In a paper published this week in PLOS ONE, researchers used simultaneous EEG and fMRI recordings to represent the activity of the brain in musical notes. EEG data influenced the pitch and duration of a note and fMRI scans controlled its intensity. Wired reports:
Combining EEG and fMRI allowed pitch and intensity to operate independently, a baseline distinction separating noise from music. To demonstrate, Lu and Yao recorded the brains of a 14-year-old girl and 31-year-old woman at rest.
For now, the mind music is more rehearsal than meaningful performance. Both EEG and fMRI provide fairly general measurements. But it’s possible to envision refinements of the approach in which mental states have distinctive sounds, and listening to them aids in diagnosis or treatment.
“Music therapy would be a good application of brain music,” said Lu. “I think this will be a wonderful application if we do more research.”