Real-time brain-computer interface for music synthesis

Mick Grierson has created a real-time EEG-based brain-computer interface for music synthesis. You can watch a video here.

We've been designing experiments to test how classic ERPs (P300/600, N400, etc) may emerge from user interactions with this system, given previous demonstrations that those waveforms are sensitive to the "grammar" and "meaning" of musical harmonies, respectively.

What waveforms would you look for in this system?

Related Posts:
Meaning From Melody: Music as Language
Harmony in Grammar: Music as Language
Dynamic Gating in Long-Term Memory (and the N400)
The Attentional Doughnut (and the P300 in SSVEPs)
From Perception To Action: The Role of the P3b in Binding
ERP of Monitoring and Retrieval in Prospective Memory Tasks (and the P300)
Novelty in Adaptive Information Processing (and the N2 and P300)


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Interesting, but (without clicking on the links) it doesn't indicate that the player in the video has any musical abilities without the computer. If the music demonstrated is strictly the result of him composing with no formal knowledge of music, it is amazingly awesome. I have had many musical ideas that I could not possibly play, even with the abilities I do have.

Perhaps within the next hundred years, science will perfect a process of thought transference from composer to listener. The composer will sit alone on the concert stage and merely 'think' his idealized conception of his music. Instead of recordings of actual music sound, recordings will carry the brainwaves of the composer directly to the mind of the listener. -Raymond Scott, 1949

He seems to be putting more mental effort into playing a scale than I, as a 49 year old with stiffening fingers, put into learning a five-part fugue! My first instinct as a smart but ignorant layman is that he's using a completely different part of his brain to normal musical activity.

By Ian Kemmish (not verified) on 08 Jan 2008 #permalink

@Kyle, Cool quote.

@Ian, if you're right I'm even more interested. Imagine music created by a previously "unheard" part of the brain!

I think it's pretty funny that Mick is effectively getting single-trial ERP data, where experts across the world only get reliable ERPs by averaging hundreds of trials. what's that chinese quote... "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."