Biomedical Research in Music
Since about 1990, researchers have begun to elucidate the neural substrates of musical functions in the human brain. Rhythm perception and production have been a primary focus of these efforts because they form the most important organizing element in the structure or language of music. The study of rhythm has yielded insights not only into musical time, but also into temporality of information processing in the human brain in general. These investigations have led to a fundamental need to rethink the role of music in therapy and medicine, tapping the capacity of music to serve as a powerful sensory stimulus capable of engaging the brain in retraining neural and behavioral functions that can then be applied to nonmusical contexts in therapy and medicine. In this chapter, we will examine biomedical implications of music’s influence on brain and behavior function by reviewing research that has driven the changing paradigm for music in therapy and medicine.