The Perception of Musical Rhythm: Auditory and Motor System Involvement
Jessica Grahn
University of Western Ontario

Moving to musical rhythm is an instinctive, often involuntary activity. Even very young children move to the beat without any special musical training, but how does the brain produce this behaviour? In this talk I will describe how perception of musical rhythms activates a network of cortical and subcortical motor areas, even when no movement is made. Converging evidence will be shown from fMRI studies of musicians and non-musicians and neuropsychological studies of patients with Parkinson’s disease demonstrating that the basal ganglia play a special role in beat perception. Finally, individual differences in rhythmic ability will be considered.