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Lateral prefrontal cortex as a hub for music production with gradation from structural rules to movement sequences

By Roberta Bianco, Giacomo Novembre, Hanna Ringer, Natalie Kohler, Peter E Keller, Arno Villringer, Daniela Sammler

Posted 21 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.21.348243

Complex sequential behaviours, such as speaking or playing music, often entail the flexible, rule-based chaining of single acts. However, it remains unclear how the brain translates abstract structural rules into concrete series of movements. Here we demonstrate a multi-level contribution of anatomically distinct cognitive and motor networks to the execution of novel musical sequences. We combined functional and diffusion-weighted neuroimaging to dissociate high-level structural and low-level motor planning of musical chord sequences executed on a piano. Fronto-temporal and fronto-parietal neural networks were involved when sequences violated pianists' structural or motor plans, respectively. Prefrontal cortex is identified as a hub where both networks converge within an anterior-to-posterior gradient of action control linking abstract structural rules to concrete movement sequences. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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