Neuroscientists Explore How People Synchronize Their Actions to Sounds

Neuroscientists recently conducted a study to explore and find out why many people can synchronize their actions and movements to sounds, while some cannot. The study sheds light on why not everyone can dance to the beat of the music; or why team functions in competitive kayaking include drummers onboard.

Neuroscience researchers from McGill University led by Professor Caroline Palmer of the Department of Psychology, conducted a study to find out how auditory perception and motor processes work hand in hand to create synchronized responses. The report was recently published by the McGill University research team in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

McGill Study Discovered Neural Markers Enabling Synchronization

According to Professor Palmer, they were able to recognize neural markers among musically inclined people in relation to beat recognition. While at first they presumed that said markers would relate to the musician’s ability to hear or create a beat, they discovered that the markers were linked with the musicians ability to synchronize their actions with the beat.

While conducting the study, Professor Palmer hypothesized that some individuals are possibly better musicians than others, because they listen differently to music or because their body responds differently to music. To support the results of their study with evidence, the research team used electroencephalography or EEGs. This denotes that electrodes were placed on the scalp of different musicians as a means of measuring their respective brain activities.

The study uncovered the relationship between the vibrations of the brain rhythms and the pulsing beat of musical rhythms, to which the auditory rhythm serves as the link or connection. Study co-authors Brian Mathias and Anna Zamm, commented that based on what was reflected on the EEGs, they unexpectedly discovered that even professional musicians sometimes manifest decreased ability to sync with complicated rhythms.

While most musicians are usually good at synchronizing with the tempo, the EEG signals were able to differentiate who are “good”, “better”, or even who can be called “super-synchronizers” Still, Professor Palmer said that it is yet to be proven if anyone can become a super-synchronizer, although it is highly feasible that people can get better at synchronizing actions or movements with beats.

 

After all, only 2-3% of the population are known to be beat-deaf, and for that matter, becoming a good drummer still depends on innate talent combined with lots of hard work. Practice as they say “makes perfect” and it remains as the most recommended approach to improving one’s skill at synchronization.

Revisiting Studies Confirming the Positive Effects of Music in Horses

Studies conducted years ago about music and its effect on horses have been validated as an effective way of relieving stress and anxiety in race horses.

The most recent research update was published by Dr. Krishna Martinson, Equine Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor in Animal Science at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Martinson’s update delved on the study conducted by Polish researchers in 2015, which sought to investigate the practice of playing music in barns as a way of relieving stress and anxiety in race horses. Many horse owners now believe that music has a calming effect and can improve the emotional state of the animals; particularly in relation to feelings of aggression which race horses demonstrate when demanding increased cardiac activity and need for speed.

Based on the findings of the Polish researchers, Dr. Martinson opined that music should be considered as a method of helping race horses calm down, and for eliciting better responses to performance demands usually coming from race horse trainers. Dr. Martinson wrote that like humans, horses also respond to stress in different ways. Just like athletes, race horses likewise experience the positive benefits of staying in a relaxing and stress-free environment.

Academic Researchers Study the Types of Music that Have Calming Effects on Horses

Also in 2015, a separate but related study was performed by UK researchers from Hartpury College for the Centre for Performance in Equestrian Sports. The goal was to determine which music genre, Country, Classical Jazz or Rock, had the most effect on horse behavior during active and alert conditions.

The Hartpury researchers’ study involved 8 thoroughbreds ranging in ages between 8 to 10 years old. The animals were placed in stables without any humans present for 3 straight hours prior to the commencement of the music test. Presumably, to influence the emotional state of the thoroughbreds once the test was underway.

The results of the study showed that there was no statistically significant link to Country and Classical music in control environments, either in alert or relaxed state of behavior.

Nonetheless the slow tempo of Country and Classical music, appeared to have put the thoroughbreds in a more relaxed state during the test period. As opposed to Jazz and Rock music, the horses demonstrated frequency in alert behaviors. The lively tempo of Rock had the most aversive effect as it often caused frequency in alert behaviors in the animals.

In relation to Horse Racing News: Horse News, Horse Industry, News | Past the Wire has noted that the recent number of horse deaths linked to horse races, particularly in Santa Anita Park, have raised concerns of animal activists belonging to a group called Horseracing Wrong . Although it is widely believed that the group’s call for the abolition of horse racing would not draw much support, it does not take away the fact that annually, quite a number of race horses die due to injuries suffered while at the hands of trainers.

This is to suggest that horse owners and racetrack operators as well as racing regulators should also devote attention to the methods and practices used by trainers, before putting the animals under great strain when preparing for racing events.

The Anthems of U.S. Anti-Racism Protests

As the Black Lives Matter protests continue not only in the U.S. but in countries as well, creative chants and singing have kept kindred spirits united. According to Mark Anthony Neal, the Head of Duke University’s Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University,

”Protest movements look for anthems, particularly those that are sustained over a long period of time.”

Although top musicians have recently come out with anti-racist themed songs as show of support for the ongoing BLM demonstrations, rapper YG’s “F–ck the Police” (FTP) seemed to have made it as the official anthem of the movement. YG’s FTP lyrics convey the anger and frustration of the rallyists; including among white Americans who have taken their side in fighting against the systemic racism that has beset minorities for centuries.

To some though, YG’s FTP lyrics are too brazen as it does not take on the idea of tackling the issue of systemic racism with politeness: “Buy a Glock, break down the block;” — “let’s make ’em mad.” The concern here is that people spontaneously pour into streets daily, risking their lives to keep up the fight against brutal law enforcement actions, but without actually having a central figure acting as leader.

Yet the lack of a national leader could prove effective. Local BLM leaders have less difficulty in keeping the protest actions in their respective communities peaceful and protected against agitators.

Other FTP Anthems Revived by BLM Protesters

The FTP acronym also stands for two older protest movement songs.

One is “Fight the Power,” a classic soul written Ernie Isley and recorded by The Isley Brothers in 1975. It is more about keeping up the fight despite the forces and the pain.

The second Fight the Power protest song is by hip hop group Public Enemy, a power song released by Motown Record in 1989. The group was actually requested to compose a song for Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” comedy-drama movie about racism, which was released in the same year.

However, the FTP version featured in Public Enemy’s 1990 studio album “Fear of a Black Planet,” was different in which lyrics center on how other members of the black community have for years, been trying to stay as uncomplaining as they can over issues of racial injustices.

”Yet our best trained, best educated, best equipped, best prepared troops refuse to fight”… “As a matter of fact, it’s safe to say that they would rather switch than fight”

Nonetheless, Public Enemy recently reemerged with a new single tiled as “State of the Union” (STFU), featuring GJ Lord and hypeman Flavor Flav. The STFU music video includes the footage showing how D.Chauvin of the Minneapolis force killed George Floyd in broad daylight and in front of many people.

Coachella Event Faces Calls for Shut Down

A growing petition for cancellation of the 2020 Coachella Festival is casting uncertainty over the holding of one of California’s major events.

The petition, started by one Stella Young, appeared at change.org last Tuesday, and quickly received more than 4,000 signatures by Friday morning. As of Monday, March 09, 2020, the number of signatures signifying support for cancellation is already in the 13,000 mark.

In raising concerns that the Covid-19 outbreak has already hit California, Ms. Young’s call cited not only the extreme danger of attending a large music festival in which participants come from all over the world. Ms Young wrote:

“We are responsible to protect each and every community member, including the elderly, the fragile, or those who suffer from chronic diseases, immune system diseases, cancer, and other forms of disabilities.” “Their lives should not be down-played nor risked, since they have a higher chance of catching COVID-19.”

A Riverdale County Resident Returning from a Diamond Princess Cruise Tested as Covid-19 Positive

The Coachella Music Festival is slated to take place in April 11-13 and 17-19, 2020, but fears over coronavirus infection heightened as there are now 53 confirmed cases in California.

The tension rose further after reports came out that one of the passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship recently held at bay, is a Riverside Country resident. The resident, who is said to be confined at a North California medical facility has tested positive of the Covid-19 disease. Currently, the Riverdale County public health department has not reported any case that would indicate the virus has been transmitted locally.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s Health Officer said that they stand ready to make decisions in relation to the risks presented by the Coachella Festival to the public, However, Dr. Kaiser said he is not inclined to take a decision to cancel lightly, saying

“We would rather work with the organizers rather than impose cancellation on them.”

Coachella 2020 Plans Still Moving Forward

So far, there are no indications that a cancellation or a postponement is being considered by the festival promoter Goldenvoice or by parent company AEG. As it is, tickets to the festival have already been sold out, which gives rise to expectations that about 125,000 Coacehlla fans per day will attend the annual celebration. Tents are now being set up at the Empire Polo Club, in Coachella Valley at Riverdale County.

A national festival executive, not directly connected to the Coachella festival, aired his piece but spoke on conditions of anonymity. He said that unless the order to shut down comes from the government, plans for this year’s Coachella festival will still move forward.

Apparently, economic reasons are holding back Riverside County authorities from ordering the cancellation. Recent studies disclosed that the city of Indio, realizes as much as $3 million in revenues from the Coachella ticket sales alone. The report also states that tourism in the Greater Palm Springs area is a $7-billion industry, to which the Coachella Music Festival supports one (1) out of every four (4) jobs.

Nonetheless, Dr. Kaiser assures the public that if ever the coronavirus situation gets worse, they will arrive at a decision to cancel with as much lead time as possible to keep all Riverside County residents and festival attendants safe. At the same time, he also acknowledged that the Coachella Festival is a vital component of the region’s economy.

He added that measure must be taken to  ensure that if ever a cancellation is decided for this year, the annual event will still be able to take place in the coming years.

Scala Radio Study Finds Out Reasons Why Most Britons Listen to Music in the Workplace

A new study delving on why majority of employees in the UK listen to music while working, revealed different reasons. Commissioned by Scala Radio, the study conducted a survey on 2000 employees under different conditions, in a workplace environment or at home. The study also explored the types of music that British workers listened to in relation to their reasons.

More than half of the respondents to the survey said listening to music while working make them feel less stressed. Over a third of the 2,000 who responded to the polls also claimed that they get to accomplish more as they are motivated to work harder.

The Scala Radio study also revealed that more than a third listen to music while working, simply to block the noise produced by their co-workers. A tenth, of the workers polled, said they just wanted to avoid the sound of silence pervading in their work environment.

The Psychology Behind Listening to Music While Working

Dr Becky Spelman, a London-based professional psychologist attest that

“Truly, music has a powerful effect on the human brain, as it impacts not only mood but also physical and mental performance.

She added that many people say listening to specific types of instrumental music help them improve their productivity levels. Music to some, function as a form of white noise, allowing them to cancel ambient sound that can be potentially distracting.

If for purposes of stress relief, Dr. Spelman explained that music that carries on with a soothing, regular beat, can actually help listeners to stay calm. Mainly because it slows down and moderates the heart and pulse rates. Focusing on the work at hand becomes easier, when music averts a “flight or fight mode” situation, a natural tendency that could elevate the adrenaline and cortisol produced by the body.

2016 Research Shows that Increase in Productivity Level Depends on the Type of Music and Work Environment

The Scala Radio study has relevance to a 2016 research conducted by Dr. Theresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor at the Miami University for music therapy program.

According to Dr. Lesiuk, although music can have positive effects when working, some genres of music can adversely affect productivity. She cited several previous studies that indicate how listening to popular music interferes with reading comprehension, making it hard for the human brain to process information.

Based on those studies, Dr.Lesiuk said that although music can produce a positive effect when working, the productivity effect depends on the type of music and the workplace situation.

“‘Rainbow of Colors” : Neil Young Calls for Global Unity in the Face of Climate Change Threats

Neil Young’s recently released single “‘Rainbow of Colors’ is a reflection of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s deep involvement in issues that currently beset the world. The new track is a included in Neil Young and his long-time backing band Crazy Horse’s forthcoming album “Colorado”, which is set for release on October 2019.

The Activist Singer-Songwriter Calls on the People to Unite vs. Climate Change

Young who has always been known as an activist musician, as he previously wrote songs expressing disapproval of America’s propensity to engage in wars. In fact, he once wrote a song titled “Let’s Impeach the President”, as his outright protest against former U.S. President George W. Bush, for leading the country into war.

In “‘Rainbow of Colors,’ Neil Young wants to remind everyone around the globe and not only in the U.S. that we are all connected. He aims to remind people that our planet is directly impacted by the effects of climate change; stressing that we must all act as one in order to survive the climate change crisis.

Young perceives that most of the world leaders are much too preoccupied with their political agenda, to not see how climate change has affected forests and trees. His “Rainbow of Colors” lyrics take a view that perhaps the occurrence of Climate Change serves as a unifying force that can stop us from turning against each other.

People of the world have been needing something to unify them for a long time, and in recognizing that we are all affected by climate change, we should focus more on helping our brothers and sisters.

“Colorado” the carrier album of Neil Young’s “‘Rainbow of Colors,’ is the first new album to be released after Young’s revival of the Crazy Horse band that last performed with him in the 2012 album “Psychedelic Pill.”

2019 Best Love Songs that Can Relate to Any Kind of Relationship

Love is real. It is compelling enough to connect people into entering a romantic relationship regardless of barriers.

Love songs can strengthen that bond, knowing you and your partner are not alone in experiencing the trials that so called odd-couples go through. They are just the same for romantic relationship involving opposite sexes, but sometimes more difficult if only a few understand the emotions and circumstances on which a different kind of love affair is founded.

Esquire whipped up a list of a dozen love songs that can touch the hearts of individuals engaged in any kind of relationship. We chose the top three, as they are excellent enough to serve as best examples of what love can be in any relationship.

“Just You and I” from Tom Walker

Cause my darling, you and I
Could take over the world
One step at a time
Just you and I (Just you and I)
‘Cause you’re the only one
Who brings light just like the sun
One step at a time
Just you and I

You can’t just give up on something just because of the bad times. Remember there is someone who has committed to stay by your side no matter what. That can very well be said of how you also intend to be toward your partner, when the situation gets reversed. “Just You and I” delivers the words of encouragements that two people need to hear when everything seems to go wrong.

Originally released as an accoustic music, Tom Walker’s new rendition is set to a good beat that can surely charge up a person’s resolve to overcome challenges and barriers.

‘The Bones” by Maren Morris

Maren Morris can really pack an album of powerful hits, even while singing a love song with bone rhetorics.

When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter
Yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter
Let it rain ’cause you and I remain the same
When there ain’t a crack in the foundation

Keep that foundation strong just like your bones, because all other things that appear on the surface can easily get damaged by fears and doubts. As Morris sings about relationships, regardles of the kind you are in, the foundation that built the partnership will allow the two of you to stand firm on solid ground.

“Cuz I Love You” from Lizzo

Listen to Lizzo, who is all out with powerful emotions, singing about the things she does and will do for that special someone she loves. Maybe that is too much for some, but maybe just what love is all about, especially if it is a new relationship that you would like to last longer if not forever.

I thought that I didn’t care
I thought I was love-impaired
But baby, baby
I don’t know what I’m gonna do
I’m crying ’cause I love you, oh
Yes, you

Music Theory : Early Stages in the Development of Music Theories

It is widely believed that music first took form in rhythmic patterns of claps, along with beats and taps, presumably with the use of sticks or stones. Then there was shamanism, and various forms of ethnic religions. Their rituals devised methods of producing sounds by creating drums and rattles, as means of communicating with summoned spirits. Yet as the series of chants and incantations were developed to invoke mystical powers, there were no written forms or notations in place, to use as teaching or learning guides.

As music forms advanced in ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations, several other musical instruments like sistras, lures, flutes, oboes, trumpets, harps and organs were invented. Archaeologists noted that during the 14th century BC in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, musical theory already existed by way of a heptatonic system. Heptatonic refers to a system of producing music using seven different pitches per octave.

Still, the development of classical music is attributed to the ancient Greek civilization, since the octave musical theory was formally established and developed in Greece in 600 BC.

Beginnings of Classical Music Transpired in Ancient Greece

There is strong evidence that classical music came about when renowned Greek mathematician Pythagoras, took to studying music as a science, to which he developed the octave as a foundation of music.

Although many scholars contend that the Mesopotamians and Egyptians were the first to produce music in different pitches, Pythagoras, thru his inquiries and observations made popular the notion that inherent ratios existed between pitches. He went on to establish the music theory that the length, size and or weight of a music-producing element was instrumental in creating a tone that is a pitch higher after a series of eight tones.

The scientific studies of music continued in Ancient Greece, with the likes of Pythagoras, Philodemus, Aristides and Aristoxenus contributing their musical theory about rhythm, harmonics and metre. Compilations of their musical theories went on to influence advancements in the development of music in ancient Rome, by the early Christian churches, and subsequently by medieval composers,