The famous jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker once said, “Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom.” He probably never imagined that half-a-century later, neuroscientists would take that literally.
Researchers in Shanghai have generated scale-free brain-wave music by simultaneously recording electrical activity (EEG) and blood flow (fMRI). They announced their results in the open-access journal PLOS One this past week. The team’s previous research to turn brain waves into music (2009) relied on EEG activity for three main musical parameters:
The translation rules included the direct mapping from the period of an EEG waveform to the duration of a note, the logarithmic mapping of the average power (AP) change of EEG to music intensity according to the Fechner’s law, and a scale-free based mapping from the amplitude of EEG to music pitch according to the power law.
The problem with this method was that pitch and intensity were both taken from the same overall EEG recording and thus, unlike music, were not independent. Furthermore, given the quick changes in EEG activity, the intensity of the music would switch dramatically and lead to discordant sounds. To address these issues, the researchers instead used fMRI recordings as the source for information about music intensity. This resulted in smoother transitions and, as the researchers claim, a “new window to look inside the brain:”
The brain music, as one of the human brain’s intelligence product, embodies the secret of brain in an artistic style, provides the platform for scientist and artist to work together to understand ourselves, and it is also a new interactive link between the human brain and music. We hope the on-going progresses of the brain signals based music will properly unravel part of the truth in the brain, and then to be used for clinical diagnosis and bio-feedback therapy in the future.
To hear the brain-wave music for yourself, watch the short video below:
Original article in PLOS One: Scale-Free Brain-Wave Music from Simultaneously EEG and fMRI Recordings