Sensorimotor Integration

One of the most defining characteristics of musical expression is that specific motoric actions produce specific musical sounds (i.e., that motor production and auditory feedback are tightly and, particularly for musical instruments, artificially integrated). Furthermore, somatosensory feedback must also be integrated, guiding motoric actions in order to produce the intended sounds. Finally, at least for playing musical instruments with eyes open, visuospatial feedback may also be closely integrated.

As discussed previously, simple singing of a single pitch or of musical intervals resulted in asymmetric activation of the right primary auditory region—activation that increased with the extent of pitch excursion. Thus, activation of primary auditory cortex in the right hemisphere appears to be particularly associated with auditory feedback from the pitch of one's own singing voice. Future studies, by manipulating feedback, could help to elucidate the neural mechanisms supporting auditory-motor integration in singing and instrument playing. Similar strategies may also shed light on the mechanisms of their further integration with visuospatial and somatosensory feedback.

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