Music and the Brain

By Library of Congress

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The Library's Music and the Brain events offer lectures, conversations and symposia about the explosion of new research at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and music. Project chair Kay Redfield Jamison convenes scientists and scholars, composers, performers, theorists, physicians, psychologists, and other experts at the Library for a compelling 2-year series, with generous support from the Dana Foundation.

Episode Date
The Future of Music
Host Steve Mencher talks with Tod Machover, composer and Director, Professor of Music and Media, and Director of the Opera of the Future Group at MIT.
May 23, 2011
Music as Medicine
Host Steve Mencher talks with Dr. Deforia Lane, Director of Music Therapy, Univeristy Hospitals of Cleveland.
May 23, 2011
Music Therapy, Alzheimer's and Post-Traumatic Stress
Host Steve Mencher talks with Alicia Clair about Music Therapy, Alzheimer's and Post-Traumatic Stress
Feb 15, 2011
Music and Grief
Host Steve Mencher talks with Music and the Brain Series advisor Kay Redfield Jamison about her book Nothing Was The Same.
Nov 30, 2010
Wellness and Growth: Acoustic Medicine and Music Therapy
Host Steve Mencher talks with Dr. Jayne Standley, Director of the Music Therapy Program, Florida State University.
Sep 22, 2010
Wellness and Growth: Acoustic Medicine and Music Therapy
Host Steve Mencher talks with Dr. Vera Brandes, Director, Research Program Music Medicine, Paracelsus Medical Private University, Salzburg.
Sep 10, 2010
Making Music Changes Brains
Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, Director of the Music, Neuroimaging and Stroke Recovery Laboratories, Beth Deaconess Israel Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, talks with host Steve Mencher about the notable differences between the brain of a musician and a non-musician.
Apr 29, 2010
The Positive Effects of Music Therapy on Health
Steve Mencher from the Library of Congress talks with Concetta M. Tomaino, Executive Director,Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, about "The Positive Effects of Music Therapy on Health."
Apr 29, 2010
Music, Memories, and the Brain
Dr. Peter Janata, associate professor at University of California, Davis, and member of the Center for Mind and Brain talks with Steve Mencher about how the brain creates an autobiographical soundtrack from our memories.
Apr 29, 2010
Why Do Listeners Enjoy Music that Makes Them Weep?
Host Steve Mencher and Professor David Huron, Head of Ohio State University's Cognitive and Systematic Musicology Laboratory,answer to the question in a conversation on emotions, the brain and music.
Apr 29, 2010
States of Mind: Music in Islamic Sufi Rituals
Steve Mencher from the Library of Congress discusses "States of Mind: Music in Islamic Sufi Rituals" with Dr. Taoufiq ben Amor, Gordon Gray J. Lecturer, Arabic Studies, Columbia University.
Jan 22, 2010
Trance Formation: Music, Trance, Religious Experience, and the Brain
Steve Mencher from the Library of Congress talks to Dr. Robin Sylvan, Director of the Sacred Center, El Cerrito, California about "Trance Formation: Music, Trance, Religious Experience, and the Brain."
Jan 22, 2010
Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia
Michael Kubovy and Judith Shatin of the University of Virginia discuss their presentation "The Mind of an Artist." Debate has long raged about whether and how music expresses meaning beyond its sounding notes. Kubovy and Shatin discuss evidence that music does indeed have a semantic element, and offer examples of how composers embody extra-musical elements in their compositions. Kubovy is a cognitive psychologist who studies visual and auditory perception, and Shatin is a composer who explores similar issues in her music.
Dec 01, 2009
The Mind of the Artist
Dr. Richard E. Cytowic, MD, of George Washington Medical Center discusses his presentation "Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia."
Dec 01, 2009
"Halt or I'll Play Vivaldi! Classical Music as Crime Stopper"
Helfgott and Middleton examine the use of classical music by law enforcement and other cultural institutions as social control, to quell and prevent crime. Their conversation touches on how classical music is viewed in contemporary culture, how it can be a tool for discouraging criminal activity and anti-social behavior, as well as its history as a mind-altering experience.
Apr 17, 2009
From Mode to Emotion in Musical Communication
From Mode to Emotion in Musical Communication: Steven Brown, Director of the NeuroArts Lab at McMaster University, discusses his work looking at the expression of emotion in both Western and non-Western musics. Music employs a number of mechanisms for conveying emotion. Some of them are shared with other modes of expression (speech, gesture) while others are specific to music. The most unique way that music communicates emotion is through the use of contrastive scale types. While Westerners are familiar with the major/minor distinction, the use of contrastive scale types in world musics is universal.
Mar 27, 2009
Dangerous Music
Artistic anathemas, musical mayhem, and cultural conundrums such as "the devil's music"- Middleton and Krash explore the psychological and social issues associated with the human tendency toward censorship of musical expression, as well as what has been described as "suicide-by-music" and crimes that have been connected to musical genres.
Jan 29, 2009
The Music of Language and the Language of Music.
In our everyday lives language and instrumental music are obviously different things. Neuroscientist and musician Ani Patel is the author of a recent, elegantly argued offering from Oxford University Press, Music, Language and the Brain. Oliver Sacks calls Patel a "pioneer in the use of new concepts and technology to investige the neural correlates of music." In this podcast he discusses some of the hidden connections between language and instrumental music that are being uncovered by empirical scientific studies.
Dec 29, 2008
The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature.
Daniel Levitin's new book The World in Six Songs has attracted a serious fan following, including Sting, Joni Mitchell and Willie Nelson. Neuroscientist, rock producer, and best selling author (This is Your Brain on Music) Levitin talks about his research for this fascinating book that takes the reader on a journey of the world through 6 types of songs--friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion/ritual, and love.
Dec 17, 2008
Your Brain on Jazz: Neural Substrates of Spontaneous Improvisation.
Johns Hopkins otolaryngolost and jazz musician Charles Limb talks about "The Brain on Jazz"--Neural Substrates of Spontaneous Improvisation."
Dec 09, 2008