Blog Archives

1960s music was original, modern music all sounds the same – the scientific proof

Painstaking research led by Spanish scientists has produced a set of results to support the argument that music from the 1960s was at its greatest, and modern music is repetitive and unoriginal. The scientists produced these results by analysing information from a database named the Million Song Dataset, which contained data of over a million songs recorded since 1955. 

Elements of the music such as tempo, volume, timbre, and pitch of notes yielded the above graph, which is a chart of “timbral variety” against time. In other words, it illustrates the diversity of sound in music, and clearly demonstrates that the 1960s was the peak of “timbral variety” in modern musical history. This suggests that music was at its most inventive, creative, and diverse during that era.

Since the 1970s, the originality and diversity of music has been on a downward slide – and continues to dip. These findings suggest that today’s music is simply becoming more and more homogeneous. Fans of 1960s music with a particular hatred for modern artists will revel in this discovery, and see it as undeniable proof that the likes of Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga simply cannot compete with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and so forth.

But, argues Sean Carroll of Discover Magazine: “On the other hand, one could … argue that this is because back then we didn’t know how to do it right, and there was a lot of experimental crap, whereas we’ve now figured it out.”

Full story: DISCOVER Magazine


Music linked with helping depression

Music is non-verbal communication, and allows people to express emotions in ways that words cannot. It therefore has the power to help people physically, mentally, and spiritually. That’s the basic premise of music therapy. It has its critics and its skeptics, but music therapy is used by the NHS to help children who struggle to communicate.  

Now, latest research in Finland suggests that the very same therapy can help adults improve their levels of depression and anxiety. In a study of 79 people, all patients with depression received the standard practice of counselling and appropriate medication, while 33 patients received twenty additional sessions with a trained music therapist.

After three months, patients receiving music therapy showed a greater improvement in scores of anxiety and depression than the other set of patients. Although there was no statistical improvement after six months, it still supports the short-term effectiveness of music therapy to treat depression, when combined with conventional therapy.

The University of Jyväskylä’s Professor Christian Gold said: “Our trial has shown that music therapy, when added to standard care, helps people to improve their levels of depression and anxiety.”

Full story: BBC News

This rocks! Scientists invent t-shirt that can charge up your mobile phone

Don’t you just hate it when you’re at a music festival and your phone battery dies?

Fear no longer. Scientists have invented a t-shirt that can recharge your mobile phone. (Yes, you read that correctly: a t-shirt that can recharge your mobile phone). The shirt contains a piezoelectric film panel, which absorbs compressed sound waves. The panel then converts these waves into an electric charge, which powers up the mobile phone. So all you need to do is plug your phone into your shirt, stand in the crowd, rock out to the band – and, hey presto, your phone will charge itself up. 

The shirt, endorsed by Orange and called the Sound Charge, is set to be tested at this year’s Glastonbury festival. With average noise levels of 80 dB, Orange say the weekend sound will produce enough aural stimulation to charge even your smartphone.

Full story: Recombu