Research Topic

Early Neural Processing of Musical Melodies

About this Research Topic

Tracking the pitch contour in a musical melody requires processing of multiple auditory cues at multiple time constants — how does the brain produce precise and reliable representations of those cues in such a seemingly effortless manner? In recent years, melody processing has been studied from various perspectives, including computational modeling and psychophysics as well neurophysiological experiments. This research has focused on organizational mechanisms ranging from the note-to-note level (e. g., absolute versus relative pitch) to more holistic aspects regarding adaptive (e. g., predictive coding) and Gestalt-like principles. Moreover, the proportion of bottom-up versus top-down processing and the role of the listener’s musicality have also been considered. However, an integrative view on melody processing, combining the above-described approaches, is just beginning to evolve in the auditory community.

The aim of this Research Topic is to bridge the gaps between neurophysiology, psychophysics and auditory modeling, in an effort to elucidate the interrelations between melodic and neural structures. Our main focus is on the early transient and sustained auditory cortical response to musical melodies, measured with electro-/magnetoencephalography (EEG/MEG); we are interested in studies that relate this activity to psychophysical observations (e. g., absolute versus relative pitch, perceptual grouping) and to computational models of auditory processing operating at multiple time scales (from single-note level to complex statistical regularities).

Moreover, we invite studies that assess bottom-up and top-down influences on early melody processing; this may involve subcortical input (e. g., frequency-following responses) as well as contributions from higher regions (e. g., oscillatory coupling with frontal areas, functional imaging of large-scale cortical networks). Finally, research that investigates the impact of individual musical expertise on different stages of neural melody processing is particularly welcome; the same also applies to Review, Opinion and Perspective articles which provide an integrative methodological view on our Topic.


Keywords: Auditory Cortex, Pitch, Melody, Statistical Learning, Temporal Processing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Tracking the pitch contour in a musical melody requires processing of multiple auditory cues at multiple time constants — how does the brain produce precise and reliable representations of those cues in such a seemingly effortless manner? In recent years, melody processing has been studied from various perspectives, including computational modeling and psychophysics as well neurophysiological experiments. This research has focused on organizational mechanisms ranging from the note-to-note level (e. g., absolute versus relative pitch) to more holistic aspects regarding adaptive (e. g., predictive coding) and Gestalt-like principles. Moreover, the proportion of bottom-up versus top-down processing and the role of the listener’s musicality have also been considered. However, an integrative view on melody processing, combining the above-described approaches, is just beginning to evolve in the auditory community.

The aim of this Research Topic is to bridge the gaps between neurophysiology, psychophysics and auditory modeling, in an effort to elucidate the interrelations between melodic and neural structures. Our main focus is on the early transient and sustained auditory cortical response to musical melodies, measured with electro-/magnetoencephalography (EEG/MEG); we are interested in studies that relate this activity to psychophysical observations (e. g., absolute versus relative pitch, perceptual grouping) and to computational models of auditory processing operating at multiple time scales (from single-note level to complex statistical regularities).

Moreover, we invite studies that assess bottom-up and top-down influences on early melody processing; this may involve subcortical input (e. g., frequency-following responses) as well as contributions from higher regions (e. g., oscillatory coupling with frontal areas, functional imaging of large-scale cortical networks). Finally, research that investigates the impact of individual musical expertise on different stages of neural melody processing is particularly welcome; the same also applies to Review, Opinion and Perspective articles which provide an integrative methodological view on our Topic.


Keywords: Auditory Cortex, Pitch, Melody, Statistical Learning, Temporal Processing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2021 Abstract
31 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2021 Abstract
31 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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