You know this sounds good

Added: Leron Swider - Date: 17.02.2022 11:19 - Views: 15333 - Clicks: 4724

Your taste in music is weird. And maybe, just maybe , nobody understands your all-consuming obsession with Steely Dan, the greatest band of all time. Unraveling why that is could explain something basic about how humans perceive the world. Maybe people are just wired that way. Yes, this is a nature versus nurture debate. Scientists trace it back to Pythagoras, who theorized about musical intervals in the first place.

Over the years, the heavyweights of science and philosophy have chimed in—Galileo, Kepler, Descartes. Or maybe dissonant chords sound dissonant because of something called roughness: If you were to simultaneously play two notes right next to each other on a piano—a C and a C-sharp, say—their sound waves would clash in a jarring, unpleasant way. Composers and ethnomusicologists have pushed back on those physical explanations, though. Maybe people prefer those consonant thirds and fifths because so much of Western music is built on them. But only testing Westerners makes it hard to distinguish whether the preference is innate or cultural.

To get to the villages, McDermott had to fly to La Paz, Bolivia, take a small plane into a town at the foot of the Andes, truck down dirt ro, and finally canoe for several days. Then he played the Tsimane recordings of various chords minor seconds, major thirds, tritones and presented a rating scale. They found consonant chords just as enjoyable as dissonant ones. He also tested them to see how they felt about roughness, and found that they disliked it.

For good measure, he asked them whether they preferred recordings of laughter over gasps to see if they understood the instructions. They did. Other neuroscientists, though, think that all this talk of nature or nurture props up a false dichotomy. So culture plays a role, yes. But Fitch and other scientists point to a raft of evidence that show that a preference for consonance is innate. Babies, for example, stare longer at speakers playing consonant music than dissonant.

Or, even more fundamentally, animal studies! Fitch points to experiments that show certain species of bird prefer to sing at consonant intervals , or that baby chicks were more likely to imprint on objects making consonant sounds. And Robert Zatorre , a researcher at the Montreal Neurological Institute, notes that the neurons of macaques responded differently to dissonant chords in a column responding to the paper.

But many of them also agreed that you can have it both ways. Instead, learning and experience ultimately determine what preferences actually play out. Which means no matter what, you can still blame your inexplicable love for '70s dad-rock on your parentstheir genes and their playlists.

Topics Music Neuroscience.

You know this sounds good

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