Comparing Brain Responses to Different Styles of Music through Their Real and Imagined Interpretation: An Analysis Based on EEG Connectivity Networks

  1. González, Almudena 3
  2. Modroño, Cristián 2
  3. Santapau, Manuel 1
  4. González, Julián J. 2
  1. 1 Departamento de Cuerda, Conservatorio Profesional de Requena, 46340 Requena, Spain
  2. 2 Departamento Ciencias Médicas Básicas, Universidad de La Laguna, 38200 Tenerife, Spain
  3. 3 Departamento de Historia del Arte, Universidad de La Laguna, 38200 Tenerife, Spain
The 2nd International Electronic Conference on Brain Sciences (2º.2021)

Year of publication: 2021

Type: Conference paper

DOI: 10.3390/IECBS2021-10667 GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor


The aim of this work was to assess the brain responses of expert cellists during a real (real-INT) or imagined (imag-INT) interpretation of two musical styles with different learning/training cognitive roots. EEGs of 12 cellists were recorded while they interpreted previously memorized excerpts of tonal-baroque (T) and atonal-contemporary (A) music and at rest (R). Phase synchronization functional connectivity measurements among different cortical regions were computed from the EEG data and at different frequency bands (FB). These were then thresholded using surrogate data tests. Brain network construction and graph-metric analysis were performed for each FB and condition/interpretation. Global graph-indices statistical results showed that regardless of FB: (a) the node degree and density presented significant differences among conditions T, A, and R during imag-INT and between interpretations with real greater than imag-INT only for A; (b) global (NGE) and local (NLE) normalized efficiency (vs. random network), indices measuring network information exchanges, exhibited a similar small-world network structure (SW) in T, A, and R during real-INT; however, during imag-INT, SW changed in T and A but due to a significant NLE increase with NLE(A) greater than NLE(T) and the latter greater than NLE(R). Statistical node topographic maps results showed significant differences for graph degree (real-INT greater than imag-INT) and for NLE (imag-INT greater than real-INT) in A for certain nodes of delta and theta EEG FB networks. Style differences appearing only during imag-INT (e.g., the SW) indicate that imag-INT requires/involves different cognitive functions/processes than those in real-INT. The analysis and previous results allowed the discrimination of representative musical styles from different periods, which receive different cognitive learning in the musicians’ lives.

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