Jazz guitarists have coped with improvisation without cognitive control

American scientists have found that professional jazz guitarists improvise at cost without active frontal lobe, responsible for cognitive control — unlike their less experienced colleagues. For this, the researchers asked 32 musicians to improvise, while the activity of their brains was recorded using electroencephalogram. Article published in the journal NeuroImage.

The role of cognitive control in human activities is quite clear: such control is necessary in order to accurately perform certain actions — as from the point of view of motor skills, and other cognitive processes. Not the last role cognitive control plays in the ability to play music, at least in the training: aspiring musicians need to clearly follow the hands on the keys or the strings, but additionally to keep in mind and many other information, whether the set of notes in the piece, the rhythm to follow, and size.

Indeed, studies showthat musicians largely due to good cognitive control — weed out irrelevant information better than the people that musical instruments do not play. However, control is not the only important component of musical skill, and a pretty good show of jazz musicians with his ability to improvise, which control only limits.

Find out what allows you to improvise in the creative process — just by the example of jazz musicians — decided to find David Rosen (David Rosen) from Drechselschule University and his colleagues. Their study involved 32 jazz guitarist, who stood out for their skill level (beginners, students of music departments, professional musicians and Tutors) and the amount wagered live performances (from 6 to 1.5 thousand).

Each of them asked over eight minutes to play on a guitar to the accompaniment of piano, drums and bass guitar: the participants were given notes (four sets each), but asked to improvise, but all scientists have done 192 recording of the improvisation of the participants. During the music activity of their brains was recorded using EEG.

All played melody, the scientists gave the test to four professional jazz musicians, who in the study were not involved: they were asked to evaluate creativity, technique and beauty of each musical excerpt on a scale from 1 to 7. On the basis of experts ‘ estimates scientists have assessed the quality of improvisation.

When they are better improvisations observed increased activity in beta and gamma bands in the left hemisphere, especially in the parietal, parieto-occipital and frontal lobes (p < 0.001). On the contrary, low quality of improvisation was associated with increased activity in frontal and parietal lobes of the right hemisphere (p < 0.001).

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