Your Brain on Rhythm

I cannot dance.  If I try, I look like an idiot.  But I appreciate and understand rhythm.  I am, in fact, a pretty fair drummer.  This doesn’t seem to add up, does it?

This is just another one of the musical mysteries of the brain.  How does rhythm and the brain work? Pete sent me this article from The Scientist that tries to explain what’s going on.

This September, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart exposed his brain to a live audience at the annual meeting of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in New Orleans, Louisiana. With an electroencephalography (EEG) device strapped to his head, Hart strutted across the stage, drum in hand, as images of the rhythms pulsing through his brain were projected on big screens at the front of the hall. “It was like taking my brain out of my skull and watching it dance,” he says.

The stunt was the result of a collaboration between Hart and Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. Brought together by their shared interest in the power of rhythm, the duo says they hope to generate new research into its role in higher-order brain functions—and find ways to influence brain rhythms to improve cognitive health.  

Continue reading here.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37464 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Your Brain on Rhythm

  • Do this with someone with synesthesia, get him to listen to some Zeppelin or The Beatles, project it in front of people…and away you go.


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