Music in minor activates limbic structures: a relationship with dissonance?Neuroreport. 2008 May 07; 19(7):711-5.N
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we contrasted major and minor mode melodies controlled for liking to study the neural basis of musical mode perception. To examine the influence of the larger dissonance in minor melodies on neural activation differences, we further introduced a strongly dissonant stimulus, in the form of a chromatic scale. Minor mode melodies were evaluated as sadder than major melodies, and in comparison they caused increased activity in limbic structures, namely left parahippocampal gyrus, bilateral ventral anterior cingulate, and in left medial prefrontal cortex. Dissonance explained some, but not all, of the heightened activity in the limbic structures when listening to minor mode music.