Study Finds Music Memories Stored in Unique Place in Brain

SBO Staff • ChoralNews • August 31, 2012

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A new study published in Current Biology has found that humans’ memories of music – stored melodies, rhythms, harmonies, and lyrics – are kept in a separate part of the brain from other types of memories.  Doctors Christoph J. Ploner, Carson Finnke, and Nazlie Esfahani in Berlin, Germany, studied the brain of a 68-year-old cellist who had developed a severe form of amnesia – he’d forgotten his professional and personal past, he’d forgotten his friends and family, and he couldn’t learn any new information. However, he retained all musical memory and the skill to read sheet music on his cello. The group that organized the findings say that they hope the information can help lead to ways to stimulate other areas of the memory.

The original article can be found at Current Biology.

For an in-depth follow-up on Music and the Brain, keep an out for the October issue of School Band & Orchestra magazine, Choral Director’s sister publication.

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