Music for the brain

Brain Health Research Centre PhD student Thomas Elston (left) and University of Otago Mozart...
Brain Health Research Centre PhD student Thomas Elston (left) and University of Otago Mozart fellow Jeremy Mayall prepare for a performance of Music for the Brain - a composition inspired by brain waves. Photo: Gregor Richardson

What does the brain sound like? That is the question University of Otago Mozart fellow Jeremy Mayall set out to answer when composing Music for the Brain.

Tapping into his love for film music, he composed the score to a journey into the mind.

''I worked with David [Bilkey, director of the Brain Health Research Centre] and found out about brain waves and how they have a musical quality to them,'' Mr Mayall said.

The about seven-minute performance at the Hutton Theatre yesterday afternoon was made more surreal by the use of a brain monitor on someone listening to the piece. As those in the audience listened, they watched the brain activity of PhD student Thomas Elston listening to the music.

People got to watch how music inspired by the brain then in turn inspired the brain, Mr Mayall said.

''Music creates a powerful mental and emotional response,'' he said.

The performance was part of Brain Awareness Week, which started on Friday and continues with free events at Otago Museum until this Friday.

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