Performing a piece of music involves cognitive and motor processes and requires extensive training to achieve a high skill level. However, even professional musicians commit errors occasionally....

Performing a piece of music involves the interplay of several cognitive and motor processes and requires extensive training to achieve a high skill level. However, even professional musicians commit errors occasionally. Previous event-related potential (ERP) studies have investigated the neurophysiological correlates of pitch errors during piano performance, and reported pre-error negativity already occurring approximately 70–100 ms before the error had been committed and audible. It was assumed that this pre-error negativity reflects predictive control processes that compare predicted consequences with actual consequences of one's own actions. However, in previous investigations, correct and incorrect pitch events were confounded by their different tempi. In addition, no data about the underlying movements were available. In the present study, we exploratively recorded the ERPs and 3D movement data of pianists' fingers simultaneously while they performed fingering exercises from memory. Results showed a pre-error negativity for incorrect keystrokes when both correct and incorrect keystrokes were performed with comparable tempi. Interestingly, even correct notes immediately preceding erroneous keystrokes elicited a very similar negativity. In addition, we explored the possibility of computing ERPs time-locked to a kinematic landmark in the finger motion trajectories defined by when a finger makes initial contact with the key surface, that is, at the onset of tactile feedback. Results suggest that incorrect notes elicited a small difference after the onset of tactile feedback, whereas correct notes preceding incorrect ones elicited negativity before the onset of tactile feedback. The results tentatively suggest that tactile feedback plays an important role in error-monitoring during piano performance, because the comparison between predicted and actual sensory (tactile) feedback may provide the information necessary for the detection of an upcoming error. Country:Italy

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