Welcome to the companion website for the upcoming Exploratory Seminar Music and the Heart: From Mathematics to the Mind. We are very excited for the seminar, and we look forward to seeing everyone soon. Please feel free to explore this website. We will strive to make sure that the most up-to-date information is installed. Thank you.

Executive Summary: The belief that music is inherent in the beating of the pulse can be traced back to the Middle Ages, a specific instance of the idea that music is intrinsic in the rhythms of the human body, termed musica humana. A theme of the seminar will explore the connections between music and the heart through mathematics. While music and heart rhythms, including abnormal ones, share many temporal (e.g. rhythmic) and other structural similarities, the mathematical formulation, computational analysis, and scientific visualization of music and cardiac information have developed independently. A cross-fertilization of ideas in these related domains stand to benefit both fields. Mathematical models of temporal structures in music can lead to new tools for characterizing and diagnosing pathological heart conditions; knowledge of cardiac electrophysiological behaviors can, in turn, give rise to new avenues for music research and practice.

Reaching farther back in time, ancient Egyptians regarded the heart to be the seat of human emotion. Emotionally charged events such as national disasters and the world cup are associated with increased cardiac risk. This is because mental stress induces changes in the electrical conduction and recovery (repolarization) of heart cells. However, how strong emotions destabilize the electrical activity of the heart is not well understood. On the other hand, music induces strong emotions. Because emotion response to music is the greatest common denominator of the musical experience, music emotion research is one of the most prolific domains of music research. Emotion and cardiac response are regulated by the autonomic nervous system, which is connected to the brain. Thus, another theme of the seminar will be to explore heart-brain, music-brain, and music-heart-brain interactions with the aim to better understand the pathways that affect mood and heart rhythm.

The seminar aims to instigate idea exchange between the scientific and artistic, and academic and clinical, communities in music and cardiology to expand and potentially change the understanding of music and the heart.


Exploratory Seminar Leaders

Elaine Chew
Principal Investigator, European Research Council Project COSMOS
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Sciences et Technologies de la Musique et du Son Laboratory (UMR9912)
Music Representations Team, Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique
CNRS + IRCAM + Sorbonne University + French Ministry of Culture
Email: elaine.chew@ircam.fr
Personal website: repmus.ircam.fr/eniale
ERC Project website: cosmos.ircam.fr

Pier Lambiase
Professor of Cardiology, University College London & Barts Heart Centre
Co-Director of Cardiovascular Research Barts NHS Trust
Director of Electrophysiology Research
BHRS Committee Research Lead
Institute of Cardiovascular Science, UCL
Department of Cardiology, Barts Heart Centre
Email: pier.lambiase@ucl.ac.uk
Website: iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=DLAMB45