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Music, Motor Control and the Brain
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Music, Motor Control and the Brain

Eckart Altenmüller, Mario Wiesendanger, and Jurg Kesselring


The motor actions that can be witnessed as a virtuoso musician performs can be so fast, so accomplished, so precise, as to seem somehow superhuman. The musician has to produce the movements, monitor those they have already made and the subsequent result, co-ordinate their hands, fingers, eyes, and perhaps throat and diaphragm. These achievements are of course the product of hundreds, even thousands of hours of practice — playing scales, studies, time and time again. But those hours of practice by no means guarantee that great musicianship will result. This technical prowess has to be combined ... More

Keywords: musicianship, music, brain, motor cognition, brain imaging, motor processes, musical virtuosity, music making, musical instruments

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780199298723
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199298723.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Eckart Altenmüller, editor
Chair and Director, Department of Music Psychology and Musicians' Medicine, University of Music and Drama, Hannover, Germany

Mario Wiesendanger, editor
Department of Neurology, University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland

Jurg Kesselring, editor
Department of Neurology and Neurorehabilitation, Rehabilitation Centre, Valens, Switzerland

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Part 1 History

Part 2 Psychology

Part 3 Movement analysis

Part 4 Representation in the brain

Part 5 Apollo's curse—loss of motor control in musicians

End Matter