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Exploring the brain-music relationship with BHSU music professor Dr. Christopher Hahn

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, March 18, 2019/Categories: Events, Students, College of Liberal Arts, Community, Events, Faculty, 2019

Black Hills State University music professor Dr. Christopher Hahn has always been interested in how sound affects us emotionally. Hahn will  present “We’re All Musicians: Exploring the Brain-Music Relationship,” a Geek Speak lecture, on the BHSU campus Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall Room 110.

Through keys and sets of pitches, our brains are able to hear the relationships between sounds and hear a complete melody. As a musician, knowing triggers such as pitch gives insights into how different people will hear the same music piece and have either similar or different reactions, says Hahn. He goes on to say emotions or memories have mental ties to sound, even without a conscious effort between the ears and the brain, and neuroscientists around the globe focus on this music relationship as insight to human nature.

Hahn will explain these connections and triggers through earworms (snippets of songs that you cannot get out of your head) and the Gestalt theory, connecting the dots like words on a page or pieces of a puzzle. Tying in neuroscience and psychology, Hahn will provide an overview into topics and ideas that are being explored all across the world explaining the complexity behind music.

About BHSU Geek Speak: 
The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom. The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students and the community to diversity within the disciplines. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Upcoming lectures include:
•    March 28: BHSU Research Symposium Keynote Speaker Vincent W. Youngbauer “The Importance of Media Literacy Education in 21st Century America,” Meier Hall
•    April 4: Petrika Peters, sustainability advocate: “Global Dumping: What Happens to Your Electronic Waste?”
•    April 11: Christopher Landauer and Chris Fuchs, organizers of the Rocky Mountain Savages: "Wizard, Fighter, Rouge RPG Design: Community Building Through Gaming"
•    April 25: Alex Lang, assistant professor of History: "Noise-Makers: Fascists and Music"

To read short descriptions of each lecture topic, visit
For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, associate professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email

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