Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lyrics vs. the prefrontal cortex

DeppityBob recently sent along an article about how jazz musicians' prefrontal cortexes wind down when they improvise:
Scientists funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) have found that, when jazz musicians are engaged in the highly creative and spontaneous activity known as improvisation, a large region of the brain involved in monitoring one’s performance is shut down, while a small region involved in organizing self-initiated thoughts and behaviors is highly activated.
Go here for the rest.

This sheds some light on why creating music feels like tapping into some mystical well of infinite possibility, whereas writing lyrics feels like rolling up my sleeves and getting to work. It's not that language can't exist in that same mystical, infinite well. It's that my brain plays guardian at the gate, refusing to let the words through because they might not be exactly right.

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