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Jazz study shows link between music and language

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Photo - This undated handout photo provided by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, shows a jazz pianist playing inside an MRI machine. Jazz musicians are famous for musical conversations _ one improvises a few bars and another makes up an answer. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore had jazz pianists play this way inside MRI machines to show how their brains respond, and found that language regions enable the musical back-and-forth much like a spoken conversation. (AP Photo/Dr. Charles J. Limb, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
This undated handout photo provided by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, shows a jazz pianist playing inside an MRI machine. Jazz musicians are famous for musical conversations _ one improvises a few bars and another makes up an answer. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore had jazz pianists play this way inside MRI machines to show how their brains respond, and found that language regions enable the musical back-and-forth much like a spoken conversation. (AP Photo/Dr. Charles J. Limb, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Jazz musicians are famous for their musical conversations — one improvises a few bars and another plays an answer. Now research shows some of the brain's language regions enable that musical back-and-forth much like a spoken conversation.

It gives new meaning to the idea of music as a universal language.

The finding, published Wednesday in a scientific journal, is the latest in the growing field of musical neuroscience: Researchers are using how we play and hear music to illuminate different ways that the brain works.

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