Browsing by Subject "musicians"

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  • Henttonen, Pentti (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between autonomic arousal, activation and auditory change detection in musicians and non-musicians, as reflected by the mismatch negativity (MMN) component of event-related potential response and cardiovascular activity measured in heart rate. 20 musicians and 20 non-musicians were included in the study. An oddball paradigm composed of stimuli deviating in three difficulty levels from standard tone in pitch, duration and location was utilized with two conditions of passive listening, which were followed by intermittent active listening tasks. Only pitch and duration deviants were analysed. Musicians exhibited greater MMN amplitudes, shorter MMN latencies and superior behavioral performance evidenced by discrimination accuracy and reaction time. The effects were observed for both pitch and duration deviants. Musicians' resting heart rates were lower during pre-experiment and both pre-task baselines, indicating higher cardiovascular efficiency. Greater task-related heart rate acceleration in active listening was observed in the musician group than in the non-musician group. MMN amplitude to pitch deviants during passive listening tasks correlated positively with behavioral accuracy in active discrimination tasks. Faster heart rate during active listening predicted better task performance in musician group, whereas the effect was opposite in non-musician group. In musician group, higher heart rate increased the task performance more for subjects with smaller MMN amplitudes. These data thus imply that cortically measured preattentive auditory discrimination capacity is reciprocally connected to the arousal dimension of autonomic nervous system's activity and that musical expertise affects this relationship. Results add support to the evidence of musicians' superior auditory change detection capacity measured in event-related potentials and behavioral performance, while providing new insights to the role of psychophysiological arousal in sound processing and other mental tasks.
  • Virtala, Paula; Huotilainen, Minna; Lilja, Esa; Ojala, Juha; Tervaniemi, Mari (2018)
    GUITAR DISTORTION USED IN ROCK MUSIC MODIFIES a chord so that new frequencies appear in its harmonic structure. A distorted dyad (power chord) has a special role in heavy metal music due to its harmonics that create a major third interval, making it similar to amajor chord. We investigated how distortion affects cortical auditory processing of chords in musicians and nonmusicians. Electric guitar chords with or without distortion and with or without the interval of the major third (i.e., triads or dyads) were presented in an oddball design where one of them served as a repeating standard stimulus and others served as occasional deviants. This enabled the recording of event-related potentials (ERPs) of the electroencephalogram (EEG) related to deviance processing (the mismatch negativity MMN and the attention-related P3a component) in an ignore condition. MMN and P3a responses were elicited in most paradigms. Distorted chords in a non-distorted context only elicited early P3a responses. However, the power chord did not demonstrate a special role in the level of the ERPs. Earlier and larger MMN and P3a responses were elicited when distortion was modified compared to when only harmony (triad vs. dyad) was modified between standards and deviants. The MMN responses were largest when distortion and harmony deviated simultaneously. Musicians demonstrated larger P3a responses than nonmusicians. The results suggest mostly independent cortical auditory processing of distortion and harmony in Western individuals, and facilitated chord change processing in musicians compared to nonmusicians. While distortion has been used in heavy rock music for decades, this study is among the first ones to shed light on its cortical basis.
  • Seppänen, Miia (Helsingfors universitet, 2005)
    Previous exploratory studies suggest that pre-attentive auditory processing of musicians differ depending on the strategies they use in music practicing and performance. This study aimed at systematically determining whether there are differences in neural sound processing and behavioral measures between musicians preferring and not-preferring aural strategies including improvising, playing by ear and rehearsing by listening recordings. Participants were assigned into aural (n = 13) and non-aural (n = 11) groups according to how much they employ aural strategies, as determined by a questionnaire. The amplitude, latency, and scalp topography of the memory-related mismatch negativity (MMN) component of the event-related brain potentials were investigated with the so-called ‘optimal’ paradigm probing simple sound feature processing and with the ‘transposed-melody’ paradigm, probing complex sound pattern processing. Further, their behavioral accuracy in sound perception was tested with an attentive discrimination task in the transposed-melody paradigm and with the AMMA musicality test. Results showed that there were group differences both at the pre-attentive and behavioral levels of sound processing. First, in the optimal paradigm, the MMN morphology for the isolated sound features was similar between groups but its MMN amplitude, latency and topography for different sound features differed. Second, in the ‘transposed-melody’ paradigm, MMN was larger for the deviant that changed its contour as compared with the deviant that changed the last tone and thus the interval between the two last tones of the melody. The Contour-MMN amplitude as determined in the beginning of the recordings correlated with the subsequent behavioral discrimination accuracy in attentive condition. However, there were no group differences in the behavioral discrimination both deviants being detected equally well. The Interval-MMN amplitudes decreased especially in the aural group after the attentive condition. Moreover, the Interval-MMN latency in the non-aural group prolonged after the attentive condition as compared to the preceding condition whereas in the aural group the MMN latency shortened. No changes were seen in the Contour-MMN between conditions with either of the groups. Third, the non-aural group outperformed the aural group in the AMMA musicality test (Tonal subtest and Total scores). Additionally, AMMA scores (especially the Rhythm) correlated significantly with the Contour-MMN amplitudes after the attentive condition. Taken together, the present results suggest that practice strategies do not affect musicians' pre-attentive processing of simple sound features but might affect complex sound pattern processing. Complex sound pattern processing related also to the attentive behavioral performance in all musicians. While providing new insights into behavioral and neural differences between musicians preferring different practice strategies, results only partially support previous findings concerning discriminatory accuracy of violation within complex sound pattern learning.
  • Linnavalli, Tanja; Ojala, Juha; Haveri, Laura; Putkinen, Vesa; Kostilainen, Kaisamari; Seppänen, Sirke; Tervaniemi, Mari (2020)
    CONSONANCE AND DISSONANCE ARE BASIC phenomena in the perception of chords that can be discriminated very early in sensory processing. Musical expertise has been shown to facilitate neural processing of various musical stimuli, but it is unclear whether this applies to detecting consonance and dissonance. Our study aimed to determine if sensitivity to increasing levels of dissonance differs between musicians and nonmusicians, using a combination of neural (electroencephalographic mismatch negativity, MMN) and behavioral measurements (conscious discrimination). Furthermore, we wanted to see if focusing attention to the sounds modulated the neural processing. We used chords comprised of either highly consonant or highly dissonant intervals and further manipulated the degree of dissonance to create two levels of dissonant chords. Both groups discriminated dissonant chords from consonant ones neurally and behaviorally. The magnitude of the MMN differed only marginally between the more dissonant and the less dissonant chords. The musicians outperformed the nonmusicians in the behavioral task. As the dissonant chords elicited MMN responses for both groups, sensory dissonance seems to be discriminated in an early sensory level, irrespective of musical expertise, and the facilitating effects of musicianship for this discrimination may arise in later stages of auditory processing, appearing only in the behavioral auditory task.
  • Tsentemeidou, Athina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study combines two elements related to music in ancient Greece: musicians and musical instruments of Classical Greece. The main research questions answered in this study are: “What were the musicians of Classical Greece?” and “What were the most important musical instruments of Classical Greece?”. The study of the musicians of Classical Greece showed that the words “music” and “musician” are not entirely representative of the ones used in the antique context and therefore a clearer frame – in which we use these two terms for the purposes of a contemporary study – has to be given. There are a lot of limitations in the research of musicians in early and late antiquity due to the fragmentary sources and the absence of sufficient and reliable archaeological evidence. Musicians of Classical Greece were not considered only teachers, dancers, singers or instrument players but also individuals who were involved theoretically with music and were specialists. Before the 4th century BCE there is also a more detailed way in describing someone interfering with music whereas during the 4th century BCE the term mousikos appears. Boys in Athens had access to education and received proper musical training. Girls in Athens were not entitled to education as part of the organized educational system, but they learnt somehow how to dance, sing and play an instrument. Outside Athens the situation differed according to the status of woman in society. There were professional musicians with a high social status and amateur musicians, although we know very little about musical training itself. Eminent professional musicians received a very high salary whereas musicians of lower status received a small pay. It seems like everyone was allowed to play music or interfere with music in general and there were no limitations. The research on the second element, the musical instruments of Classical Greece, showed that they were classified into three categories: the stringed instruments, the wind instruments and the percussion instruments. Stringed instruments included the lyres, the harps and the lutes. The most important lyres were lyra, barbitos, phorminx and kithara. The harp family or psalterion included a variety of names that are difficult to recognize in illustrations and describe with accuracy. These were the epigoneion, the pektis, the simikion, the sambyke, the nabla, the trigonon and the psalterion. It has been argued that the magadis – which is usually referred to as a member of the harp family – was not an instrument at all. The only lute was the pandoura or trichordon. The most important wind instruments were the aulos and the syrinx. Finally the most important percussion instruments were the tympanon, the seistron, the krotalon, the kymbalon and the krembala. Contemporary research has advanced to such a degree that today we have straight access to beautifully handmade replicas of ancient Greek instruments and the opportunity to learn how to play them. Researchers, instrument builders and musicians all around the world have been working together to achieve a level of excellence in instrument replication and playing. Progress is being constantly made thanks to various music oriented projects and enthusiastic researchers and music lovers.