In an attempt to identify cortical areas involved in singing in addition to language areas, the authors used a singing task during direct cortical mapping in 5 patients who were amateur singers and had undergone surgery for brain tumors. The organization of the cortical areas involved in language and singing was analyzed in relation with these surgical data.
One left-handed and 4 right-handed patients with brain tumors in left (2 cases) and right (3 cases) hemispheres and no significant language or singing deficits underwent surgery with the “awake surgery” technique. All patients had a special interest in singing and were involved in amateur singing activities. They were tested using naming, reading, and singing tasks.
Outside primary sensorimotor areas, singing interferences were rare and were exclusively localized in small cortical areas (< 1 cm2). A clear distinction was found between speech and singing in the Broca region. In the Broca region, no singing interference was found in areas in which interference in naming and reading tasks were detected. Conversely, a specific singing interference was found in nondominant middle frontal gyri in one patient. This interference consisted of abrupt singing arrest without apparent face, mouth, and tongue contraction. Finally, nonspecific singing interferences were found in the right and left precentral gyri in all patients (probably by interference in final articulatory mechanisms of singing).
Dissociations between speech and singing found outside primary sensorimotor areas showed that these 2 functions use, in some cortical stages, different cerebral pathways.
Abbreviation used in this paper: fMR = functional MR.
Address correspondence to: Franck-Emmanuel Roux, M.D., Ph.D., Institut National de la Santé Et de la Recherche Médicale 825 et Service de Neurochirurgie, Hôpital Purpan, F-31059 Toulouse, France. email:
TaylorMDBernsteinM: Awake craniotomy with brain mapping as the routine surgical approach to treating patients with supratentorial intraaxial tumors: a prospective trial of 200 cases. J Neurosurg90:35–411999
TaylorMD, BernsteinM: Awake craniotomy with brain mapping as the routine surgical approach to treating patients with supratentorial intraaxial tumors: a prospective trial of 200 cases. 90:35–41, 1999)| false