Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


Enter your details below to receive regular updates on the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's activities.

Music and Neuroscience
5 November 2013
The concert on 27th November at Cadogan Hall is dedicated to a scientific project entitled ‘Music and Neuroscience’, which aims to develop and deepen understanding of the relationship between the themes of music production and science. The research has been facilitated by a series of concerts, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's recent 3rd June concert with Alessandro Fabrizi and Dimitri Maslennikov and its concert on 27th November with Alessandro Fabrizi and Alexandra Dariescu.
The research lies within a field that has been explored by some of the world’s most presitigious and influential academic institutions. The study aims to examine the relationship between music and science (more specifically, the brain) by measuring subjects’ brainwaves when listening to music. The music used in the study has been selected from recordings produced by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, for the one reason (among others) that the wide variety of intrumentation and orchestral colours to be found in the Orchestra’s music is conducive to such scientific experimentation.

The management of the project has been overseen by Susanna Castaldo, Chairman of Centre Scientific Research (CSR), who has provided a strong driving force in the research, particularly in maintaining the project’s originality, its relevance to the scientific community, and its strong grounding in both theory and practice.

The research aims to promote the well-being of the individual through music, and to foster communication and relationships as well as social and emotional needs. In addition, studies will aim to develop corrective actions for the improvement of mood disorders, attention, concentration and creativity. It will combine tradition with innovation, creating new and meaningful exchanges between researchers and musicians.

A selected sample of subjects will hear various musical stimuli thought to solicit psycho-physiological responses, and the effect on the brain measured. It is well known that brain cells (neurons) have the ability to connect with one another, forming a series of bonds which play an important role in our thoughts and emotions. The various areas of the brain that are active when listening to music are often ‘in tune’ with those thought to be responsible for emotion, whether excited or relaxed, positive or negative. Moreover, it is widely accepted that certain types of music induce particular emotions in listeners. While it is clear that music evokes widely varying yet deeply personal responses in listeners, whether through evoking particular memories, images or thoughts, this strong yet still rather enigmatic link is one aspect that the project aims to investigate further.

The investigation of the cognitive processes involved in the perception of music calls for a type of exploratory thinking that must abandon the usual way of navigating the lesser known and unexplored. As a result, while the project is certainly a huge undertaking it is also uncommonly fascinating and exciting.

Contact or visit CSR's website for more information.