Brain and Music Research

Brain and Music Research. The overall effect of music on the brain has been a matter of persistent debate since the oldest of times. Music is a form of art whose importance in the personal and professional lives of most individuals cannot be overstated. It can help build up the mood and make you believe many things you wouldn’t otherwise. For example, music can make you believe that you have superpowers and that you can do anything. Music can build up hope and strengthen your core beliefs;  it can also promote the sense of self worth and improve your personal state of mind for the better. 

Brain and Music Research.

It's anything but difficult to consider music only a succession of sounds: an acoustic marvel that we react to in view of how it sounds. The wellspring of music's energy, as as most of us believe, lies in the notes themselves. To dismantle how music influences us would involve breaking down the notes and our reactions to them: in come notes, out tumbles our view of music. The simple, yet magical, basic chord progression (for the musicians: I-VI-IV-V-I) and the variants and embellishments around it, that distinguishes the style of each composer of fame, in the past 300 years. It is precisely the Classical composers that have paved the way to the vast richness of possibilities in terms of creation and manipulation of both sound and form; the "entertaning composers" (the ones that get all the Holywood soubdtrack "fat" commissions) still use this basic formula! What a shame...

Brain and Music Research.

In recent times, there has been a lot of brain and music research on the way music affects different parts of the brain and the how it makes each part more sensitive to newer sensations. Music introduces the sense of newer feelings and enables one to experience the full range of emotions that can be experienced in this world. Brain and music research has been a very trendy topic of research in the recent past and still there are numerous experiments being conducted around the world in order to fully understand the basis and extent of this process. There are a few surefire evidences of healthy and beneficial effects of music on the overall well being of an individual’s brain.

Brain and Music Research.

Brain imaging produces an especially clear photo of this interconnectedness. At the point when individuals tune in to music, no single ‘music centre’ lights up. Instead, a widely distributed network activates, including areas devoted to vision, motor control, emotion, speech, memory and planning. A long way from uncovering a disconnected, music-particular zone, the most advanced innovation we have accessible to look inside the cerebrum calls on a broad range of faculties, testifying to how deeply its perception is interwoven with other aspects of human experience. Past exactly what we hear, what we see, what we expect, how we move, and the total of our background all add to how we encounter music.

Brain and Music Research: 
Some Features

Brain and Music Research. Mood:

The most profound effect of music is its mood altering capability. It is highly able to alter the mood according to the ups and downs of tone and the variations in pitch. Different notes represent different states of mood and signify different emotions highlighting them in a well organized yet effective manner. Office workers are found to complete their tasks more effectively and in shorter times when listening to the music of their choice. The choice of music is also very important in this regard. You perform better when listening to the music you actually like.

Brain and Music Research.


The effect that music has on an individual is actually by setting the trigger of specific emotional responses. The way music stimulates these emotions is by causing release of certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. These chemicals, when released at the synaptic junctions, alter the activity of subsequent nerve cells: the result is an overall effect of change in the mood by making the person experience different emotions. The main feel-good neurotransmitter of the brain is called dopamine. Its brain levels are almost always invariably increased when a person listens to his/her favorite music. It makes the body relax and experience a sense of exaltation.


Music is included as a subject in the junior classes in our schools but the trend has been changing over the past few years. Whether it is the lack of funds or some other reason, music classes are being gradually reduced or eliminated from the course altogether. This news is devastating for the kids who might actually have the raw talent for it. Their capabilities and talents will be buried for a lifetime of misery and self doubt when the same kids could have excelled to be the icons of the music industry. 

Brain and music research has shown that music accelerates language development: it promotes the formation of new links and pathways and helps improve the mental capacity to learn newer words and even languages. A slight increase in IQ has been recorded in individuals who listen to music regularly as compared to others. This has resulted in better test scores and an overall level of mental and emotional maturity. Spatial intelligence is the sense of how things work together. The good results of synchronous working of different parts to function as a unit are well known to these individuals. Musicians are therefore imparted with a better sense of spatial intelligence.

Effects On Young Brains:

In the past, Mozart led people to believe that listening to his music made children smarter. The result was that people brought their infants and pregnant mothers to listen to Mozart’s music. 

Modern research also supports the fact that children who learn to play musical instruments at younger ages and who develop a taste for listening to music tend to do better at school and excel at subjects such as arts mathematics etc.

Brain and Music Research: Effects on Different Parts Of The Brain

The corpus callosum is a band of neurons that passes midway between the two cerebral hemispheres. It connects the right and left sides of the brain and therefore transmits the signals and impulses generated by music to different areas on both sides of the brain.

The sensory cortex stores information about the tactile feeling from the handling and playing of the instrument. It stores it in the form of memory which is how we learn how to play.

Brain and Music Research.

The motor cortex plays an important role in storing the memory of physical arts such as dancing, tapping and playing certain instruments.

The auditory cortex plays the role of receiving the sounds and auditory signals and processing them before forwarding to higher mental centers.

The hippocampus plays is assigned the role of storing the memory of music and emotions related to the music: it stores the feelings one had (while listening to a particular piece of music) and replays that memory, once the same music is replayed.

The cerebellum is responsible for balance and coordination. It enables one to learn different arts related to the sense of balance and posture and helps make long term memories in this regard.

Lastly, the nucleus accumbens is responsible for the emotional responses to music.

Overall Beneficial Effects Of Music On Brain:

Brain and music research has shown that music creates an overall positive environment for learning and improves the atmosphere towards a healthier side. Music leads to the development of the sense of anticipation; it increases the memory and enhances the attention span by energizing the neurons and improving the focus and concentration of the individual. Music removes the feelings of stress and worn out feelings and enhances the imaginative capabilities of the individual. Finally music provides inspiration and adds an element of fun to every activity one indulges in; it also creates the formation of new learning patterns in the brains of musicians.

Brain and Music Research: 
Ear worms more often pleasant than annoying -

Brain and Music Research.

If you're wondering why you can't get your high school graduation song or a catchy commercial jingle out of your head, you're not alone.

Songs that stay with us for long periods of time, or allow us to relive a memory, are often referred to as ear worms.

"The time of day they hear it, associations they have with it in connection with the world around them… these are real things that power music in our memories," said Victoria Williamson who is an applied music psychologist at the University of Sheffield in England. 

Brain and Music Research: varies from person to person

There are two elements that contribute to how people experience music in their minds, she told CBC's Information Morning in Fredericton.

"What makes a piece of music memorable, and what makes it catchy— so it sticks."

But what makes an earworm for one, doesn't necessarily produce an earworm in another.

"There are a few elements that are energizing about music that are likely to catch your attention. They don't reliably apply from one person to the next."

Brain and Music Research: reliving sound

Williamson notes that musical long-term memory has a widespread network in the human brain that allows us to relive sound.

Music can't be conceptualized as a clearly acoustic wonder. It is a profoundly socially inserted, multimodal encounter. At a crossroads in history when neuroscience appreciates practically mysterious specialist, it is informative to be reminded that the way from sound to discernment weaves through symbolism, recollections, stories, development and words. Verses aside, the energy of Cohen's Hallelujah doesn't stem specifically from the fourth, the fifth, or even the minor fall or the significant lift. Contemporary encounters of the tune have a tendency to be shaded by presentation to bunch cover forms, and their noticeable use in motion pictures, for example, Shrek. The sound may convey pictures of a cute green monster or of a wizened man from Montreal, or emotions experienced at a show decades back.

Brain and Music Research.

In spite of at times being pondered as a theoretical work of art, much the same as the universe of numbers and science, music conveys with it and is molded by about every single other part of human experience: how we talk and move, what we see and know. Its enormous energy to clear individuals up into its sound depends on a very basic level on these tight linkages amongst hearing and our horde different methods for detecting and knowing.

"The urban myth of earworms are that they're a pain. About a third of earworm experiences are classed as annoying… and they can be very, very annoying..

"It's a fascinating example of many different psychological concepts," she says.

Brain and Music Research: new research

Earworms are a part of a family of psychology called involuntary memories that, according to Williamson, can stretch from music to thinking of a friend you haven't thought of for years.

Her work is leading towards other areas of research that could explain other types of thoughts.

Brain and Music Research.

"We are looking at the relationship between ear worms and other kind of intrusive thoughts," she said. "As a clinical tool for people to look at the more dangerous sides of involuntary memories that can lead to things like depression." 

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