Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 120, Issue 5, pp 755–759 | Cite as

Effects of dopaminergic and subthalamic stimulation on musical performance

  • Floris T. van Vugt
  • Michael Schüpbach
  • Eckart Altenmüller
  • Eric Bardinet
  • Jérôme Yelnik
  • Thomas D. HälbigEmail author
Neurology and Preclinical Neurological Studies - Short communication


Although subthalamic-deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) is an efficient treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD), its effects on fine motor functions are not clear. We present the case of a professional violinist with PD treated with STN-DBS. DBS improved musical articulation, intonation and emotional expression and worsened timing relative to a timekeeper (metronome). The same effects were found for dopaminergic treatment. These results suggest that STN-DBS, mimicking the effects of dopaminergic stimulation, improves fine-tuned motor behaviour whilst impairing timing precision.


Parkinson’s disease Subthalamic nucleus Deep brain stimulation Dopamine Motor control Musical performance 



This work was supported in part by an EBRAMUS grant to FTV (ITN MC FP7, GA 238157). We thank Dr. André Lee for helpful comments and discussions concerning the musical evaluation paradigm and Patricia Doucelance for help with the musical recordings.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

702_2012_923_MOESM1_ESM.doc (79 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 79 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Floris T. van Vugt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Schüpbach
    • 3
    • 4
  • Eckart Altenmüller
    • 1
  • Eric Bardinet
    • 5
  • Jérôme Yelnik
    • 6
  • Thomas D. Hälbig
    • 3
    • 7
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ MedicineHannover University of Music, Drama and MediaHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Lyon Neuroscience Research Center CNRS-UMR 5292INSERM U1028, University Lyon-1LyonFrance
  3. 3.Département de Neurologie, Centre d’Investigation Clinique CIC-9503, Assistance-Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinièreUniversité Pierre et Marie Curie—Paris 6 et INSERM, CHU Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  4. 4.DBS-Unit, Movement Disorders Center, Department of NeurologyUniversity HospitalBernSwitzerland
  5. 5.Centre de NeuroImagerie de Recherche, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinièreUniversité Pierre et Marie Curie—Paris 6 UMR-S975, INSERM U975, CNRS UMR7225, CHU Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  6. 6.Centre de Recherche de l’Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinièreUniversite Pierre et Marie Curie—Paris 6 UMR-S975, INSERM U975, CNRS UMR7225, CHU Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  7. 7.Department of NeurologyMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  8. 8.Department of NeurologyCharité—University Medical CenterBerlinGermany

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