|Image via Wikipedia|
|Activity of the brain When music is Heard|
Music is experienced through the simultaneous activation of a remarkable number of brain regions. Listening to music involves two major processes--perception and emotional response. Through perception we recognize music's physical characteristics--the rhythm, harmony and tone. Our emotional response evokes feelings--sadness, happiness, relaxation and more. The two processes, perceiving and feeling, activate multiple brain regions that are interconnected through complex and vast networks. They range from the front of the brain (frontal lobes) to the back (cerebellum), from top (motor cortex) to the bottom (amygdala), and from outer surface (auditory cortex) to the inner core (nucleus accumbens and hippocampus). Creating or dancing to music activates an even greater number of brain regions.
Importantly, perceiving and feeling music are two distinct processes. For example, there are people who are gifted at perceiving music, such as those with absolute pitch, but who are indifferent to its emotional effects. The reverse is true as well (and is more common)--there are many people who have little or no musical talent, including those who are tone-deaf, who are passionate about music. In other words, you don't need to be musical to be strongly affected by music and potentially to benefit from its therapeutic effects.
Music and the Brain Blog
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