Music and Language as Combinatorial Systems

By means of neuroimaging (fMRI, DTI) and electrophysiological methods (ERP, time-frequency analyses) as well as insights from linguistic, music, and information theory, this line of research scrutinizes the neuroanatomical “overlap” of syntax in M&L (Sammler, Koelsch et al., 2011, 2013). This involves better characterization of neural networks (Bianco et al., 2016) and functional dynamics with which the brain tracks structural regularities in M&L and uses them to predict and integrate words and tones in the auditory stream. The relevance of interindividual differences for these processes, such as training in different musical genres (Bianco et al., 2018), and their impact on aesthetic experience are further topics that will contribute to a more holistic understanding of music and language perception.

Featured Publications

Bianco, R., Novembre, G., Keller, P. E., Villringer, A., Sammler, D. (2018). Musical genre-dependent behavioural and EEG signatures of action planning. A comparison between classical and jazz pianists. NeuroImage, 169, 383–394.

Bianco, R., Novembre, G., Keller, P.E., Kim, S.-G., ..., Sammler, D. (2016). Neural networks for harmonic structure in music perception and action. NeuroImage, 142, 454–464.

Sammler, D., Koelsch, S., Ball, T., Brandt, A., Grigutsch, M., ..., Schulze-Bonhage, A. (2013). Co-localizing linguistic and musical syntax with intracranial EEG. NeuroImage, 64, 134–146.

Sammler, D., Koelsch, S., Friederici, A. D. (2011). Are left fronto-temporal “language areas” a prerequisite for normal music-syntactic processing? Cortex, 47, 659–673.