A neural population selective for song in human auditory cortex

Sam V. Norman-Haignere, Jenelle Feather, Dana Boebinger, Peter Brunner, Anthony Ritaccio, Josh H. McDermott, Gerwin Schalk, Nancy Kanwisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


How is music represented in the brain? While neuroimaging has revealed some spatial segregation between responses to music versus other sounds, little is known about the neural code for music itself. To address this question, we developed a method to infer canonical response components of human auditory cortex using intracranial responses to natural sounds, and further used the superior coverage of fMRI to map their spatial distribution. The inferred components replicated many prior findings, including distinct neural selectivity for speech and music, but also revealed a novel component that responded nearly exclusively to music with singing. Song selectivity was not explainable by standard acoustic features, was located near speech- and music-selective responses, and was also evident in individual electrodes. These results suggest that representations of music are fractionated into subpopulations selective for different types of music, one of which is specialized for the analysis of song.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1470-1484.e12
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 11 2022


  • ECoG
  • auditory cortex
  • component
  • electrocorticography
  • fMRI
  • music
  • natural sounds
  • song
  • speech
  • voice


Dive into the research topics of 'A neural population selective for song in human auditory cortex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this