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Music Science

Brain Scans of Rappers and Jazz Musicians Shed Light On Creativity 92

ananyo writes "Rappers making up rhymes on the fly while in a brain scanner have provided an insight into the creative process. Freestyle rapping — in which a performer improvises a song by stringing together unrehearsed lyrics — is a highly prized skill in hip hop. But instead of watching a performance in a club, Siyuan Liu and Allen Braun, neuroscientists at the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in Bethesda, Maryland, and their colleagues had 12 rappers freestyle in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. The artists also recited a set of memorized lyrics chosen by the researchers. By comparing the brain scans from rappers taken during freestyling to those taken during the rote recitation, they were able to see which areas of the brain are used during improvisation. The rappers showed lower activity in part of their frontal lobes called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during improvisation, and increased activity in another area, called the medial prefrontal cortex. The areas that were found to be 'deactivated' are associated with regulating other brain functions. The results echo an earlier study of jazz musicians. The findings also suggest an explanation for why new music might seem to the artist to be created of its own accord. With less involvement by the lateral prefrontal regions of the brain, the performance could seem to its creator to have 'occurred outside of conscious awareness,' the authors write in the paper." Bonus points for science rhymes; for anyone who has the time.
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Brain Scans of Rappers and Jazz Musicians Shed Light On Creativity

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @07:10PM (#42007477)

    Rap is purest crap, all real musicians agree
    Ignorance, its purest theme
    But at least it's not the effrontery
    Of boot and beery country

    Cappin' off dem white bitches
    Or leavin yur boots under the bed
    Neither scratches euphonic itches
    or creates harmony in your head

    country is purest dreck, all real musicians agree
    but at least it's not the annoyance
    of droopy pants boy bands
    and they don't shoot each other, you see

    Howlin' at the moon
    and stemmin the rose at night
    The one's got pants a-fallin off
    the other's jeans - too tight

    They both objectify wimmen, and pretend to be real men
    The's one's all drugs and bluster
    the other worships Custer
    and we know what happened to him

    But if it rhymes, it's all good
    one the one hand with a thump
    on the other with drippy harmony
    and the gayest cowboy rump

    So expose your kids to rock and roll,
    classical and jazz
    With any luck, they'll grow up,
    with music you won't razz.

    But should they fall, victim to,
    music you can't stand
    Be prepared, have earplugs ready,
    right there in your hand.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard