Have you listened to music in the last day or two? Why did you? What is the point of music? Clearly it has power over us. Music can make us run faster, learn better, buy more, even recover from surgery sooner. Music can move us to new spiritual heights or steel our hearts for battle. Music seems to be a human universal. So why do people from different cultures experience the same music differently?

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    TRBQ Podcast #12 — I, Musician

    Troy Rogers

    On the altar of a former cathedral in Duluth, Minn., an ensemble of musicians begins to play.

    Their notes are piercing and sometimes dissonant. It’s not your typical cathedral music—but then again, these aren’t your typical musicians.

    They’re robots.
    (more…)

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    TRBQ Podcast #7 — Chills and the Sons of Thunder

    Horns

    TRBQ paid a visit to the United House of Prayer for All People in Harlem to spend some time with a gospel brass band called the McCullough Sons of Thunder. And we talked with some neuroscientists who study our perceptions of music.

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    Sons of Thunder

    Pay a visit to the McCullough Sons Thunder at the United House of Prayer for All People in Harlem, and hear from neuroscientist Ani Patel of Tufts.

    A video from TRBQ producer Flora Lichtman.

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    TRBQ Podcast #6 — Steven Pinker on music

    Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker says our affection for music is tied to our use of language. (Photo: Flora Lichtman)

    Pinning down a definition of music is harder than it sounds.

    A song composed by a human easily fits into the category of music. But what about a song composed by a bird? Or the rumble of a freight train?

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    Goose bumps and the groove — neuroscientists explore music

    MUSIC_spot-dance2

    When Petr Janata tells people he does research into “groove,” he sometimes gets raised eyebrows.  

    “It generally conjures up associations of bad hair and bad clothes from the ’70s,” says Janata, a professor of psychology at UC Davis.
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    For the love of music

    Horns

    I stood in the entrance of the exhibition hall and looked out at the rows of people, extending as far as the eye could see, as they tried out the latest saxophones, trumpets, and cymbals. Amid the crush of bodies and discordant sounds I said to myself: “What the hell am I doing here? This is a terrible mistake.” I had died and gone to band nerd hell. (more…)