Music, Maestro, Please: Thalamic multisensory integration in music perception, processing and production


  • Artur Jaschke Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, VU University Amsterdam, 1081 BT AmsterdamThe Netherlands Department of Music Therapy, ArtEZ University of Applied Sciences, 7511 PN Enschede, The Netherlands



Music activates a wide array of brain areas involved in different functions such as   perception, processing and execution of music. Understanding musical processes in the brain has multiple implications in the neuro- and health sciences. 
Challenging the brain with a multisensory stimulus such as music activates responses beyond the auditory cortex of the temporal lobe. Other areas that are involved include the frontal lobes, parietal lobes, areas of the limbic system such as the amygdala, hippocampus and thalamus, the cerebellum and the brainstem. Nonetheless, there has been no attempt to summarize all involved brain areas in music into one overall encompassing map. This may well be, as there has been no thorough theory introduced, which would allow an initial point of departure in creating such a map

Therefore, a thorough systematic review has been conducted to identify all mentioned neural connections involved in the perception, processing and execution of music. 
Communication between the thalamic nuclei is the initial step in multisensory integration, which lies at the base of the neural networks as proposed in this paper. Against this background, this manuscript introduces the to our knowledge first map of all brain regions involved in the perception, processing and execution of music.

Consequently, placing thalamic multisensory integration at the core of this atlas allowed us to create a preliminary theory to explain the complexity of music induced brain activation.



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