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Brain Staves

Musicians playing a duet do more than just make sweet harmony together - they actually synchronise their brains, scientists have discovered.

The study - by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, German - shows that the players' brains produced exactly the same activity patterns while playing different parts of the same tune.

Scientists studied 32 guitarists playing in pairs with electrodes fixed to their head through a cap to monitor their brain patterns.

And although the musicians' brains were not communicating, they were apparently mirroring each other, says the study.

The institute's Johanna Sanger explained: "We think it is a functional synchronisation. It might not be communication as we usually define it, but the brainwaves became synchronised, or mirrored."

Now the team are to expand the study - which may one day help in the treatment of autism - and try experiments on larger groups of musicians.

"We want to find out if the same patterns exist or if they break down into groups of synchronisation," explained Sanger.

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