How do musicians’ brains process so many notes? – Slipped Disc

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December 5, 2016 by norman lebrecht


That’s the subject of a paper presented by Eriko Aiba, of the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo, at the 172nd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America this weekend in Hawaii.

Aiba (pictured) began learning to play the piano when she was five years old, and quickly realized that musicians might be roughly divided into two groups: sight readers and those who play by ear.

“When considering a human brain as a computer, playing a musical instrument requires the brain to process a huge amount and variety of information in parallel,” explained Aiba. “For example, pianists need to read a score, plan the music, search for the keys to be played while planning the motions of their fingers and feet, and control their fingers and feet. They must also adjust the sound intensity and usage of the sustaining pedal according to the output sound.”

Such information processing is too complicated for a computer, so how do the brains of professional musicians handle such complex information processing?

Read more here.

 


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