Music and the auditory brain: where is the connection?

Sound processing by the auditory system is understood in unprecedented details, even compared with sensory coding in the visual system. Nevertheless, we do not understand yet the way in which some of the simplest perceptual properties of sounds are coded in neuronal activity. This poses serious difficulties for linking neuronal responses in the auditory system and music processing, since music operates on abstract representations of sounds. Paradoxically, although perceptual representations of sounds most probably occur high in auditory system or even beyond it, neuronal responses are strongly affected by the temporal organization of sound streams even in subcortical stations. Thus, to the extent that music is organized sound, it is the organization, rather than the sound, which is represented first in the auditory brain.

Authors: Israel Nelken
Year of publication: 2011
Journal: Front Hum Neurosci. 2011; 5: 106.

Link to publication:


“Working memory”