To musicians, the message is in the meter pre-attentive neuronal responses to incongruent rhythm are left-lateralized in musicians

Neuroimage. 2005 Jan 15;24(2):560-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.08.039.


Musicians exchange non-verbal cues as messages when they play together. This is particularly true in music with a sketchy outline. Jazz musicians receive and interpret the cues when performance parts from a regular pattern of rhythm, suggesting that they enjoy a highly developed sensitivity to subtle deviations of rhythm. We demonstrate that pre-attentive brain responses recorded with magnetoencephalography to rhythmic incongruence are left-lateralized in expert jazz musicians and right-lateralized in musically inept non-musicians. The left-lateralization of the pre-attentive responses suggests functional adaptation of the brain to a task of communication, which is much like that of language.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Chronobiology Phenomena
  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Music*
  • Reproducibility of Results