News and Information

January 26, 2005

503 494-8231

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William Martin, Ph.D., an expert on hearing and the brain, will be available late this week and early next week to discuss impacts of music on the brain and the unique public program on Feb. 1 (more information below). Contact Jim Newman in OHSU News and Publications at 503 494-8231 to schedule interviews.

WHAT: Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon Symphony present "Music and the Brain." The lecture and musical event will feature neuroscience educator and former Winston-Salem Symphony conductor Paul Perret; and director of the OHSU Oregon Hearing Research Center Tinnitus Clinic William Martin, Ph.D. The two will be accompanied by members of the Oregon Symphony as they examine the role of music and the mind. This unique program will feature the science breakthroughs pertaining to music and its effect on our brains along with some of the best musical talent Portland has to offer.

WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2005

WHERE: First Congregational Church, 1126 S.W. Park Ave., downtown Portland

DETAILS: Why do some people have perfect pitch, while others can't carry a simple tune? Why are patients with brain disorders such as autism sometimes musically talented? How can one song cause joy for one listener and sorrow for another? These are some of the many questions scientists are beginning to ask and answer. For instance, recent research has unveiled the following:

  • Specific locations in the brain are responsible for perfect (absolute) pitch and tone deafness.
  • The human brain does not have one single music-processing center. This function takes place in multiple parts of the brain.
  • Combining music and education can increase learning.
  • When we memorize songs, we often remember them at the same pitch at which we heard them.
  • One area of the brain is likely responsible for the occasional constant, and sometimes annoying, repetition of music in your mind.
  • Tones used in speech are much like music. We tend to use the same tones repeatedly to convey meaning.
  • Babies enter the world with musical preferences.

Tickets cost $20. To purchase tickets and obtain additional information about this event and other Brain Awareness activities, visit or call 503 418-2515.