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Neural Correlates of Tonality in Music

By Simon Durrant, Eduardo R. Miranda, David R. Hardoon, John Shawe-taylor, André Brechmann and Henning Scheich


The paper presents fMRI results from experiments of subjects listening to musical stimuli. In this study we examine the neural correlates of tonality by presenting a set of stimuli with key changes of different distances along the circle-of-fifths, along with atonal control stimuli. Results are presented using both conventional statistical analysis across subjects, together with experiments using support vector machines. We find that a number of areas are significantly more active for tonal than atonal processing, and further that the response is significantly stronger in some of these areas for more distant key changes.

Year: 2010
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