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Saturday, December 09, 2017

Writing Music with the Mind: New BCI Modality Offers the Power to Make Music as well as Play It | Evolving Science - Computer Science & Technology

Photo: Deirdre O’Donnell
"Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that allow people with severe neuromotor or motor disorders to communicate are becoming more and more common" says Deirdre O’Donnell, professional writer for several years. Deirdre is also an experienced journalist and editor.

Music brain. 
Photo: (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This is realised by scanning brainwaves using electroencephalography (EEG) and converting them accurately into words, letters or other objects that the user intends to replicate in their minds. BCIs are beneficial for those with extensive paralysis, ‘locked-in’ syndrome and other similar conditions.

EEG-powered BCIs have a number of advantages; it is non-invasive, (the brainwaves are ‘picked up’ through the skull using electrodes integrated into a head-hugging cap) well-validated, well recognized, and often relatively cheap. In addition, certain ranges of brainwave (or event-related potentials (ERPs), as some are also known) have also been exhaustively studied and exploited for the purposes of BCI. They include the posterior-dominant rhythm, which is associated with the high-fidelity selection of notes and other musical objects on virtual instruments, and the P300 wave that enables patients to complete tasks such as selecting numbers in a BCI interface. As such, some researchers suggest that P300 could also be used to specify and select musical notes in those who need to write music using BCI. A recent study published in PLOS One suggests that this is indeed possible. This is good news for patients who want to write their own music completely hands-free as well as play it.

Composing music through thoughts 
This team, based at the Institutes of Neural Engineering and Psychology at Graz University of Technology, developed a BCI interface that was also loaded with software supporting musical composition. They based their work on existing BCIs that allow patients to paint using software somewhat similar to many conventional drawing or art apps found on everyday computers, and also previous studies that showed a 75 percent accuracy rate in selecting notes from the C major scale using a modified BCI spelling programme. The team, supervised by Gernot Müller-Putz of the Neural Engineering institute, hypothesised that such BCI musical composition was also applicable to a more extensive range of options. In other words, they linked their EEG receivers to the full musical composition suite MuseNote. A previous pilot study evaluating this approach in five healthy individuals found that this group could input a given melody into the software via the BCI with an accuracy of up to approximately 96 percent, although 40 percent of them could complete the task at an accuracy of about 50 percent. Therefore, the group designed a new experiment in which they recruited 18 healthy volunteers with musical backgrounds, including a professional composer, to test their ability to spell, write a full, pre-determined melody and compose original sequences using this BCI system.

MuseScore 2.0 Preview


The team used a fairly conventional BCI system, which consist of EEG detection and recording hardware, P300-wave-based software (written largely in C with Matlab for signal processing) and the MuseNote software, which was controlled in turn by the P300 software.
Read more...  

References
Pinegger A, Hiebel H, Wriessnegger SC, Müller-Putz GR. Composing only by thought: Novel application of the P300 brain-computer interface. PLoS ONE. 2017. 12(9): e0181584. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181584
Deuel TA, Pampin J, Sundstrom J, Darvas F. The Encephalophone: A Novel Musical Biofeedback Device using Conscious Control of Electroencephalogram (EEG). Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2017;11(213).

Source: Evolving Science and MuseScore HowTo Channel (YouTube)


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