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How Does Music Impact Society – New Harvard research suggests that people around the world can identify soft songs, dance songs, and soulful songs — regardless of the songs’ cultural origins — after hearing a 14-second clip.
Poet and Harvard Professor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” A new Harvard study suggests he may have been right.
How Does Music Impact Society
The study, a collaboration between psychology research associate Samuel Mehr, evolutionary science graduate student Manvir Singh, alumni Luke Glowacki and Hunter York, and Associate Professor of Psychology Max Krasnow, found that people around the world can perceive soothing songs, dance songs, and therapy. songs – regardless of the songs’ cultural origins – after hearing a 14-second clip.
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The findings suggest that music does not only focus on human nature, but that some forms of music transcend cultural boundaries. The research is described in a January 25 paper in Current Biology.
“It seems like everyone makes music in one way or another,” Mehr said. “But there is no good evidence that the different types of music they make share characteristics across cultures. Another way to test this type of testing is the naive listener … and the results suggest that, in some cases, the answer is yes.”
The findings are based on an extensive study in which 750 online participants in 60 countries listened to short excerpts of songs collected from nearly 90 small communities around the world, including hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and subsistence farmers.
Participants then answered six questions, rating each clip on a six-point scale according to whether they believed the song was used for dancing, soothing a child, healing an illness, or expressing love. Two additional uses – mourning the dead and telling a story – were included as controls.
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A data science postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Data Science Initiative, Mehr said the data shows that — despite the participants’ cultural unfamiliarity, the random sampling of each song, and the short duration of the samples — people were able to sing the songs reliably. ‘ jobs, and their rates were consistent throughout the world.
Mehr, Glowacki and Krasnow also surveyed academics — including ethnomusicologists, musicologists, performers, composers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists — about whether they believed people would be able to identify song types.
“We gave them a fair version of the test we did,” Mehr said. “Imagine that you have unlimited time and resources, and the ability to record every song that has ever been sung in every culture, and you can take those and play them to people all over the world.
“The question we asked was, if we played those recordings for people, would they be able to say … is this a lullaby or is this a dance song?” he continued. “Especially among ethnomusicologists, the answer was no. And not only that, but they predict that people’s answers will be inconsistent with each other. That’s not what we got.”
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Singh also wanted to know if listeners were noticing certain non-musical aspects of the songs – soft songs are often sung by a single woman, for example, while dance songs often involve a group.
“The question was, if people can do this, how on earth do they do it?” Singh said. “How did a young man from Tallahassee see a dance song from a predatory tribe in Southeast Asia that we know nothing about?”
To test that, the team conducted a second study. This time, they asked listeners about many contextual and musical aspects, from the number and gender of the singers to the tempo and pitch of the song.
“In all of these, we get a simple and unusual analysis of each song,” Mehr said. “It turns out that if you ask people these simple questions about songs, they agree a lot. Even in really agreeable aspects of music, like the difficulty of music, they tend to make similar measurements to each other.
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When the data from the two studies were combined, the results showed that the songs of the same activity shared similar characteristics – soft songs, for example, tend to be slower and easier to sing than dance songs – suggesting that something about musical characteristics transcends cultural boundaries.
“It seems like everyone makes music in one way or another. But there is no good evidence that the different types of music they make share characteristics across cultures. Another way to test this type of testing is the naive listener … and the results suggest that, in some cases, the answer is yes.”
Mehr said the researchers were able to reach their far-reaching conclusions because the songs used in the study were taken from the discography of the Natural History of Song, a Harvard-based project that is building a robust database of ethnographic literature on music and sound recordings. of music.
“We brought together all the musical examples in a systematic way, so that the ideas taken from the whole discography can be applied to people as opposed to studied cultures,” said Mehr, who directs the project with Singh and Glowacki, now a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. “This has been a problem in music research in general. Studies that have been classified as international studies in music have often included only a few cultures, or have not sampled musical genres in a systematic way.”
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Moving forward, the team hopes to conduct an in-depth analysis of the music collected in the Natural History of Song, and conduct additional studies to develop hypotheses about music’s ability to transcend cultural boundaries.
“One of the weaknesses of this study is that the audience we’re sampling from is people who are online, so they all have access to things like YouTube, and they’re probably all familiar with Taylor Swift,” Mehr said. “Do the results tell us about the way the human mind is designed, or do they tell us about what today’s listeners hear in country music?”
To address that, the team is working to translate the course into more than a dozen languages and conduct online tests in many, many countries. Singh and Glowacki are also working to bring this research to the field by playing excerpts of songs for members of minority communities in Indonesia, Ethiopia and elsewhere.
“That’s the fun part,” Mehr said. “Because these are people who have never had internet or radio or Western culture. The only music they know is their own music. We will find out if they have the same ideas of form and function in music as our English-speaking internet users.”
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Ultimately, Mehr said, this research and others like it will enable scientists to build a foundation to answer many long-standing questions about music and its evolution.
“That’s one of the most important contributions we’d like to make in the field,” he said. “This kind of discovery of basic, cross-cultural facts about human behavior is the first step in developing a new science of music.”
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“Music is healing. Music moves people. It connects people in ways that no other medium can. It tugs at the heartstrings. It works like medicine.” – Macklemore1. It’s like a time capsule
What Kind Of Impact Does Our Music Really Make On Society
There is nothing like a song to capture what was traditionally happening at the time, and like a time capsule, it is captured forever. Slang and language usage are indicative of the times, and you can probably remember exactly when a song was made based on what it says.
The mention of current fashion trends, technology, popular foods and celebrities are some of the most talked about, and they make important parts of our culture forever that can be forgotten.
Would we ever think of Apple Bottom Jeans again without Flo Rida, or green suede shoes without Elvis? Maybe not, but we can thank music for reminding us of ancient cultural practices.
One of the first connections we give and receive in life is through music. Mothers play music and sing to their babies in the womb. Many parents sing to their child from an early age for a reason, as singing is an important part of language learning.
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How do you think we learned the alphabet – one of the first and most important skills developed as a child? If you have taken another language, you may have learned important words and phrases from the song as well. Music provides a form of entertainment