NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1934 __ Sonification of brainwaves
Comment : Human brainwaves were first measured in 1924 by Hans Berger, at the time an unknown German psychiatrist. He termed these electrical measurements the "electroencephalogram" (EEG), which literally means "brain electricity writing". Berger published his brainwave results in 1929 as “Über das Elektrenkephalogramm des Menschen” ("On the Electroencephalogram of Man"). The English translation did not appear until 1969. Initially, Berger's work was largely ignored. It was not until five years after his first paper was published (when E.D. Adrian and B.H.C. Mathews verified Berger's results) that his discovery began to draw attention. In their 1934 article in the journal Brain (brain.oupjournals.org), Adrian and Matthews also reported successfully audifying and listening to human brainwaves which they had recorded according to Berger's methods. This was the first example of the "sonification" of human brainwaves for auditory display. If we accept that the perception of an act as art is what makes it art, then the first instance of the use of brainwaves to generate music did not occur until 1965. Alvin Lucier had begun working with physicist Edmond Dewan in 1964, performing experiments that used brainwaves to create sound. The next year, he was inspired to compose a piece of music using brainwaves as the sole generative source. Music for Solo Performer was presented, with encouragement from John Cage, at the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in 1965. Lucier performed this piece several more times over the next few years, but did not continue to use EEG in his own compositions. In the late 1960s, Richard Teitelbaum was a member of the innovative Rome-based live electronic music group Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV). In performances of Spacecraft (1967) he used various biological signals including brain (EEG) and cardiac (EKG) signals as control sources for electronic synthesizers. Over the next few years, Teitelbaum continued to use EEG and other biological signals in his compositions and experiments as triggers for nascent Moog electronic synthesizers. Then in the late 1960s, another composer, David Rosenboom, began to use EEG signals to generate music. In 1970-71 Rosenboom composed and performed Ecology of the Skin, in which ten live EEG performer-participants interactively generated immersive sonic/visual environments using custom-made electronic circuits. Around the same time, Rosenboom founded the Laboratory of Experimental Aesthetics at York University in Toronto, which encouraged pioneering collaborations between scientists and artists. For the better part of the 1970s, the laboratory undertook experimentation and research into the artistic possibilities of brainwaves and other biological signals in cybernetic biofeedback artistic systems. Many artists and musicians visited and worked at the facility during this time including John Cage, David Behrman, LaMonte Young, and Marian Zazeela. Some of the results of the work at this lab were published in the book Biofeedback and the Arts (Aesthetic Research Centre of Canada, 1976). (Andrew Brouse, “A Young Person's Guide to Brainwave Music”)
Source : Brouse, Andrew (2004), “ A Young Person's Guide to Brainwave Music”, in HorizonZero, issue 15, 2004.
Urls : http://www.mindmodulations.com/mindmods/general/a-young-persons-guide-to-brainwave-music.html (last visited )

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