In the Science section of Tuesday’s (4/19) New York Times, Pam Belluck writes about the ways scientists are “trying to understand and quantify what makes music expressive—what specific aspects make one version of, say, a Beethoven sonata convey more emotion than another. The results are contributing to a greater understanding of how the brain works and of the importance of music in human development, communication and cognition, and even as a potential therapeutic tool. Research is showing, for example, that our brains understand music not only as emotional diversion, but also as a form of motion and activity. The same areas of the brain that activate when we swing a golf club or sign our name also engage when we hear expressive moments in music. Brain regions associated with empathy are activated, too, even for listeners who are not musicians. … The brain processes musical nuance in many ways, it turns out.” For more on the relationship between music and the brain, click here to read Stuart Isacoff’s article in the July-August 2010 issue of Symphony.

Posted April 20, 2011