Mapping Tonal Hierarchy in the Brain

Sauve, Sarah A., Cho, Alex and Zendel, Benjamin Rich (2021) Mapping Tonal Hierarchy in the Brain. Neuroscience, 465 . pp. 187-202. ISSN 0306-4522

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Mapping Tonal Hierarchy in the Brain
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In Western tonal music, pitches are organized hierarchically based on their perceived fit in a specific tonal context. This hierarchy forms scales that are commonly used in Western tonal music. The hierarchical nature of tonal structure is well established behaviourally; however, the neural underpinnings are largely unknown. In this study, EEG data and goodness-of-fit ratings were collected from 34 participants who listened to an arpeggio followed by a probe tone, where the probe tone could be any chromatic scale degree and the context any of the major keys. Goodness-of-fit ratings corresponded to the classic tonal hierarchy. N1, P2 and the Early Right Anterior Negativity (ERAN) were significantly modulated by scale degree. Furthermore, neural marker amplitudes and latencies were significantly correlated with similar magnitude to both pitch height and goodness-of-fit ratings. This is different from the clearer divide between pitch height correlating with early neural markers (100–200 ms) and tonal hierarchy correlating with late neural markers (200–1000 ms) reported by Sankaran et al. (2020) and Quiroga-Martinez et al. (2019). Finally, individual differences were greater than any main effects detected when pooling participants and brain-behavior correlations vary widely (i.e. r = −0.8 to 0.8).

Keywords:EEG, music perception, auditory processing, Implicit learning, tonal hierarchy
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B140 Neuroscience
C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:53584
Deposited On:06 Mar 2023 15:25

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