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Guitarists' brains swing in concert, research shows

art-and-culture Updated: Mar 17, 2009 23:10 IST

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When guitarists get together and things get loud, it is not just the music that is in tune: new European research published on Tuesday shows that their brainwaves are also in synch.

Scientists took eight different guitar duos in the laboratory, attached electrodes to their scalps and got them to play a short jazz fusion melody up to 60 times while they recorded their brains' electrical activity.

The researchers from Berlin's Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the University of Salzburg in Austria found that brainwave similarities between the musicians' brains increased significantly.

And this was not just as they played -- their brains also got in the same groove as they listened to a metronome as they got ready to play, the Max Planck Institute said in research published in the BMC Neuroscience journal.

"Our findings show that interpersonally coordinated actions are preceded and accompanied by between-brain oscillatory couplings," said Max Planck's Ulman Lindenberger, one of the authors.

The study is the first of its kind -- only individuals' brains have been observed tuning into music before -- and the results potentially have wider implications for understanding how people's brains interact.