Notes and Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus

Is our response to music hard-wired or culturally determined? Is the reaction to rhythm and melody universal or influenced by environment? John Schaefer, scientist Daniel Levitin, and musical artist Bobby McFerrin engage in live performances and cross-cultural demonstrations to illustrate music’s noteworthy interaction with the brain and our emotions.

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Original Program Date: June 12, 2009
MODERATOR: John Schaefer
PARTICIPANTS: Bobby McFerrin, Daniel Levitin, Jamshed Bharucha, Lawrence Parsons

Bobby McFerrin’s Musical Introduction. 00:00

Participant introductions. 12:40

Why does neuroscience want to study music? 14:53

How does the brain fit into understanding music? 18:29

Is music the same if you already know what to expect? 26:33

Pitch, rhythm and timbre. 32:20

Is rhythm different across cultures? 38:55

Comparing musical predictions across cultures. 45:00

Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic? 58:54

Is music apart of speech? 1:04:10

Can we get two volunteers? 1:14:36

Testing galvanic skin response. 1:17:15

A musical performance from Bobby McFerrin. 1:38:04
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