What Does the Brain Have to Do with Music?

04/05/11
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When asked why neuroscientists are so interested in music, musician and psychologist Daniel Levitin asks, “Why not?”

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KristiannaThomas
KristiannaThomas

I agree whole heartedly that there is a correlative relationship between music (tonality) and the brain, but music is both cultural and personal.  There are various forms of music that girdle the globe from Eastern, Western, African and Native.  In the west we rely on 12 Diatonic tonalities/ while Eastern and other forms of music rely on more than a palate of 12 tones (what the brain may perceive as strange to one may be perceived as normal to another).  The sound of a sitar may sound like cats running over a blackboard, but is perceived as soothing to another.  How does the brain respond to music that is familiar; as compared to music that is alien and far removed from the cultural experience of another?  They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder; music is in the mind of the beholder.