The processing of temporal pitch and melody information in auditory cortex

Neuron. 2002 Nov 14;36(4):767-76. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(02)01060-7.


An fMRI experiment was performed to identify the main stages of melody processing in the auditory pathway. Spectrally matched sounds that produce no pitch, fixed pitch, or melody were all found to activate Heschl's gyrus (HG) and planum temporale (PT). Within this region, sounds with pitch produced more activation than those without pitch only in the lateral half of HG. When the pitch was varied to produce a melody, there was activation in regions beyond HG and PT, specifically in the superior temporal gyrus (STG) and planum polare (PP). The results support the view that there is hierarchy of pitch processing in which the center of activity moves anterolaterally away from primary auditory cortex as the processing of melodic sounds proceeds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Noise
  • Pitch Perception / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology