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Solo and duet: Neural bases of piano performance


Sammler,  Daniela
Research Group Neurocognition of Music and Language, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Sammler, D. (2021). Solo and duet: Neural bases of piano performance. Talk presented at 15th Symposium on Cognition and Musical Arts (SIMCAM 15). Virtual. 2021-05-25 - 2021-05-28.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-8FF5-2
Everywhere in the world people enjoy listening to and making music together. Over the past 30 years, research on the neurocognition of music has gained a lot of insights into how the brain perceives music. Yet, our knowledge about the neural mechanisms of music production remains sparse. How does a musical idea turn into action? And how do musicians coordinate sounds and actions when they perform in groups? The present line of research isolated distinct levels of action planning in solo pianists and identified dynamically balanced mechanisms of interaction in duetting pianists using 3T fMRI and dual EEG. The data converge on three main findings: (A) distinct neural networks for abstract harmonic and concrete motor planning converge in lateral prefrontal cortex that acts as a hub for solo music production, (B) motor knowledge fine-tunes the detection of temporal discrepancies between duo partners in the cerebellum, and (C) the dynamics of interbrain synchrony reflect the flexible reliance of musicians on own motor knowledge or the other’s timing depending on interaction demands. Altogether, it will become clear that solo and joint music performance relies on general principles of human cognition tuned to achieve the musical perfection required on stage.