Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trust the guy in the white coat?????

Go to this you tube site and view the video. Before reading my comments.

Brain Waves controlling piano????


In this video the researcher and I can only assume that he is a researcher claims to be using the subject’s brain waves to produce the music being played on the piano. He states that the information is read by the EEG it is transformed into digital information and then fed in to a computer that composes the music based on the EEG information. You then see the piano just behind the subject playing the music that has apparently been composed based on the impulses of the subject’s brain. The music is classical in nature and seems to remind me of Debussy. At one point the researcher asks the subject to think of “Beethoven like music and make it fast and loud”, you will hear a change in the music. The person hooked up to the EEG even looks like he is working mentally to make this happen.


In my opinion either this video is a complete hoax or the “man in the white coat” is stretching the truth to its fullest extent. Remember EEG measures electrical activity produced by the brain or by any organ. What seems to be happening in this case is that the computer program interpreting the electrical impulses from the EEG through some kind of complex algorithmic program is acting like a so called composer. Put another way the guy who programmed the software that is in the computer reading EEG information is in fact the composer of the music you’re hearing. We can also recognize that the repeated patterns are taken from pre- programmed material revealing the programmers algorithms are probably based on thousands of classical compositions. This video is deceiving claiming that this kind of technology t exists when it does not.

What really irritates me about this is that the study of music and the brain has graduated from this kind of circus like show with the need to make outrageous claims to support that music is important. This “sham” takes away from the real research that is being done that will benefit humankind.

What if this were true, and a computer could convert your brain waves into music? What would the value be? If the computer were simply converting random electrical impulses then this information is useless, because your heart also emits electrical activity and therefore could also compose music. The only way this research would be significant is it there were a device that actually converted music being thought of in your brain to actually live performance. This would allow those with disability to perform, those who has been performers but were injured to perform, as well as anyone who wanted to compose or perform. Would it then eliminate practicing? What then?

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