Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Cerebral Symphony

The musical interpretation of cognition
  [vote for,

Doctor Roberts walked into the room with a lithe and confident gait. He leaned casually against the wall and parted his white lab coat to slide his hands into his trouser pockets. He cleared his throat before speaking: “Mr. Johnson, it would appear that variation number 427 would be most pleasing to you.”

“Er… how do you know?” Johnson said while exuding an air of indignation and embarrassment.

“Well, you see Mr. Johnson, your particular musical preferences, as determined by the results of your Auditory Gustation Battery, was an 87% match to Simian Auditory Discriminator number 32, and a 73% match to Simian Auditory Discriminator number 211. Number 32 preferred…”

“Excuse me.” Johnson interrupted, “A what? A simian Difibri... What?”

“A Simian Auditory Discriminator, Mr. Johnson. It is a monkey that has been trained, through extensive operant conditioning to discriminate a certain pattern of sounds from other patterns of sounds within sound samples, then after evaluating the sample, places the sample in one of two chutes: Samples that do, and do not fit the target pattern, respectively.”

Johnson readjusted himself in his chair, “So a monkey knows what kind of music I would like?”

“No, no… of course not, Mr. Johnson. A monkey… or more precisely; 314 monkeys know what different patterns of auditory stimuli they have been trained to recognize, and as I was saying; our samples of your preferred music best fit the auditory pattern profiles that the Simian Auditory Discriminators number 32 and 211 are trained to recognize…” Dr. Roberts thought to himself momentarily before producing a thumb drive from his pocket, before continuing. “Let’s take a listen, shall we?”

The musical piece resonated throughout the confines of the small room. It was a complex piece, not unlike a fugue between staccato strings and wandering woodwinds, complemented by horns and percussion vacillating between almost frenzied chaos and sublime rhythms.

Perusing Mr. Johnson’s chart, Dr. Roberts provided occasional commentary on the piece:

“In this particular permutation, the activity in your orbital prefrontal cortex was interpreted inversely in amplitude by clarinets. Anterior and medial cortical activation interpreted as higher frequencies and lateral and posterior cortical areas interpreted as lower frequencies.”


“Surprisingly your Anterior Cingulate Cortex was interpreted as the viola.”

“Is that uncommon?”

“Yes… fairly. It looks here as if your hippocampus was interpreted as the cello, (no surprises there), with the posterior portions being interpreted as higher frequencies, and your Dorso-Lateral Prefrontal Cortex represented as violins.”

“It’s amazing, Dr…”

“Paul, please. Yes, this is one of the more interesting pieces we’ve extrapolated… my favorite part being the introduction of the oboe (your amygdala), in the second movement.”

“And all of this is what was happening in my brain?” Johnson said with both pride and awe

“Yes, well in a fashion… yes. May I ask what memory it was you chose to dwell on during the procedure?”

“I was thinking about the park I used to ride my bike to, when I was young… and then I remembered a school-yard fight I had gotten into, then I thought about my first date with my wife and how we…” Johnson’s voice trailed off, his tone; belying an aspect of discomfort with the subject he was about to broach.

Doctor Roberts stepped forward and placed the thumb-drive in Johnson’s hand. “Please pardon my curiosity. This musical piece is yours and yours alone, Mr. Johnson, just as are the thoughts that they represent. I do hope you have found this endeavor to be worthwhile.”

MikeD, Aug 06 2012


       About the length of a novella when reading on a smart phone.
rcarty, Aug 06 2012

       [+] You should write fiction, [MikeD]. Probably not music, though.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 06 2012


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