World Music Quiz Experiment

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lennygoran
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World Music Quiz Experiment

Post by lennygoran » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:06 am

A friend sent me this article and link. Regards, Len

Researchers who analysed hundreds of cultures say they have evidence that music is a kind of universal language. Not only does it exist everywhere — it also appears to have an underlying structure that carries meaning between the most distant societies.

They found that songs that serve particular purposes such as love songs or lullabies, share similar features and should therefore transcend cultural boundaries. A lullaby composed in the Scottish Highlands will soothe an infant of the Q’ero Quechua people of the Andes and Samoan love songs will be recognised as romantic by the Blackfoot Indians of North America.

Songs from 60 cultures were scored on how rousing they were, how religious-sounding they were and whether they sounded more ceremonial or intimate. No matter which culture they came from, songs of certain types had similar scores. Dance songs are highly rousing, highly ceremonial and low on religiosity wherever you are. Love songs are intimate, not very rousing and low on religiosity.

The study, published yesterday in the journal Science, suggests that songs are a “product of underlying psychological faculties that make certain kinds of sound feel appropriate to certain social and emotional circumstances”.

In one experiment, participants in 60 countries listened to excerpts of songs. They then said what purpose they thought each song was used for such as soothing a baby, healing an illness or expressing love. They usually gave the correct answers.

The principle of tonality, where melodies are built from a small set of related notes, built upon a base tonic or “home” pitch, appeared to exist universally. Manvir Singh, a co-author of the study, said: “Tonality is often assumed to be an invention of western music but our data raises the controversial possibility that this could be a universal feature of music.”

The Harvard researchers behind the study have also gathered data by running an online quiz. It tests whether people are able to tell the purpose of traditional songs. You can take part here: https://www.themusiclab.org/quizzes/fc


World Music Quiz

This experiment is being conducted by researchers at Harvard University. Before you decide to participate, please read the following information.

We study how the mind works. Specifically, in this research we are investigating how people make sense of music they hear. We will play you some sounds. You can use speakers or headphones. We will ask you questions about what you hear. The experiment takes less than 10 minutes.

We will ask you to answer questions concerning your emotions and behaviors, your preferences and beliefs about music and the arts, your engagement with musical activities, your personal history of musical exposure and training, and some demographic information about you and your family. We will also ask you to look at pictures or words and respond to them. This helps us to understand a bit more about how you are feeling. For example, you might feel especially happy or sad while playing our games, and this task helps us to measure how happy or sad you feel.

This research has no known risks or anticipated direct benefits. You will not receive compensation for participating in this experiment. Your participation in this research is completely voluntary. You can end your participation at any time without penalty.

Your participation is completely anonymous. Your responses will be stored securely on a server at Harvard University under password protection. Your experiment data may be shared with other researchers. The results and data from this experiment will be shared with the public. After the experiment, we will explain several ways to be informed about the research. If you have questions or problems, you can contact us at musiclab+tml@g.harvard.edu. By proceeding, you agree to participate in this experiment.

John F
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Re: World Music Quiz Experiment

Post by John F » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:35 am

songs are a “product of underlying psychological faculties that make certain kinds of sound feel appropriate to certain social and emotional circumstances”.
I expect many would agree with this; I do. However, it's a long way from there to the supposition that "music is a kind of universal language" in any sense that adequately defines language. The researchers hedge with "kind of" and well they might.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: World Music Quiz Experiment

Post by maestrob » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:14 am

Very interesting, Len. I haven't watched them in a long time, but IIRC Leonard Bernstein's Harvard lecture series touches on the subject in very interesting ways, while it's not the main point of his essays.

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lennygoran
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Re: World Music Quiz Experiment

Post by lennygoran » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:58 am

maestrob wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:14 am
Very interesting, Len. I haven't watched them in a long time, but IIRC Leonard Bernstein's Harvard lecture series touches on the subject in very interesting ways, while it's not the main point of his essays.
Brian it seems they are available on youtube! Regards, Len

https://www.google.com/search?q=the+una ... 69&bih=894

maestrob
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Re: World Music Quiz Experiment

Post by maestrob » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:12 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:58 am
maestrob wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:14 am
Very interesting, Len. I haven't watched them in a long time, but IIRC Leonard Bernstein's Harvard lecture series touches on the subject in very interesting ways, while it's not the main point of his essays.
Brian it seems they are available on youtube! Regards, Len

https://www.google.com/search?q=the+una ... 69&bih=894
If you haven't seen them, well, they're fascinating. Enjoy!

absinthe
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Re: World Music Quiz Experiment

Post by absinthe » Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:15 pm

I seem to remember we had discussions about musical semiotics in the past. I'm not in a position to cast judgement on whether it's worthwhile. To me it ties in with neurophysiology.

lennygoran
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: World Music Quiz Experiment

Post by lennygoran » Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:25 am

absinthe wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:15 pm
I seem to remember we had discussions about musical semiotics in the past. I'm not in a position to cast judgement on whether it's worthwhile. To me it ties in with neurophysiology.
I took the quiz and didn't do too well-I wonder if they gave people enough choices-seems to me you had to say you either liked alot or a little each musical clip or you did not like them a little or alot. For me there just were alot I was neutral on-anyway here's the results for me. Regards, Len

You listened to 8 songs. Of those you guessed 2 correctly!

You did as well as or better than 24% of people. Your average speed was 4.3 seconds.

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