When a child is exposed to the music of only one culture, the brain may find it difficult to apprehend or to produce the nuances of music from other cultures. (Harris, Maureen. Music and the Young Mind. p 1-2. NY: MENC with Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2009.)

Humans are born with the innate capacity to learn both the linguistic and musical distinctions of the culture into which they are born. And, as with language (e.g., at an early age lose the ability to hear the full range of world speech sounds), absorb a set of rules that forms the basis of their culture’s musical traditions. (Sternberg, Barbara, PhD. Music & the Brain. p 8-10. CA: Institute for Natural Resources, Home-Study #2320, 2009).

Study of music processing/cross-cultural music comprehension using brain scans of American and German musicians while they listened to Western and Chinese music: found greater lateral frontal activity associated with listening to culturally familiar versus culturally unfamiliar music. In addition, one study reported greater activation of the precentral gyrus and supplementary motor area in response to Western music, suggesting that culturally-familiar music might be represented in both sensory and motor areas. However, culturally unfamiliar music led to enhanced activity in the right angular gyrus and the middle frontal gyrus, possibly because the processing of unfamiliar music requires higher attentional demands and higher loads on basic auditory processing. (Morrison, S. J., et al. fMRI investigation of cross-cultural music comprehension. Neuroimage 20, 378–384 (2003). Nan, Y., et al. Cross-cultural music phrase processing: an fMRI study. Hum. Brain Mapp. 29, 312–328. 2008. Perspectives, nature reviews, Neuroscience p 653, Vol 9. August 2008.)

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