UC San Diego's Department of Music

January 15, 2010

  In his latest research, neuroscientist Ani Patel turns to birds to learn more about how the brain processes music and language. On Jan. 19, Patel will discuss his latest work when he visits the Department of Music to give a lecture hosted by the Department's graduate Integrative Studies program.

Patel's talk is free and open to the public, and it will take place in Room 367 at the Conrad Prebys Music Center on the UCSD campus.

Humans have long regarded birds as musical creatures, and birdsongs have inspired many composers and been the subject of a vast body of scientific research. Yet there has been remarkably little empirical work comparing the structure of birdsong and human music, and little research on how birds respond to human music.

Dr. Patel's lecture will cover quantitative comparisons of the structure of human and avian song, and empirical studies of avian rhythmic movement to human music.

Patel earned a Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University and in 1997 joined The Neurosciences Institute, where he is now the Esther J. Burnham Senior Fellow. His research into differences and similarities between how the brain processes music and language has utilized techniques ranging from neuroimaging and theoretical analyses, to acoustic research and comparative studies of nonhuman animals.

Dr. Patel is the author of more than forty research articles. His new book Music, Language and the Brain (2008, Oxford University Press) won the 2008 ASCAP Deems-Taylor Award, and he also received the 2009 Music Has Power award from the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. Patel is in the midst of a two-year term as president of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition.

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