Long-range correlation properties in timing of skilled piano performance: the influence of auditory feedback and deep brain stimulation

Herrojo Ruiz, Maria; Hong, Sang Bin; Hennig, Holger; Altenmüller, Eckart and Kühn, Andrea A.. 2014. Long-range correlation properties in timing of skilled piano performance: the influence of auditory feedback and deep brain stimulation. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1030. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Unintentional timing deviations during musical performance can be conceived of as timing errors. However, recent research on humanizing computer-generated music has demonstrated that timing fluctuations that exhibit long-range temporal correlations (LRTC) are preferred by human listeners. This preference can be accounted for by the ubiquitous presence of LRTC in human tapping and rhythmic performances. Interestingly, the manifestation of LRTC in tapping behavior seems to be driven in a subject-specific manner by the LRTC properties of resting-state background cortical oscillatory activity. In this framework, the current study aimed to investigate whether propagation of timing deviations during the skilled, memorized piano performance (without metronome) of 17 professional pianists exhibits LRTC and whether the structure of the correlations is influenced by the presence or absence of auditory feedback. As an additional goal, we set out to investigate the influence of altering the dynamics along the cortico-basal-ganglia-thalamo-cortical network via deep brain stimulation (DBS) on the LRTC properties of musical performance. Specifically, we investigated temporal deviations during the skilled piano performance of a non-professional pianist who was treated with subthalamic-deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) due to severe Parkinson's disease, with predominant tremor affecting his right upper extremity. In the tremor-affected right hand, the timing fluctuations of the performance exhibited random correlations with DBS OFF. By contrast, DBS restored long-range dependency in the temporal fluctuations, corresponding with the general motor improvement on DBS. Overall, the present investigations demonstrate the presence of LRTC in skilled piano performances, indicating that unintentional temporal deviations are correlated over a wide range of time scales. This phenomenon is stable after removal of the auditory feedback, but is altered by STN-DBS, which suggests that cortico-basal ganglia thalamocortical circuits play a role in the modulation of the serial correlations of timing fluctuations exhibited in skilled musical performance.

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This research is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) through projects HE 6103/1-1 and HE 6013/1-2 to María Herrojo Ruiz, and project HE 6312/1-2 to Holger Hennig.


timing fluctuations, music performance, long-range correlation, deep brain stimulation, Parkinson disease

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25 September 2014Published
28 August 2014Accepted

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Date Deposited:

02 Jun 2016 12:27

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2021 15:04

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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