compels us to move. When we listen to music, we often move in synchrony
with its beat by spontaneous or deliberate foot tapping or rhythmic
body swaying (Repp, 2006). Humans are unique in their ability to
synchronize with an external timekeeper (McDermott & Hauser,
Patel, 2006). Synchronization with music is a universal activity
(Nettl, 2000) thought to favour social cohesion (Wallin, Merker,
Brown, 2000), thus enabling social behaviors very distinctive of our
species. Therefore, synchronization with music is likely deeply rooted
in biology (Mithen, 2006).
accuracy is typically assessed by asking participants
to tap their finger in synchrony with auditory stimuli, such as a
sequence of tones equally spaced in time or a musical excerpt (tapping
mechanisms are responsible
for synchronization with auditory stimuli?
neuronal underpinnings of sensorimotor synchronization?
projects in MPB Lab concern:
attraction to musical and nonmusical (speech) stimuli
A., & Dalla Bella, S. (submitted). Captured by music, less by
Bella, S., Białuńska, A., & Sowiński, J. (2006). Captured by
music, less by speech. Proceedings
of the 9th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition.
synchronization with musical and nonmusical stimuli in
I., Dalla Bella, S., Rolinska, P.,
Binek, M., Stachowiak,
A., & Gorzelańczyk, E. J. (2006). Sensory-motor synchronization
with musical and non-musical stimuli in patients with
disase. Poster, "Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society",
San Francisco (USA), April 8-11.
synchronization in congenital amusia (in collaboration with Isabelle
- Dalla Bella, S. &
Peretz, I. (2003).
Congenital amusia interferes with the ability to synchronize with
music. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences,
J., & Hauser, M.D. (2005). The origins of music: Innateness,
uniqueness, and evolution. Music
Perception, 23(1), 29-59.
S. (2006). The singing
Neanderthals. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press.
B. (2000). An ethnomusicologist
contemplates universals in musical sound and musical culture. In N.L.
Wallin, B. Merker, & S. Brown (Eds.), The origins of music
(pp. 463–472). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
A.D. (2006). Musical rhythm, linguistic rhythm, and human evolution. Music Perception,
B.H. (2005). Sensorimotor synchronization: A review of the tapping
Bulletin and Review, 12(6), 969-92.
N.L., Merker, B., & Brown, S. (Eds.). The origins of music. Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press.
is a universal form of vocal expression. The impulse to sing emerges
very early during development. Infants exhibit precocious singing
abilities. The first songs are produced at around one year of age and
at 18 months, children start to generate recognizable songs (e.g.
Ostwald, 1973). Adults’ sung performance is remarkably
both within (e.g. Bergeson & Trehub, 2002) and across
(Levitin, 1994; Levitin & Cook, 1996) when considering starting
pitch and tempo. In addition recent studies reveal that sung
performance in most occasional singers is accurate both in the pitch
dimension and in the time dimension (Dalla Bella, Giguere, &
Peretz, 2007). Thus, singing appears quite natural for the majority of
there are a few exceptions. From 4 to 10 % of the adult
population is unable to carry a tune. These individuals, commonly
called “tone deaf”, suffer from a lifelong
processing music despite normal intellectual, memory and language
skills (Peretz, 2001). A typically complain of tone deaf individuals is
that they sing out of tune (e.g. Sloboda, Wise, & Peretz,
Nevertheless, the majority of prior studies on tone-deafness have
assessed perception (e.g., Foxton et al., 2004; Hyde & Peretz,
2004). Little is known about the nature of the singing difficulties of
tone-deaf individuals. However, we recently provided evidence that poor
singing mostly affects the pitch dimension rather than the time
dimension; in addition poor singing can coexist with unperturbed
perceptual abilities (Dalla Bella, Giguère,
& Peretz, 2007).
proficient is singing in the
functional and brain mechanisms support singing abilities? Which of
these mechanisms are not functional in tone deafness?
projects in MPB Lab concern:
abilities in the general population (preparation of the Sung
Performance Battery, including a series of tasks spanning from single
pitch-matching tasks to singing from memory of familiar melodies)
Bella, S., Giguère,
J-F., & Peretz, I.
proficiency in the general population. Journal of The Acoustical
Society of America, 121, 1182-1189.
Vol 445, Feb 22 2007
abilities in congenital amusia and aphasia (in collaboration with
Isabelle Peretz and Jean-Francois Giguere).
J-F., Dalla Bella, S., & Peretz, I. (2005). Singing
abilities in congenital amusia. Poster, "Annual Meeting of the
Cognitive Neuroscience Society", New York (USA), April 10-12.
abilities in purely vocal tone-deafness
S.E. (2002). Absolute pitch and tempo in mothers’ songs to
Science, 13(1), 72-75.
Bella, S., Giguère,
& Peretz, I. (2007 – in press). Singing proficiency
the general population. Journal
of the Acoustical Society of America.
J.M., Dean, J.L.,
& Griffiths, T.D. (2004). Characterization of deficits in pitch
perception underlying ‘tone deafness’. Brain, 127,
(2004). Brain that are out of tune but in time. Psychological Science, 15(5),
memory for musical pitch: Evidence from the production of learned
& Psychophysics, 56, 414-423.
P.R. (1996). Memory for musical tempo: Additional evidence that
auditory memory is absolute. Perception
& Psychophysics, 58, 927-935.
behavior in early childhood. Developmental
Medicine and Child Neurology, 15, 367-375.
specialization for music: New evidence from Congenital Amusia. Annals of the New York Academy
of Sciences, 930, 189-192.
J.A., Wise, K.J.,
& Peretz, I., (2005). Quantifying tone deafness in the general
population. Annals of
the New York Academy of Sciences, 1060, 255-261.
dynamics in music performance
of us are appreciative of outstanding performances of famous musicians.
Still, what characterizes each performer’s art is not
well-understood. Music as well as speech, among the fastest sound
sequences produced by humans (Palmer, 1997), arise from fine movements
that display coarticulation effects (e.g. Hardcastle & Hewlett,
1999): the production of each tone is affected by its specific sequence
context. Coarticulation effects are visible in anticipatory motion.
is scant as to whether musicians’ movements are unique
to individuals or largely determined by common coarticulation
constraints. However, in normal circumstances, we do not confuse the
actions we produce with the actions produced by others. Accordingly,
activity within the motor control areas can distinguish one’s
actions from the actions of others (e.g. Grèzes, Frith,
Passingham, 2004; Jackson & Decety, 2004). This suggests that
musicians own movements may possess specific properties allowing us to
distinguish a performer from others. In particular, dynamic properties
of goal-directed movement (velocity and acceleration) appear as good
candidates for information unique to personal identity.
we provided evidence that pianists’ finger movements
during striking and releasing piano keys contain dynamic identifiers
(in terms of velocity and acceleration) unique to performers and
fingers (Dalla Bella & Palmer, 2006). These identifiers are
separate from coarticulatory influences on motion.
are the dynamic properties
of goal-directed movement in music performance?
properties of movement convey personal identity in music performance?
Are these properties marking personal identity in other kinds of
projects in MPB Lab concern:
identifiers in goal-directed movement in piano performance using
Motion Capture techniques (in collaboration with Caroline
Bella, S., & Palmer, C. (2006). Personal identifiers in
musicians’ finger movement dynamics. Poster, "Annual Meeting
the Cognitive Neuroscience Society", San Francisco (USA), April 8-11.
Bella, S., &
C. (2006). Personal identifiers in musicians’ finger movement
dynamics. Supplement of
the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 239.
Passingham, R.E. (2004). Inferring false beliefs from the action of
oneself and others: an fMRI study. Neuroimage,
Hewlett, N. (1999). Coarticulation:
Theory, data and techniques.
J. (2004). Motor cognition: a new paradigm to study self-other
Opinions in Neurobiology, 14(2), 259-263.
(1997). Music performance.
of Psychology, 48, 115-138.