Music and Lyrics: How the brain splits songs
From the fMRI scans the team worked out that one particular part of the brain - the superior temporal sulcus - was responding to the songs. In the middle of the STS, the lyrics and tune were being processed as a single signal. But in the anterior STS, only the lyrics seemed to be processed (Journal of Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.2751-09.2010). Her team couldn't find an area specific to processing tunes. This may be because no individual, complex processing occurs for melody, although it might in professional musicians, says Sammler.
She concludes that the brain first deals with music and lyrics together. Then, after passing through the mid-STS, more complex processing kicks in, such as understanding what lyrics mean, and the two are treated separately. "The more they are processed, the more they are separated," she says.
-Music Wizard Group Team