When musicians play together, we always try to be “in sync,” unless, of course, we are playing Steve Reich’s Piano Phase or Violin Phase. And then we find how difficult it is, when two musicians are playing the same music, to be purposefully “out of sync” or out of phase. So are we hardwired to want to play “in sync?” What is happening in our brains when we are performing together? First, a necessary “sidebar” to talk about brainwaves.
100 billion used to be the figure that was always given for the number of brain cells, or neurons, in the human brain. But we seem to have lost about 14 billion. Although you still see the higher figure, more recent research shows that there are actually 86 billion neurons in our brain, which is still an inconceivable number. (You may not want to know that researchers determined this figure by making soup out of brains that had been donated to science. Check out the story here.)