Naturalistic music and dance: Cortical phase synchrony in musicians and dancers

PLoS One. 2018 Apr 19;13(4):e0196065. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196065. eCollection 2018.

Abstract

Expertise in music has been investigated for decades and the results have been applied not only in composition, performance and music education, but also in understanding brain plasticity in a larger context. Several studies have revealed a strong connection between auditory and motor processes and listening to and performing music, and music imagination. Recently, as a logical next step in music and movement, the cognitive and affective neurosciences have been directed towards expertise in dance. To understand the versatile and overlapping processes during artistic stimuli, such as music and dance, it is necessary to study them with continuous naturalistic stimuli. Thus, we used long excerpts from the contemporary dance piece Carmen presented with and without music to professional dancers, musicians, and laymen in an EEG laboratory. We were interested in the cortical phase synchrony within each participant group over several frequency bands during uni- and multimodal processing. Dancers had strengthened theta and gamma synchrony during music relative to silence and silent dance, whereas the presence of music decreased systematically the alpha and beta synchrony in musicians. Laymen were the only group of participants with significant results related to dance. Future studies are required to understand whether these results are related to some other factor (such as familiarity to the stimuli), or if our results reveal a new point of view to dance observation and expertise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Brain Waves
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Dancing*
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This work was supported by Kone Foundation http://www.koneensaatio.fi/en/ (HP); Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation http://gyllenbergs.fi/en/ (HP); Academy of Finland http://www.aka.fi/en/ (PT and MT); Finnish Cultural Foundation https://skr.fi/en (MT); The Art and Science Association of Jyväskylä, Finland (HP). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.