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Journal Article

Jazz Drummers Recruit Language-Specific Areas for the Processing of Rhythmic Structure

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Herdener,  M
Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Herdener, M., Humbel, T., Esposito, F., Habermeyer, B., Cattapan-Ludewig, K., & Seifritz, E. (2014). Jazz Drummers Recruit Language-Specific Areas for the Processing of Rhythmic Structure. Cerebral Cortex, 24(3), 836-843. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhs367.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0027-804E-4
Abstract
Rhythm is a central characteristic of music and speech, the most important domains of human communication using acoustic signals. Here, we investigated how rhythmical patterns in music are processed in the human brain, and, in addition, evaluated the impact of musical training on rhythm processing. Using fMRI, we found that deviations from a rule-based regular rhythmic structure activated the left planum temporale together with Broca's area and its right-hemispheric homolog across subjects, that is, a network also crucially involved in the processing of harmonic structure in music and the syntactic analysis of language. Comparing the BOLD responses to rhythmic variations between professional jazz drummers and musical laypersons, we found that only highly trained rhythmic experts show additional activity in left-hemispheric supramarginal gyrus, a higher-order region involved in processing of linguistic syntax. This suggests an additional functional recruitment of brain areas usually dedicated to complex linguistic syntax processing for the analysis of rhythmical patterns only in professional jazz drummers, who are especially trained to use rhythmical cues for communication.