Researchers tested the effect of the different styles of music from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons on the participants' mental capabilities, and found that the uplifting Spring concerto improved their alertness. Having no music during the test resulted in slightly slower response times, and the slower and more sombre Autumn music produced even slower response times.
Psychologist Dr Leigh Riby also found that "the key in which the music was written had no impact on brain performance. While the Spring concerto, which is written in a major key enhanced cognitive function, the Autumn movement, which is also written in a major key, did not."
Bringing Down the House
Fearing possible noise damage to the building structure, London museum officials have cancelled a concert performance by grindcore band Napalm Death, who collaborated with a ceramic artist and had planned to feature a sculptural sound system that would have disintegrated during the performance due to sound stress.
Mmm Gum: Good for Your Mouth and Your Musical Mind
The results showed that participants who chewed gum had quicker reaction times and more accurate results than the participants who didn't chew gum. This was especially the case towards the latter parts of the task.
Author of the study, Kate Morgan, explained: "Interestingly participants who didn't chew gum performed slightly better at the beginning of the task but were overtaken by the end. This suggests that chewing gum helps us focus on tasks that require continuous monitoring over a longer amount of time."
The Last Sheet Music Magazine
The Washington Times reports on the life and death of Sheet Music Magazine, a periodical print that gave its subscribers a mix of professionally transcribed (by some of the country's top arrangers) classic songs, along with tips on how to improvise "fills" and "turns" and advice on playing tricky sections and eccentric left hand melodies.
But after 36 years, founder Ed Shanaphy cited a combination of factors - a dwindling senior readership, the economy, falling piano sales (360,000 at the start of the 1900's to 62,000 today) and online services for sheet music - that led to the demise of another printed magazine.
Remixed Major and Minor Songs
While there's debate about whether this is universal, in the western world we've learned that major means a happy song and minor means a sad one. NPR reports on some of the creations of Oleg Berg, an engineer and musician in the Ukraine who has created many minor to major (and major to minor) converted songs.
Your iPod Is Making You Deaf. I SAID...YOUR...IPOD...IS...MAKING...YOU...DEAF
Having saved New Yorkers from super sized sodas, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now targeting a growing problem for the iPod generation - hearing loss. The New York Post reports:
Hearing loss skyrocketed 30 percent among teens between 1988 and 2006, according to data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
An iPod at maximum volume reaches 115 decibels. Research says 85 decibels is safe.
Since taking office, Bloomberg has been turning down the volume in NYC, making noise reduction one of his "key quality-of-life initiatives". He's signed "Operation Silent Night", a law that turned up the powers of the noise code, and helps to mute construction site noise as well as the music blaring out of clubs, in efforts to "make New York quieter and more liveable."
Eardrum tip: You don't always need to listen to every song with both ears, using just one earbud and alternating ears gives your inner ear drums a break, and allows you to hear what's happening in your surroundings as well (at least you'll hear the bus coming before it flattens you).
Infrasound of the Russian Meteor
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've no doubt seen some of the footage of the Russian meteor that terrorized and injured hundreds just weeks ago. But have you heard the infrasound? Scientists at the CTBTO's International Monitoring System spend their days monitoring the world for nuclear tests, and released this recording of the infrasonic waves from the meteor that broke up over Russia's Ural mountains - the largest sounds ever recorded by them.
Infrasound is low frequency sound with a range of less than 10 Hz. The blast was detected by 17 infrasound stations in the CTBTO's network, which tracks atomic blasts across the planet. The furthest station to record the sub-audible sound was 15,000 km away in Antarctica.
US Centers for Disease Control statistics state that one in every 150 children in United States is diagnosed with autism – that is one new diagnosis in every 20 minutes. And the number is on the increase. Music and movement therapy has been used to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. interventions can be designed to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, enhance memory, improve communication, and promote physical rehabilitation.
When comparing brain structure, musicians who started early showed enhanced white matter in the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibres that connects the left and right motor regions of the brain. Importantly, the researchers found that the younger a musician started, the greater the connectivity.
Because the study tested musicians on a non-musical motor skill task, it also suggests that the benefits of early music training extend beyond the ability to play an instrument.
Site Fix: Sustain
Just finished fixing a bug with the midi playback, sustain is now working as it should with the "download midi" links!
Love of Music is All Nurture
Researchers at the University of Melborne have discovered that music appreciation is all in your head, and it was placed there by your experiences in the world, and not by the forces of nature, contradicting "centuries of theories that physical properties of the ear determine what we find appealing."
"If you thought that the music of some exotic culture (or Jazz) sounded like the wailing of cats, it's simply because you haven't learnt to listen by their rules," according to Associate Professor Neil McLachlan.
"Even the ability to hear a musical pitch (or note) is learnt," Associate Professor Sarah Wilson said.