Sunday, June 14, 2009

Music Cognition Around the Web

Mind Hacks has two music-related posts: The Brain-Storm Rag and A Night at the Opera. The rag is a two-step by Bud Manchester from 1907 that features a lot of common-tone diminished seventh chords. The second post is about a man who hallucinates entire operas.

Cognitive Daily writes about a study on the association of pitches with direction, either piano-oriented with high pitches associated with the right side and low pitches on the left side, or staff-oriented, with high pitches associated with upper and low pitches associated with lower. The results: musicians have strong associations with both orientations, non-musicians only have strong associations with the staff orientation.

Somewhat related to this study, a recent article in the journal Laterality (May 2009, 1-30) shows that right-handed musicians have more control of their left hands than non-musicians, and that string players have more control than pianists. This control is calculated through tapping exercises that measure speed, regularity, and fatigue. However, the non-dominant hand is still slower than the dominant hand, regardless of musical training.
Kopiez R, Galley, N, Lehmann, AC (2009). "The relation between lateralisation, early start of training, and amounts of practice in musicians: a contribution to the problem of handedness classification." Laterality, (epub).

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