Introduction

The following fundamental questions occupy most of the energies of those engaged in attempting to unravel the brain's role in musical perception and production:

1. How does the brain receive musical sound?

2. How does the brain process and organize musical sounds and extract the "information" they convey?

3. How does the brain store and retrieve musical sounds and information and the motor programs required to reproduce them?

4. How does the brain control the production of musical sounds (whether audibly by singing, instru

Encyclopedia of the Human Brain Volume 3

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ment playing, or whistling or inaudibly, for the "mind's ear'' alone, through mental imagery)?

5. How does the brain control the writing and reading of graphic notations used to record and transmit musical ideas or "road maps'' for musical production?

6. How does the brain mediate emotional responses to music and emotional expression through music?

7. How does the brain mediate the integrated perception and production of music and language as in song?

8. How is the brain changed by musical experiences, not just in the sense of "engrams" or "circuits" underlying memory for specific musical ideas or actions, but in more generalized ways?

Most of what is known about how the human brain perceives and produces music comes from the study of two very different sources of information: (i) neuro-physiological activity measured noninvasively during the exercise of musical perceptual, motoric, and/or cognitive functions and (ii) measurement of the behavioral effects of focal brain lesions on these same musical functions. The study of how the brain produces musical behaviors is in fact a microcosm of the field of cognitive neuroscience in general, with different aspects of music touching on most of the fundamental questions of that domain. This article can be viewed as a framework for studying the neural organization of the range of normal musical functions as well as for studying the range of musical disorders that may follow the disruption of normal neural functioning.

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