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Mental music

Percussionists jam without their hands

Jessie Jiang
With electrode-studded headbands strapped to their scalps, three percussionists banged out a cacophony of sound and rhythm at a performance/neuroscience experiment entitled, "Trio for percussion and brain waves" last Monday (Mar 24) in New York City. But this performance was a first for the three musicians involved: none of them even touched their instruments.
As a rapt audience watched, sounds issued from three laptops connected to the drummers by Bluetooth technology. The musicians' brainwaves traveled through the air, triggering tones from the computers before leaping to life on the 12-foot-high screen hanging behind them.The performance was part of an experiment designed by David Sulzer, Columbia University neuroscientist. It demonstrated Sulzer's idea that thinking about an action could stimulate the brain in much the same way as actually carrying it out."It's the first time we've shown this [experiment] in public," said Sulzer, who's also known as Dave Soldier the prolific composer...

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