Musical MRI

September 20, 2013

Steve here: I’m fascinated by the many ways that artists combine words and music – whether it’s a Stephen Sondheim musical, a Maria Schneider jazz piece set to poetry, or one of MK Asante’s rap songs.  By the way, we’ll hear all of them in this week’s show.

It also had me wondering what’s happening in our brains when we talk or sing or play music.  Are different parts of the brain activated?  Are language and music different neural processes?  I couldn’t think of a better person to ask than neuroscientist Charles Limb, who did a groundbreaking brain imaging study of jazz musicians.  Now, he’s bringing rappers into his lab – they actually freestyle while squeezed inside an MRI tube! – and he’s watching their brains while they perform.   This is truly amazing work that offers a glimpse into the creative process.  

Here’s the NEW and UNCUT interview: