It's fascinating to see certain paths develop in this opaque world that is music and human beings and psychology and neuroscience. There's a been a trend in recent years of people taking obscure data sets such as galaxy clusters or road layouts and turning that data into music. Which is kinda cool but it's not really that "interesting" to me 'cos the music created is filtered through whatever the programmers add as the sounds to be manipulated by the data set - so it's kinda interesting but never sounds very good.
What we have here is the same concept of sound being generated - but the data set is waaaay more interesting. Instead of gathering discrete data points and feeding them in to a program - brainwaves are picked up by EEG and fed into the sound generator in real time - in one example the sound generator is live musicians reacting to a score being created on the fly - which is pretty gnarly if you think about it.
There are 10 different examples and a few of them actually sound pretty good - of course a few others sound like cats screeching - but hey - progress is being made!
Had never heard of Beat Deafness before but it certainly makes sense. The article starts a little tongue in cheek with the old chestnut that white people don't have rhythm but then actually gets to the science. Interestingly enough even the guy who is supposed to be beat deaf can actually keep in time with a basic metronome.
Aside from all the cognitive benefits of getting your kid into music classes early - here's another reason - chicks will dig them (and guys too!) Well written article that looks at the first real rock star - Franz Lizt and examines why people go crazy around this kind of musical genius. The consensus seems to be that if you can play your instrument at an exceptional level then you pretty much have your shit down - this is kind of like Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's towel.
Quite a long read but the key takeaways are:
- Having music in schools raises test scores
- Music training has a positive effect on the brain's executive function
- Music training increase brain plasticity
- Music can predict a child's literacy (fantastic tool and cheap!)
- music neuroscience faces the same funding problems as music in the classroom does
Well worth a read!
Reading this yesterday I immediately thought of that "terrific!" Ben Affleck Superhero movie - DareDevil - the one where he "sees" the world through visual radar - being able to use sound to bounce waves off objects and then interpret them kinda like a submarine!
This is not the case! the point behind this article is the idea that the visual cortex isn't really about vision - and that if you train a blind person to read using touch with Braille, they use the same visual cortex as a seeing person.
What they're doing here is using sound to represent what the world looks like - not radar or sonar - but actually creating auditory signals such as upward swoops to represent smiles. Apparently after just 30 minutes instruction, a blind person can identify a series of different shapes.
It's all pretty interesting and insightful when it comes to how the visual cortex isn't just about sight - but I'm not sure about the wider world applicability.
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