Music and Language Share Neural Resources

From a study by Steinbeis N, and Koelsch S.:

Harmonic tension-resolution patterns have long been hypothesized to be meaningful to listeners familiar with Western music. Even though it has been shown that specifically chosen musical pieces can prime meaningful concepts, the empirical evidence in favor of such a highly specific semantic pathway has been lacking. Here we show that 2 event-related potentials in response to harmonic expectancy violations, the early right anterior negativity (ERAN) and the N500, could be systematically modulated by simultaneously presented language material containing either a syntactic or a semantic violation. Whereas the ERAN was reduced only when presented concurrently with a syntactic language violation and not with a semantic language violation, this pattern was reversed for the N500. This is the first piece of evidence showing that tension-resolution patterns represent a route to meaning in music.

Although I have been speculating for a long while that music, language, and other processing share neural resources, this study shows at least some of the neural resources that are shared between language and music, in addition to what role tension-resolution patterns play in music.

quote the inner nature of man is the province of music

Inspirational Quote By Confucius On Earthy Background

It’s a bit like lifting weights, and then finding out you can pick up that heavy box more easily–exercise in one translates to better performance in the other. And therefore, music lessons work to improve language skills. This is borne out in the real world, as shown by the better test scores musically-trained students display.

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