Culture, not biology, decides the difference between music and noise. “Consonance seems like such a simple phenomenon, and in Western music there’s strong supposition that it’s biological... But this study suggests culture is more important than many people acknowledge.” Study originally published in Nature.
What do Singing in the Rain, Live Is Life, Don't Worry, Be Happy, I Will Survive and Ça fait rire les oiseaux have in common? In a study, French-speaking Internet users identified these five pop songs out of 100, as the most pernicious earworms. Here are their top 25 picks from BRAMS, including audio clips. [more inside]
Ethnography of Rock Band Bar Night. The Rock Band video game (and the similar Guitar Hero) are more than video games where players try to earn points and some are exploring the deeper meaning of such games. [more inside]
Blender, meet science: The Pain, the Pain: Modelling Music Information Behavior and the Songs We Hate [link to 454Kb PDF]. The paper, presented at ISMIR 2005, offers "a grounded theory analysis of 395 user responses to the survey question 'What is the worst song ever?'"
The Musical Listening test is harder than it sounds, no pun intended. Hosted at the University of Newcastle at Tyne, it is a study of musical perception in the general population. Listen to two short melodic phrases and decide if they are the same or different.