(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘music

“Let there be bass”*…

Sometimes, it really is all about that bass…

A recent study in the journal Current Biology found that people danced 12% more when very low frequency bass was played.

The study was done by scientists at the LIVElab at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, who wanted to see what musical ingredients make us want to dance.

“We look at things like what kinds of rhythms most pull people into that steady beat that we groove along with, and what kinds of interesting, syncopated, complex rhythms make us really drawn in and want to move more,” said Daniel Cameron, a neuroscientist and the lead author of the study.

Now, the lab for this experiment wasn’t the classic fluorescent lights, white coats and goggles setup. Instead, the LIVElab space was converted into an electronic dance music concert, and EDM duo Orphx performed live for volunteers adorned with headbands that had a motion capture sensor.

The lab was equipped with special special speakers that can play a very low frequency bass, undetectable to the human ear. The set lasted about an hour, and researchers introduced that very low bass every 2.5 minutes, and found that the concertgoers moved more when the speakers were on – even though they couldn’t hear it.

“It’s the inner-ear structures that give us a sense of where our head is in space,” he said. “That system is sensitive to low-frequency stimulation, especially if it’s loud.”

“We also know that our tactile system, that’s our sense of touch … is also sensitive to low-frequency stimulation, low-frequency sound.”…

“And that’s feeding into our motor system in the brain, the movement control system in our brain,” Cameron said. “So it’s adding a little bit of gain. It’s giving a little more energy … from that stimulation through those systems.”…

What makes us dance? It really is all about that bass,” from @NPR.

For more on ultra-low frequency sounds and their effects, see “How low can you go?“; and lest we think this phenomenon restricted to humans, “Watch These Rats ‘Dance’ to the Rhythms of Mozart, Lady Gaga, and Queen.”

Leo Fender

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As we go low, we might recall that it was on this date in 1792, during George Washington’s first term as president, that the first edition of The Farmer’s Almanac was published.  (It became The Old Farmer’s Almanac in 1832 to distinguish itself from similarly-titled competitors.)  Still going strong, it is the oldest continuously-published periodical in the U.S.

Almanac

source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 25, 2022 at 1:00 am

“How low can you go?”*…

… Pretty low if you have an octobass– which the Montreal Symphony now does…

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra has just become the only ensemble in the world to employ an octobass… Here it is dwarfing its new orchestra mates in Montreal:

This is an octobass – it’s so low it will turn your insides to jelly,” @classicfm

Because of the extreme fingerboard length and string thickness, the musician plays it using a system of levers and pedals which engage metal clamps that are positioned above the neck at specific positions and act as fretting devices.

The octobass, which typically plays a full octave below the double bass, has never been produced on a large scale nor (though Hector Berlioz wrote favorably about the instrument and proposed its widespread adoption) used much by composers. Indeed, The only known work from the 19th century that specifically calls for the octobass is Charles Gounod‘s Messe solennelle de SainteCécile.

Per Berlioz, the octobass’ three open strings were tuned C1, G1, and C2. The fundamental frequencies of the lowest notes in this tuning lie below 20 Hz—the commonly-understood lower bound of the human hearing range—still, these notes are audible due to the overtones they produce. More interesting these inaudible lowest notes (like the 32′ stop on an organ)– known as “infrasound“– elicit a physical reaction: feelings of awe or fear. It has also been suggested that since it is not consciously perceived, it may make people feel vaguely that odd or supernatural events are taking place. In any case, it’s why sound designers in thrillers and horror movies mix infrasound into the tracks at moments meant to be tense or frightening.

* “Born to Hand Jive,” Grease

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As we stretch, we might recall that it was on this date in 1925 that Lonnie Johnson made his first recording, “Mr. Johnson’s Blues,” in a session for OKeh Records. A Blues guitar innovator, his music fueled a blues craze throughout the rest of the decade and influences the next generation of blues and folk musicians.

Johnson was also a talented pianist and violinist, and is is recognized as the first to play an electrically-amplified violin.

source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 4, 2022 at 1:00 am

“Instant karma’s gonna get you, gonna knock you right on the head”*…

What goes round…

Bored Panda collected a schadenfreude-filled list of “50 Times Justice Was Served To People Who Totally Deserved It.”

… comes round: “Excellent examples of people getting exactly what they deserve,” from @pesco in @BoingBoing. All of them, here.

* John Lennon

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As we ponder predestined propriety, we might recall that it was on this date in 1988 that Def Leppard‘s “Love Bites” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The follow-up single (from the #1 album Hysteria, which won a string of industry awards and racked up global sales totaling over 25 million) to “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” the power ballad is considered a classic of the glam metal genre.

Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 8, 2022 at 1:00 am

“It is the special province of music to move the heart”*…

From the estimable Ted Gioia

Here’s one of the best music videos you will see this year.

Bach’s score for The Art of Fugue—perhaps his last work—does not specify the instrumentation, thus giving later musicians tremendous creative latitude. It’s based on [the motif pictured above].

This new video performance, released last week by the Netherlands Bach Society, features an impressive range of settings—starting with solo voices, and working through combinations of a dozen other instruments…

Bach– as Wagner proclaimed, “the most stupendous miracle in all music!”: The Art of the Fugue

* Johann Sebastian Bach

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As we appreciate patterns, we might recall that it was on this date in 1738 that Handel, Bach’s contemporary (he, Bach, and Domenico Scarlatti were all born in 1685), finished his his oratorio Saul and starts Israel in Egypt.

Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 27, 2022 at 1:00 am

“My theory. Music can fix anything. Anything.”*…

Middle C

A rich collection of interactive music theory tools & visual references to learn music online for free…

I’m creating this site to anchor what I’m learning and as a way to bring creative and interesting ways to present music theory topics. I’m hoping the content on this site will prove helpful in your own music-making journey!…

Learn music theory: “Muted.io,” from @muted_io. You might want to start with the Cheat Sheet“…

(Image above: source)

* Asa Butterfield

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As we play (with) scales, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto (Op. 38) premiered as part of the opening festivities for Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center in New York, with John Browning as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Leinsdorf.

The first two movements were completed before the end of 1960 but the last movement was not completed until 15 days before the world premiere performance. According to Browning (in the liner notes for his 1991 RCA Victor recording of the Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony), the initial version of the piano part of the third movement was unplayable at performance tempo; Barber resisted reworking the piano part until Vladimir Horowitz reviewed it and also deemed it unplayable at full tempo. In the end, the work was met with great critical acclaim; it earned Barber his second Pulitzer Prize in 1963 and the Music Critics Circle Award in 1964.

Samuel Barber at the piano (source)

Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 24, 2022 at 1:00 am

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