Friday, September 11, 2009

Random Thoughts on a Friday

Of Monkeys and Metallica

Every morning, I wake up to classical music on KUSC. Great station, not pretentious at all. And terrific hosts who know a lot about music and composers but don't make you self-conscious about your inability to remember the difference between 2/4 and 6/8 time.

I know, I know...I should know that, since I do teach with classical music every day but I just can't make it stick in my brain.

Anyway, during the news portion, as I lay in my bed thinking about my day ahead of me, I heard this story about monkeys and music. A study published in a British journal showed that when monkeys were played music by Nine Inch Nails, Metallica and Barber's Adagio For Strings, they were most calmed by Metallica. Otherwise, they had no interest in human music. The only other way monkeys appreciated music was when it was based on their own sounds. Songs based on monkey vocalizations that meant fear produced fear in the monkeys who were listening while others based on sounds that meant happiness produced happiness in them.

Here is a little more info about the study.

Fascinating. It also goes to show you that what we think of as a universal concept - that classical music is soothing to all species - is completely false so stop playing it at zoos for the animals! They don't like it! Another example of human narcissism.