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Pink floyd

Researchers use brain waves and AI to recreate Pink Floyd’s "Another Brick in the Wall"

17 August 2023, 13:35 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley have come together in using detectable brain activity to reconstruct a version of the classic Pink Floyd song "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)" from their album The Wall.

The scientific project was undertaken to understand effect that music has on the human brain.

For the study, the researchers analysed brain activity recordings of 29 patients at Albany Medical Center in New York State from 2009 to 2015. As part of their epilepsy treatment, the patients had a net of electrodes implanted in their brains. This created an opportunity for the neuroscientists to record from their brain activity while they listened to music. A total of 2,668 electrodes were used to record all the brain activity and 347 of them were specifically related to the music.

The electrodes also read the patients ‘prosody’ – the rhythm, stress, accent and intonation of sound – which gives more information than the mere word spoken or sung. The researchers found that they were able to read lyrics from the Pink Floyd song.

Whilst not perfectly aligned to the original lyrics which are: “All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall”, the scientists found the words, “All in all, it was just a brick in the wall". This reconstructed Pink Floyd song represents a breakthrough that could restore the musicality of natural speech to patients with disabling neurological conditions.

“The scientific reason, which we mention in the paper, is that the song is very layered. It brings in complex chords, different instruments and diverse rhythms that make it interesting to analyze,” says Ludovic Bellier, a cognitive neuroscientist and the study’s lead author about why they chose this specific song. “The less scientific reason might be that we just really like Pink Floyd.”

Robert Knight, the neurologist, noted, “It’s a wonderful result. One of the things for me about music is it has prosody and emotional content. As this whole field of brain-machine interfaces progresses, this gives you a way to add musicality to future brain implants for people who need it”.

“[For] Someone who’s got ALS [the neurodegenerative disease that Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with] or some other disabling neurological or developmental disorder compromising speech output; it gives you the ability to decode not only the linguistic content but some of the prosodic content of speech, some of the effect. I think that’s what we’ve really begun to crack the code on," he added.

It could help people who have suffered stroke or paralysis, or have other verbal communication issues, to communicate through brain-computer interfaces in a way that sounds more natural.

For more information on the study, visit

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