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​Multiscale approaches to music and the embodied brain

T. Waddington & R. Balasubramaniam (2023). ​Multiscale approaches to music and the embodied brain. Journal of Multiscale Neuroscience 2(1), 204-220      


A wide body of research is currently being devoted to investigating the multiscale processes across the brain and body, and the nature of their interactions. The purpose of this paper is to supplement these analyses of brain and body dynamics by providing a comprehensive account of the multiscale organisations also found in music, and ways in which these systems interact. We proceed in identifying scaling laws as a signature for multiscale features of a system and make the methodological choice of distinguishing 1) scale free structure from 2) scale free dynamics. We follow these distinctions in demonstrating how specifically i.) hierarchical temporal structures, ii.) long-range temporal correlations, and iii.) musical information as scale free structures relate to activity in the brain and body at various temporal or spatial scales during music perception and performance. Further, this is paralleled by fixing our focus to a limited choice of scale free dynamics, namely, iv.) resonance and entrainment, v.) power law distributions, and vi.) 1/f scaling. Though the ubiquitous scaling relations across musical activities, performance and music itself touch on the theme of universality, we outline how differing theoretical proposals concerning the relation between brain, body and musical environment arise in such contexts. Using these examples, we identify their overlap and divergence, and propose future directions for inquiry along these lines. 

Keywords: Multiscale neuroscience; scaling laws; music cognition; sensorimotor coordination; 1/f scaling.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest

This article belongs to the Special Issue

                      The Mind and the Brain: A Multiscale Interpretation of Cognitive Brain Functionality                   Lead Editor:

                       Prof Michael J. Spivey, Author of "The Continuity of Mind".

                       Department of Cognitive and Information Sciences,
                       University of California, Merced, USA

Copyright: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Neural Press.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the CC BY 4.0 license.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data in the Journal of Multiscale Neuroscience are solely those of the individual authors and contributors, not those of the Neural Press™ or the editors(s).

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