Variation of pieces of music generates measurable emotions in the brain.
Reading Pianists, with their interpretation of a piece of music in the brains of listeners, produce far more violent emotional responses than a computer that unwinds the same piece without emotion. Researchers led by Stefan Koelsch from the University of Sussex in Brighton found this out in experiments in which they recorded the brain activity of listeners who heard excerpts from piano sonatas by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. The researchers played 20 subjects from 19 to 29 years short excerpts from the piano works, which always ended with an unexpected chord. The investigators' response to listening to this chord was withheld by the researchers as they picked up brain waves, skin conductance, and heart rhythms while listening. The pieces of music were authentic concert recordings of pianists who, for example, brought emotion into the interpretation by varying the volume and tempo. For some of the pieces, researchers used software to eliminate these emotional elements.

The brainwave pattern and also the conductivity of the skin showed characteristic signals as the melody progressed into the unexpected chord. However, when the piece was performed with strong artistic verve, certain brainwave channels were particularly active. The brain then tries to assign an emotional meaning to the piece of music? Similar to understanding language, Koelsch explains: "Our results show that musicians communicate something to the listeners when they play." Even if the listeners have no musical education and, for example, do not play any instrument, they can follow the musical message of the interpreter and understand them.

Stefan Koelsch (University of Sussex, Brighton) et al .: PLoS One, DOI 10.1371 / journal.pone.0002631 ddp / Martin Schäfer


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