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Shared neural resources between music and language indicate semantic processing of musical tension-resolution patterns


Steinbeis, Nikolaus; Koelsch, Stefan (2008). Shared neural resources between music and language indicate semantic processing of musical tension-resolution patterns. Cerebral Cortex, 18(5):1169-1178.

Abstract

Harmonic tension-resolution patterns have long been hypothesized to be meaningful to listeners familiar with Western music. Even though it has been shown that specifically chosen musical pieces can prime meaningful concepts, the empirical evidence in favor of such a highly specific semantic pathway has been lacking. Here we show that 2 event-related potentials in response to harmonic expectancy violations, the early right anterior negativity (ERAN) and the N500, could be systematically modulated by simultaneously presented language material containing either a syntactic or a semantic violation. Whereas the ERAN was reduced only when presented concurrently with a syntactic language violation and not with a semantic language violation, this pattern was reversed for the N500. This is the first piece of evidence showing that tension- resolution patterns represent a route to meaning in music.

Abstract

Harmonic tension-resolution patterns have long been hypothesized to be meaningful to listeners familiar with Western music. Even though it has been shown that specifically chosen musical pieces can prime meaningful concepts, the empirical evidence in favor of such a highly specific semantic pathway has been lacking. Here we show that 2 event-related potentials in response to harmonic expectancy violations, the early right anterior negativity (ERAN) and the N500, could be systematically modulated by simultaneously presented language material containing either a syntactic or a semantic violation. Whereas the ERAN was reduced only when presented concurrently with a syntactic language violation and not with a semantic language violation, this pattern was reversed for the N500. This is the first piece of evidence showing that tension- resolution patterns represent a route to meaning in music.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:05 Mar 2009 14:41
Last Modified:18 Feb 2018 11:10
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1047-3211
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhm149
PubMed ID:17720685

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