Globe.