Cognitive Neurodynamics

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 13–31 | Cite as

Music of brain and music on brain: a novel EEG sonification approach

  • Shankha SanyalEmail author
  • Sayan Nag
  • Archi Banerjee
  • Ranjan Sengupta
  • Dipak Ghosh
Research Article


Can we hear the sound of our brain? Is there any technique which can enable us to hear the neuro-electrical impulses originating from the different lobes of brain? The answer to all these questions is YES. In this paper we present a novel method with which we can sonify the electroencephalogram (EEG) data recorded in “control” state as well as under the influence of a simple acoustical stimuli—a tanpura drone. The tanpura has a very simple construction yet the tanpura drone exhibits very complex acoustic features, which is generally used for creation of an ambience during a musical performance. Hence, for this pilot project we chose to study the nonlinear correlations between musical stimulus (tanpura drone as well as music clips) and sonified EEG data. Till date, there have been no study which deals with the direct correlation between a bio-signal and its acoustic counterpart and also tries to see how that correlation varies under the influence of different types of stimuli. This study tries to bridge this gap and looks for a direct correlation between music signal and EEG data using a robust mathematical microscope called Multifractal Detrended Cross Correlation Analysis (MFDXA). For this, we took EEG data of 10 participants in 2 min “control condition” (i.e. with white noise) and in 2 min ‘tanpura drone’ (musical stimulus) listening condition. The same experimental paradigm was repeated for two emotional music, “Chayanat” and “Darbari Kanada”. These are well known Hindustani classical ragas which conventionally portray contrast emotional attributes, also verified from human response data. Next, the EEG signals from different electrodes were sonified and MFDXA technique was used to assess the degree of correlation (or the cross correlation coefficient γx) between the EEG signals and the music clips. The variation of γx for different lobes of brain during the course of the experiment provides interesting new information regarding the extraordinary ability of music stimuli to engage several areas of the brain significantly unlike any other stimuli (which engages specific domains only).


EEG Sonification Tanpura drone Hindustani Ragas MFDXA Cross-correlation coefficient 



The first author, SS acknowledges the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Govt. of India for providing the Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) to pursue this research (09/096(0876)/2017-EMR-I).One of the authors, AB acknowledges the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India for providing (A.20020/11/97-IFD) the DST Inspire Fellowship to pursue this research work. All the authors acknowledge Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of West Bengal for providing the RMS EEG equipment as part of R&D Project (3/2014).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shankha Sanyal
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sayan Nag
    • 3
  • Archi Banerjee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ranjan Sengupta
    • 1
  • Dipak Ghosh
    • 1
  1. 1.Sir C.V. Raman Centre for Physics and MusicJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia
  3. 3.Department of Electrical EngineeringJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia

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