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SCCN and Music/Brain Research

Quartet for Brain and TrioTDLC investigator Scott Makeig, Director of Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience (SCCN), is interested in integrated music into his research. He uses the Brain Computer Interface to read emotions and convert those emotions into musical tones. In his "Quartet for Brain and Trio" Project ("Just: A Suite for Flute, Violin, Cello, and Brain"), Dr. Makeig composed the music and performed the violin, accompanied by a flutist, a cellist, and a so-called "brainist". The "brainist," cognitive science graduate student Tim Mullen, focused on one of five distinct emotional states, feeling it fully inside his body. When he entered into a certain feeling, sensors brought brain signals to the Mobile Brain/Body Imaging (MoBI) laboratory, converting the emotion into a similar-feeling tone complex. The musicians then played the piece that corresponded to that ground tone complex. This research demonstrates that a computer can decode primal emotions and the brain can communicate these feelings through music, without even lifting a hand. Please see the video, below, for more information about the Brain Computer Interface.

SCCN LogoIn addition to the BCI studies, SCCN is involved in several other music projects. In one, PhD student Grace Leslie is working with Scott Makeig to study emotional expression of a person attempting to convey the feeling of the music they are hearing via expressive 'conducting' gestures, using their new Mobile Brain/Body Imaging (MoBI) laboratory. In a related pilot project, Dr. Makeig and his team are using an instrumented violin bow to collect EEG, motion capture, and bow dynamics from violinists attempting to express various feelings vita simple open-string bowed violin tones.




The Brain Computer Interface: