Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Creativity is important—without it, human society cannot survive—yet finding an appropriate method to quantify imagination has scientists stumped

NEW YORK — While jazz musician Vijay Iyer played a piece on the piano, he wore an expression of intense concentration. Afterward, everyone wanted to know: What was going on in his head? The way this music is often taught, “they tell you, you must not be thinking when you are playing,” Iyer said after finishing his performance of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” a piece that requires improvisation. “I think that is an impoverished view of what thought is. … Thought is distributed through all of our actions.” Iyer’s performance opened a panel discussion on music and the mind at the New York Academy of Sciences on Wednesday (Dec. 13). Music elicits “a splash” of activity in many parts of the brain, said panelist Jamshed Bharucha, a neuroscientist and musician, after moderator Steve Paulson of the public radio program “To the Best of Our Knowledge” asked about the brain’s response to music. “I think you are asking a question we can only scratch the surface of in terms of what goes on in the brain,” Bharucha said. [Why Music Moves Us]

Music’s Effects on the Mind Remain Mysterious: Scientific American

Posted: December 2, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Research by MIT’s Markus Buehler — together with David Kaplan of Tufts University and Joyce Wong of Boston University — has synthesized new variants on silk’s natural structure, and found a method for making further improvements in the synthetic material. The work stems from a collaboration of civil and environmental engineers, mathematicians, biomedical engineers and musical composers. The results are reported in a paper published in the journal Nano Today. “We’re trying to approach making materials in a different way,” Buehler explains, “starting from the building blocks” — in this case, the protein molecules that form the structure of silk. “It’s very hard to do this; proteins are very complex.” Other groups have tried to construct such protein-based fibers using a trial-and-error approach, Buehler says. But this team has approached the problem systematically, starting with computer modeling of the underlying structures that give the natural silk its unusual combination of strength, flexibility and stretchiness. Pound for pound, spider silk is one of the strongest materials known: has helped explain that this strength arises from silk’s unusual hierarchical arrangement of protein building blocks. Buehler’s previous research has determined that fibers with a particular structure — highly ordered, layered protein structures alternating with densely packed, tangled clumps of proteins (ABABAB) — help to give silk its exceptional properties. For this initial attempt at synthesizing a new material, the team chose to look instead at patterns in which one of the structures occurred in triplets (AAAB and BBBA). Making such structures is no simple task. Kaplan, a chemical and biomedical engineer, modified silk-producing genes to produce these new sequences of proteins. Then Wong, a bioengineer and materials scientist, created a microfluidic device that mimicked the spider’s silk-spinning organ, which is called a spinneret. (via The music of the silks | KurzweilAI)

Posted: December 2, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Currently listening to this amazing release by

Die Kammer – »The Orphanage (Early Adoptions Epilogue)«


Vocals: Marcus Testory
Guitar: Matthias Ambré
Drums: Oliver Himmighoffen
Tuba: Dirk Klinkhammer
Violin: Matthias Raue
Cello: Tabea Müller

Narrator: Matthias Keller
Animation: Ingo Römling
Camera: Thomas Klieber
Mix, Master: Vincent Sorg/ Principal Studios

Text & Music: Matthias Ambré

(by Sophie Kammer)

Posted: November 27, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Piano-Playing Swarm Robots

A swarm of robots (Khepera III) is presented with a musical score (Beethoven’s Fur Elise) in the form of spatio-temporal requests, i.e. spatial locations that must be reached at specific times (similar to a piano score that requires hitting different piano keys at specific times). By solving the corresponding spatio-temporal routing problem, the smallest possible robot team is deployed in order to effectively “play” the musical score, while minimizing the total distance travelled 🙂

(by GRITSlab)

Posted: November 27, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Happy 70th birthday Jimi Hendrix – life in pictures Hendrix’s on-stage theatrics rarely overshadowed his immeasurable talent but it can’t be denied that Jimi Hendrix was as much showman as he was musician. (via Hendrix’s on-stage theatrics rarely overshadowed his immeasurable talent bu – The Independent)

Posted: November 22, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Fantastic Trailer for Bish Bosch, the forthcoming album from Scott Walker, to be released 4th December 2012-Scott Walker – Bish Bosch (Album Trailer) (by 4ADRecords)

Posted: October 11, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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US researchers say that mice may have the ability to learn songs based on the sounds they hear. They found that when male mice were housed together they learned to match the pitch of their songs to each other. Mice also share some behavioural and brain mechanisms involved in vocal learning with songbirds and humans, say the researchers. But some scientists are sceptical, saying the evidence doesn’t support the claim. Details of the study are published in the Journal, Plos One. Previous research in this field has shown that male mice can sing complex songs when exposed to females and these play an important part in courtship. These murine serenades are ultrasonic. At between 50 and 100KHz, they are far above the hearing range of humans. When processed to make them audible to humans, they sound like a series of plaintive whistles. (via BBC News – Mice learn songs in similar way to humans and birds)

Posted: September 13, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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When children learn to play a musical instrument, they strengthen a range of auditory skills. Recent studies suggest that these benefits extend all through life, at least for those who continue to be engaged with music. But a study published last month is the first to show that music lessons in childhood may lead to changes in the brain that persist years after the lessons stop. Researchers at Northwestern University recorded the auditory brainstem responses of college students — that is to say, their electrical brain waves — in response to complex sounds. The group of students who reported musical training in childhood had more robust responses — their brains were better able to pick out essential elements, like pitch, in the complex sounds when they were tested. And this was true even if the lessons had ended years ago. Indeed, scientists are puzzling out the connections between musical training in childhood and language-based learning — for instance, reading. Learning to play an instrument may confer some unexpected benefits, recent studies suggest. (via Brain Waves Stay Tuned to Early Lessons –

Posted: July 29, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Iamus, classical music’s computer composer, live from Malaga

The first music composed by computer considered good enough for top-class musicians to play is to be performed to mark the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth

As soon as you see the title of Iamus’s composition Transits – Into an Abyss, you know it’s going to be challenging, modernist stuff. The strings pile up discords, first spooky, now ominous. But if your tastes run to Bartók, Ligeti and Penderecki, you may like it. At least you have to admit this bloke knows what he’s doing. But this bloke doesn’t know anything at all. Iamus is a computer program. Until the London Symphony Orchestra was handed the score, no human had intervened in preparing the music. “When we tell people that, they think it’s a trick,” says Francisco Vico, leader of the team at the University of Malaga who devised Iamus. “Some say they simply don’t believe us. Others say it’s just creepy.” He expects that when Iamus’s debut CD is released in September, performed by top-shelf musicians including the LSO, it is going to disturb a lot of folk. (via Iamus, classical music’s computer composer, live from Malaga | Music |

Posted: July 29, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Fantastic opening music 2012 Olympics

And I Will Kiss – Underworld (Industrial Revolution Olympics Opening Ceremony London 2012)) (by Marnikle)

Posted: June 29, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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If critical periods aren’t quite so firm as people once believed, a world of possibility emerges for the many adults who harbor secret dreams — whether to learn a language, to become a pastry chef, or to pilot a small plane. And quests like these, no matter how quixotic they may seem, and whether they succeed in the end or not, could bring unanticipated benefits, not just for their ultimate goals but of the journey itself. Exercising our brains helps maintain them, by preserving plasticity (the capacity of the nervous system to learn new thing), warding off degeneration, and literally keeping the blood flowing. Beyond the potential benefits for our brains, there are benefits for our emotional well-being, too. There may be no better way to achieve lasting happiness — as opposed to mere fleeting pleasure — than pursuing a goal that helps us broaden our horizons.“

But what makes Guitar Zero exceptional isn’t simply that it simultaneously calls into question the myth of the music instinct and confronts the idea that talent is merely a myth — at its heart is a much bigger question about the boundaries of our capacity for transformation and, ultimately, the mechanics of fulfillment and purpose.

Guitar Zero: A Neuroscientist Debunks the Myth of “Music Instinct” | Brain Pickings

Posted: June 19, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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You might think that creating the perfect piece of music – whether it’s a classical great, jazz masterpiece or pop hit – is all down to the composer’s talent, flair or even genius. Not so, according to Armand Leroi from Imperial College London. “What we are trying to find out is whether you need a composer to make music,” says the professor of evolutionary developmental biology. “And we don’t think you do.” He believes a much more fundamental force of nature is at work. “We don’t often think of music as evolving, but everybody knows it has a history and it has traditions. But if you think about it, it really has evolved, it is changing continuously,” Prof Leroi explains.

BBC News – Music evolution: Is this the end of the composer?

Posted: May 31, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Fantastic music Video from:

Woodkid – Run Boy Run (Official Video HD) (by WOODKID)

Posted: May 24, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Jazz Shapes the Brain

As does classical music and rock/pop music. We are talking about the complex capacity of producing music, doing it yourself. As one of the most specialized skills that the human organism is able to acquire, it can have big influence on the so-called brain plasticity (a characteristic of the brain structure which can change as a result of experience). Numerous scientists already investigated the musical cognitive skills of musicians versus non-musicians, by looking at the brain structure and function and their results did indeed show differences in the auditory and motor systems. But science always treated musicians as a unified group. Now, the neuroscientists Vuust et al. wanted to know if different genres of music shape the musicians’ brains in different ways. So they did a survey with 11 non-musicians, 7 classical musicians, 10 jazz musicians and 14 rock musicians. The main task for all the participants was to watch a silent movie. Thereby, more or less passively, they heard the auditory stimuli (the Alberti Bass – a simple base line used in all three genres). Within the repetitive stimuli the third note was always slightly changed regarding pitch, timbre, location of sound source, intensity and rhythm. During the experiment, the musical discrimination skills were measured by EEG – significant reactions of the brain whilst hearing a certain sound feature implied a high sensibility towards it. The results confirm Vuust’s assumptions: different kinds of music training are able to challenge different brain functions and influence them for the long run. (via Jazz Shapes the Brain | UA Magazine)

Posted: May 19, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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The Listening Machine converts 500 people’s tweets into music Composer Peter Gregson turns the words of hundreds into music. (via The Listening Machine converts 500 people’s tweets into music | Ars Technica)