Music is a drug

Posted by: admin on January 13, 2011 @ 12:20 pm
Filed under: Listening, Science

As if you—our faithful readers and listeners—didn’t already know that. But Discovery posted a piece on how dopeamine is released in your brain when you hear that climax in a tune you love. Think of all that tension at the end of A Day In The Life as you wait for the resolution (and subsequent compressor noise as the piano fades out). The obvious example, of course.

“It is amazing that we can release dopamine in anticipation of something abstract, complex and not concrete,” [Valorie] Salimpoor said. “This is the first study to show that dopamine can be released in response to an aesthetic stimulus.”

Does this explain why teenagers are so passionate about their music? Why Grateful Dead fans followed the band from town to town? Why a devoted opera buff will see endless productions of Wagner’s Ring Cycle? It certainly seems like a step in that direction.

Whereas this may not fully explain why Dead fans followed them around—pretty sure most reports point to a different set of drugs—I can certainly pinpoint the feeling they are describing while listening.

Thanks to buddy Ray for passing on that story.

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Speaking Piano

Posted by: admin on October 7, 2009 @ 12:42 pm
Filed under: Music Technology, Science

A short break from shipping out the first wave of preorders…

Kudos to my buddy Patrick’s feed for that and all the other great posts.

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Project Tuva

Posted by: admin on July 23, 2009 @ 12:29 pm
Filed under: Culture, Science

A somewhat nerdy post…

Bill Gates is offering up a series of lectures by noted physicist Richard Feynman from 1964. Here’s Bill…

First and foremost, I have no pretensions of being the Blogging Expert on Science. But this excites me. It excites me in the same way the web is opening up education in other subjects, specifically in music — streamable lessons on youtube, live feeds from classrooms for students, etc.

I remember seeing the NOVA special on String Theory (available in it’s entirety here) and it being the first time I was able to (somewhat) understand what all those numbers and symbols meant. The narrator of that — Brian Greene — put things simply and in a way people could understand (for the most part). Feynman, from what I’ve read and watched, seems to have been that guy for his generation. He was able to put the very abstract ideas of physics in a more concrete terms.

Highly recommend checking out Project Tuva (keep typing “Tuba” as with the Brass Ecstasy lineup). It’s up an running at Microsoft Research website.

More non-nerdy posts soon…

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