Jun 10 Reblogged
Space Sounds - Symphonies of the Planets
It’s time for another Episode Extra! (which is where you special blog readers get to check out really cool stuff to go along with my YouTube videos, like special features on a DVD, only way more special-er)
In my latest video, “Space Sounds”, we explored some truly awesome musical and sound creations that were literally made from scientific data collected from space. They are spooky, calming, expansive and just plain wonderful. Watch it here if you haven’t seen the episode yet.
Turns out people have been doing this for a while! In 1992, NASA released a now hard-to-find five-volume musical collection called Symphonies of the Planets. They took electromagnetic sensor data from Voyager 1 and 2’s trip past Jupiter and Saturn, which happened over a decade prior. Solar winds and stellar radio waves were converted into sounds accessible to our ears, and the result is some of the most calming ambient music I’ve ever heard. If only the Voyager probes weren’t running low on power today. Imagine the music we could create as they make their way out of the solar system!
These are always strangely soothing to me :-)
May 05 Reblogged
1. Rare: the arousing of emotion in someone who hears music; a passage designed to arouse emotions; an emotional response from music.
2. speech that moves hearers emotionally, especially as the speaker attempts to elicit an emotional response by way of demonstrating his/her own feelings; a speech, or figure of speech, designed to move the passion.
Etymology: from Ancient Greek παθοποιία (pathopoiia); πάθος (pathos, “passion”) + ποιέω (poieō, “make”).
May 05 Reblogged
At Stanford University, nine men and eight women with no formal music training listened to obscure classical music (four symphonies by late-baroque composer William Boyce) while lying inside fMRI machines. The researchers used a type of imaging that let them examine all different areas of the brain over the entire time that the participants were listening to the recording.
To ensure that the brain activity they were mapping was in response to the music as a whole, and not just to one of its structural features, the researchers also had the subjects listen to altered versions of the symphonies: in one, all rhythm and timing was removed, and in the other, they were made atonal.
During the nine and a half minutes that the subjects spent listening to the music in its unadulterated form, the researchers noted a “highly distinctive and distributed set of brain regions” that was synchronized between each them. In the music from which some of the elements that make it musical were removed, on the other hand, brain activity was markedly different from subject to subject.
Apr 30 Reblogged
Like Mac Davis, I believe in music. When I listen to music, or at least certain kinds of music, I feel transported to another place, my mood is elevated, I feel a new sense of harmony, and I am able to focus more clearly on what seems to matter most. A physicist might come along and say that what I call music is merely the scraping of horse’s hairs across cat gut, a mechanical vibration in a particular frequency range. A neurologist might come along and explain that I am merely experiencing the transduction of kinetic energy into electrical energy as processed by neurons in the auditory and higher associative cortices of the brain. And yet, there is something about the music that is hard to reckon in such terms. It would be like saying that a passionate embrace is merely the pressing of flesh on flesh.
“Something always eludes the scientists, the poets, the stargazers, the biologists, the anthropologists,” Anaïs Nin wrote in her diary in 1942.
Now, in a meditation on the limits of neuroscience, Richard Gunderman considers what that “something” might be when it comes to the transcendence music makes us feel.
Complement with the science of how music enchants the brain.
Mar 19 Reblogged
Shimmering DVD Display by Daniel Canogar
It was inevitable that the DVD would one day become archaic storage technology (think about telling your great-clonekids that instead of brain-to-brain lasers we used to have watch spinning discs that wouldn’t play properly if the wind changed direction), but even more inevitably that we’d find artistic uses for the approximately eleventy-eight trillion (according to a very scientific number I just made up) discs still lying about. Daniel created this contemplative shrine to rapidly aging information with the contents of each disc displayed back onto it, a meditative glimpse into the binary mind of entertainment. Check out the very cool video of the installation in action below:
Mar 08 Reblogged
Piano notes made visible for the first time
Music is beautiful isn’t it? The team at CymaScope visualized the dynamic sounds of the piano’s first strike and the eventual plateau and decay phase of different notes. You can listen to the sounds here and watch as the geometric shapes come to life.
Cymascope - Sound Made Visible
Did you see my post about piano notes as visualized via the Cymascope last week? Now with hypnotic animations!
I love when our senses combine to illuminate something that would otherwise be invisible, or worse, ignored. A reminder of the limitations of our senses, and an artistic nod to synesthesia.
Follow that with another example of sound made visible: Beautiful Chladni lines.
Mar 08 Reblogged
The cochlea, pictured super-magnified, is a spiralling tunnel that leads deep inside our ear. It acts as a funnel, feeding sound from the outside world through a ‘lawn’ of sensory hair cells which line the organ of corti, highlighted here in red. As noise floods in, the sensory hairs wave around, opening up electrical channels that take speedy messages to the brain. Our auditory hair cells are intricate and fragile, making them prone to damage by diseases and infections. The World Health Organization (WHO), promoting today as International Day for Ear and Hearing, supports immunization schemes worldwide in efforts to prevent hearing loss. They also advise on safety for people with noisy jobs – after all, constant exposure to loud noises can rip out our sensitive ear hair cells. Such damage is irreparable; we are born with just 30,000 of these precious hairs and once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.
Written by John Ankers
Ahh, Golden spiral, nice of you to drop by again.
Feb 16 Reblogged
The Genius of J.S. Bach’s “Crab Canon” Visualized on a Möbius Strip
We know J.S. Bach was a genius composer. Certainly among the top two or three that have ever lived by most measures. Even knowing that, I was not prepared for the awesomeness you are about to see.
This is the first canon from Bach’s Musical Offering, known as the “crab canon”. The first level of awesome is when you find out that it was designed to be played backwards and forwards. But lots of people have done that … big deal, right?
Then you find out that it was written to be played backwards and forwards at the same time. That’s pretty amazing, but again, since it’s not that long I wouldn’t classify it as an Earth-shattering epiphany.
BUT THEN … graphic artist Jos Leys (who made the video), show how this Bach piece is basically the musical version of a Möbius strip.
(Read more at Open Culture)
Feb 09 Reblogged
Wired for Harmony?
Many creatures, such as human babies, chimpanzees, and chicks, react negatively to dissonance—harsh, unstable, grating sounds. Since the days of the ancient Greeks, scientists have wondered why the ear prefers harmony. Now, scientists suggest that the reason may go deeper than an aversion to the way clashing notes abrade auditory nerves; instead, it may lie in the very structure of the ear and brain, which are designed to respond to the elegantly spaced structure of a harmonious sound.
“Over the past century, researchers have tried to relate the perception of dissonance to the underlying acoustics of the signals,” says psychoacoustician Marion Cousineau of the University of Montreal in Canada. In a musical chord, for example, several notes combine to produce a sound wave containing all of the individual frequencies of each tone. Specifically, the wave contains the base, or “fundamental,” frequency for each note plus multiples of that frequency known as harmonics. Upon reaching the ear, these frequencies are carried by the auditory nerve to the brain. If the chord is harmonic, or “consonant,” the notes are spaced neatly enough so that the individual fibers of the auditory nerve carry specific frequencies to the brain. By perceiving both the parts and the harmonious whole, the brain responds to what scientists call harmonicity.
In a dissonant chord, however, some of the notes and their harmonics are so close together that two notes will stimulate the same set of auditory nerve fibers. This clash gives the sound a rough quality known as beating, in which the almost-equal frequencies interfere to create a warbling sound. Most researchers thought that phenomenon accounted for the unpleasantness of a dissonance.
Ludovico Einaudi - “Divenire” live at Royal Albert Hall
A little something to get you into the new year :-)
Dec 02 Reblogged
The songs of whales and dolphins can be beautiful to the ear. Now acoustics engineer Mark Fischer has created a way to make them visually pleasing too. What’s more, his technique captures more information about the sound than traditional ways of visualising whalesong.
Nov 10 Reblogged
When I’m on stage or in the studio to interpret what I write, I empty completely my body of all the feelings and emotions in it, projecting outwards. It’s like physically bring the body to its limit. My voice at that point is no longer just immense pain or pleasure but a mixture of these two elements. It’s something overwhelming. And I like it. When my voice gets angry, it is a way to remind myself that life is short and that every moment should be used, and all that can be done should be done when you have the chance.