Your Brain as a Musical Instrument

The World Science Festival, held this past June in New York City, consists of lectures, movies and concerts intended to bring science to the public. (It's the one time of the year I wish the magazine were based in NYC.) Several of the events are now online on Vimeo, and I was intrigued by Notes & Neurons: In Search of a Common Chorus, which discussed the question, "Is our response to music hard-wired or culturally determined?"

In Part 4 below, panelist and musician Bobby McFerrin jumps in with a demonstration (about two minutes into the video), in which he quickly trains the audience to become the musical instrument. The scientists then ask: Would he get the same response from any audience worldwide? (For the whole event, start with Part 1.)

World Science Festival 2009: Notes & Neurons, Part 4 of 5 from World Science Festival on Vimeo.