From: Grant Callaghan (email@example.com)
Date: Fri 13 Dec 2002 - 22:10:07 GMT
>Brain secrets of music melody
>Parts of the brain responded to certain melodies
>The difference between a catchy tune and a dirge may be which part of the
>brain the notes activate, says a scientist.
>Professor Peter Janata, of Dartmouth College, in the US, played a group of
>volunteers a series of keys and watched the way the brain responded.
>He told the BBC: "One chunk of the brain was responding when the melody was
>in G major or E minor and another part of the circuit was responding when
>it was in E major for example."
>Professor Janata said that composers had always known how to manipulate
>their audience, but said that their research was looking at how.
>"In some sense psychologists are merely playing catch up to explain how
>"I think composers are masters at manipulating music.
>"I think music is a marvellous mystery and the brain is also a marvellous
>mystery, so ultimately we are just trying to explain two wonders of nature
>and how they react."
>Roderick Swanston, of the Royal College of Music, told the BBC's Today
>programme that the research did pose some interesting questions.
>But he said that even if composers knew what particular notes to strike to
>tug on the heart strings of their audience, that they were unlikely to
>write their music solely for this purpose.
>He said he would like to see more research carried out, particularly on
>babies which have a blank canvas for musical taste. [!!!!!]
>"Why is it that this purely abstract series of tones can have an incredibly
>emotive power on us?
>"Is it because we have learned that it should have an emotive power, does
>it apply to all of us?
>"If you come from New Guinea would you be powerfully affected by the last
>duet out of Aida."
I'd love to see Pinker's response.
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