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October 2021

Global and local processing of musical sequences: an event-related brain potential study

Author(s): Cortese, F., Alain, C.

Journal/Book: Neuroreport. 1999; 10: 2467-72.

Abstract: Musical processing can be decomposed into the appreciation of global/holistic and local elements. Here, we investigated the pattern of neural activity associated with the processing of contour-violated (CV) and contour-preserved (CP) melodies. The CV and CP musical sequences were obtained by altering the pitch value of one note within the musical phrase, while keeping both the scale and the key constant. In the unadulterated melody, there was a sustained negativity that was larger over the right than left fronto-central regions. Participants were equally accurate in detecting CV and CP trials, but were slower in detecting CP than CV trials. Globally altered melodies (i.e. CV) generated an early, negative waveform (N2) and a P3b deflection, whereas the CP target only generated a P3b wave. This suggests that global precedence may occur at an early perceptual stage and argues in favor of fractionating musical processing into global and local components.

Keyword(s): Adult. Auditory Perception/physiology. Brain Mapping/methods. Evoked Potentials, Auditory/physiology. Human. Music. Reference Values. Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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