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Where Is That Sound?

by Greg Crowther


Lyrics

Whe-he-he-here is that sound (is that sound)?
Whe-he-here can it be found (can be found)?

Is it to the left? Or is it to the right?
The LSO and MSO compare binaural spikes!
Tell me,

Whe-he-he-here is that sound (is that sound)?
Whe-he-here can it be found (can be found)?

Comparing left and right reveals the side the sound is on.
This happens in the brainstem -- more precisely, in the pons!
Tell me,

Whe-he-he-here is that sound (is that sound)?
Whe-he-here can it be found (can be found)?
Whe-he-he-here is that sound?


Comments

A short song about localizing sounds in space. It was written for BIOL 220 at the University of Washington. Jargon: LSO = Lateral Superior Olive; MSO = Medial Superior Olive; binaural = from both ears; spikes = action potentials. The brain has two complementary means of determining a sound's left-to-right position: the "intensity pathway" through the LSO, and the "time pathway" through the MSO. Input to the ear closer to the sound should be louder than input to the other ear(intensity pathway), and input to the closer ear should be received earlier than input to the other ear (time pathway).

Though it takes a bit of extra work, this song is fun to sing in parts (e.g., "is that sound?" and "can be found?" can be echoed by the students) as a way of playing with the concept of sound localization.