About 40,000 years ago, a slender bone flute was discarded in a cave in Central Europe. The instrument is carved with five finger holes and a tapered mouthpiece, dating back to the early days of human settlement on the African continent.
Humans have been creating music for a long time.
Even that flute may be a recent example of our musical development. Its ingenious design shows an understanding of acoustics and may have borrowed from long-standing musical customs. But the earlier practical experience is still unknown, because the first music was definitely created with the help of body and sound, and died with the death of the creator. Charles Darwin considers our musical behavior to be “one of the most mysterious.” At least in terms of origin, his views can still resonate.
One way to explore the musical talents of stone age flute players before they broke into the European continent is to study primitive human anatomy. The fossils show that our Australopithecus ancestors have a vocal structure similar to that of a gorilla, but the gorilla cannot sing. But the Heidelberg people, our last common ancestor with the Neanderthals, have a physiological function of vocalization very similar to modern people. Given that the people of Heidelberg have evolved at least 500,000 years ago, music may be 500,000 years old.
Of course, the ability to make music does not prove that music was actually created at that time. Is music important enough to drive evolution—providing a selective advantage for the most musically gifted? Or is it just an adjunct to other evolutionary results, like language?
Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard University, likened music to an “auditory cheesecake.” Music is something that humans learn to make and convey emotions, just like a cake is for the taste buds on the tongue. As the opposite, Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford University, believes that in primates, singing may be as important as grooming in fostering social cohesion. This “long-distance combing” may be more effective than catching lice, and may promote the harmonious coexistence of human groups.
Music will undoubtedly help strengthen today’s small circles, especially dominating the playlists of young people.
Celtic bugles are a very useful tool. They are weird in shape. Most of them resemble the heads of animals, such as wild boars, and some are animals in mythology. It is said that the sound of this instrument is extremely terrifying, and has a powerful magical power, which can make Celtic warriors fight against the enemy like a monster. In addition, the Celtic bugle also has an ingenious design. The throat of these horns can be moved. When the horn sounds, the animal’s head will also rotate, as if it were alive, thereby deterring the enemy.
Scottish archaeologists studied the most complete Celtic bugle excavated from the swamp in 1816, and wanted to actually hear its sound, so they commissioned metal craftsman John Creed to make one out of bronze and brass. replica. After 400 hours of meticulous work, the Celtics are proud of this musical instrument.
Musician John Kenny is now playing with a copy of the Celtic bugle found in Banff, Scotland. It has sufficient size and intricate design, including a hinged lower jaw and a wooden tongue on a spring, providing musical flexibility comparable to any modern instrument: covering a range of five octaves. The Celtic bugle can overwhelm the trombone or flute, and even give out special effects such as screams.
A lyrical dictionary
single tone of a certain pitch, also known as notes.
tone quality, issued in accordance with higher or lower frequency sound waves of the sound.
amplifying musical tone by interaction with the vibrating surface or a sound enclosure.
The volume of
the pressure vibration of sound, with the loudness of music to represent.
tempo music is upbeat and remake periodically, regularly repeated.
to achieve the effect of the music are arranged a series of individual tones, also called melody.
chord is usually caused by three or more musical tone according to certain rules longitudinal overlap to form a combination of sound, it is an integral part of the sound.
Harmony include “chord” and “harmonic progression,” horizontal organization is the chord harmonic progression. Harmony has obvious color effects of thick, light, thick, and thin.
use a small periodic tone, rational use of rapid modulation, vibrato can make the music more beautiful sounds, increase the appeal of art.
The evolution of popular music
Since August 4, 1958, “Billboard” magazine has compiled a weekly list of the 100 most popular songs based on record sales, radio broadcasts and recent streaming media listening volume. For Armand Leroy, an evolutionary biologist at Imperial College London, this ranking is equivalent to a fossil record of culture. Leroy and his colleagues used audio analysis technology to extract 17,000 samples of songs that have been on the charts in the past 50 years to classify them. They used statistical techniques to extract music characteristics such as timbre and harmony, just like wild biologists have done for species. The classification is the same.
These 13 categories cover all music styles from 1960 to 2010. They are grouped on the basis of similarity in chord changes and tonal forms. Standard type names such as “village” often appear in multiple categories. Leroy’s analysis shows that some country songs may be more similar to certain rock tunes than other songs promoted in a country style.
These tables show the relative popularity of music categories each year, expressed in width. The shaded part indicates the transition. The most dramatic change occurred in 1991, when hip-hop music began to occupy the United States. The two early musical revolutions were the explosion of rock music in the mid-1960s and the emergence of electronic synthesizers and mechanical drum machines in the mid-1980s. These new instruments had such a wide-ranging impact that 1986 became the least musically diverse year on record.
The table shows higher-level relationships among the 13 categories. For example, there are more similarities between blues rock and electronic music than between these two genres and hip-hop music.
What makes music popular?
Georgetown University neuroscientist Norbert Grazwarz can predict the popularity of songs without listening. By analyzing the hundreds of hits on the Billboard Top 100 singles chart from 1958 to 1991, he and his colleagues discovered a factor they called “harmonic surprises”, which seemed to explain all artists The reason for the success of the song.
Q: What is harmony surprise?
Answer: Musicians use a lot of chords to compose their melody. Some chords are used frequently, while others are rarely used. Give the harmony a little surprise: harmony comes first! It’s to make the next harmony appear early. The sound of the next chord appears on a beat that does not originally belong to the next chord, which gives people a “preemptive” feeling. Using the first tones on the weak beats will make the rhythm look less rigid and more vibrant.
Q: What does this have to do with the popularity of the song?
A: We found two types of connections between harmony surprises and song popularity. First, songs with many surprising chords tend to be closer to the top of the Billboard Top 100 singles chart than songs with less surprising harmony. Second, the reason for the popularity of the song is the surprise changes in various parts of the song. The two main parts of a song are the poem and the chorus. These poems tell the story of the song. Chorus is those parts with repeated lyrics. We found that in successful songs, the harmony surprise of the poetry is often higher than the chorus part.
Q: Which popular songs show amazingly ideal combinations?
A: In The Beatles’ “A Hard Day and Night”, the opening chord is one of the most surprising chords of all the songs we have analyzed. Then, as the song transitions from poetry to chorus, harmony surprises will decrease.
On the other hand, there are a few songs that are relatively unsuccessful for other successful artists. These songs include “Judy” by Elvis, “I Don’t Want to Break the Party” by the Beatles and “Until the End of the Day” by Whimsy. Our research results may explain why these songs “failed”. Their bass and surprises and the surprises between poetry and chorus are very few.
Q: Can your formula help artists write more attractive songs?
A: I often joke that we can give musicians rich advice on how to make their songs popular. However, the road to becoming a hit is more than just exploring harmony surprises. Rhythm, lyrics and other factors play an important role in the success of the song. Nevertheless, our laboratory has been conducting a series of experiments with computer-generated “melody”, and these experiments are different in surprise. We have asked the subjects to rank these songs in order of preference. Although these melodies are generated by computers, the preferences displayed by people are in good agreement with the principles we found in harmonic surprises.
Music is semantic
The listener who will be immersed in a beautiful and sad ballad or immersed in the intense anger of death metal will understand the meaning of the music. But Philip Schlenk, a linguist at the French National Center for Scientific Research, believes that music is not just a way of expressing emotions. By imitating the way we experience sound in our daily lives, composers add extremely subtle changes to the music to help tell their stories.
When the pitch of the instrument is lower than the ambient sounds
meanings: the sound source is large.
Reason: The larger sound source has a larger resonant cavity.
Realistic example: horn blowing elephant.
Musical example: “Elephant” in “Zoo Fantasia” by Camille Saint-Saëns.
When the lower the pitch of the musical
meaning: the sound source is losing energy.
Reason: slower movement will produce low-frequency sound.
Realistic example: a tape player whose battery is nearly dead.
Music example: the last two bars of Frederick Chopin’s Nocturne.
When the instrument’s volume than sound around the hour
meaning: the sound source is not so energetic.
Reason: Low-energy sound sources produce lower sound pressure, thereby reducing the volume.
Realistic example: a whistle that blew gently.
Music example: the last track of the overture to “Raindrops” by Frederic Chopin.
When the volume of the music increases
meanings: being close to the sound source.
Reason: The closer the sound source is, the greater the sound pressure (volume) heard by the listener.
Real-world example: the upcoming car.
Music example: “Frell Jacques” in the third movement of Gustave Mahler’s first symphony.
When the rhythm of the music is slower than before
Meaning: The sound source moves more slowly.
Reason: The sound indicates the behavior of the source.
Realistic example: slow pace.
Music example: “Turtle” in Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Zoo Fantasia”.
When the vibrato increases
meanings: Source more emotional.
Reason: The vibrato of the voice seems to indicate a decline in voice control in an emotional environment.
Real world example: trembling speech.
Musical example: “Cole Nidley” by Max Brooke.
Acoustics of the concert hall
The Vienna Concert Hall is known as the greatest concert hall in the world, and its excellent acoustics are largely due to an accident. The building is a by-product of style preferences and engineering constraints in the 1860s. Acousticians Tapio Loki and Yuka Patina of Aalto University analyzed this famous “Shoebox” concert hall to understand why the music played there was generally well received.
1. The side wall of
sound around the room at the time of reflection will become rich, so it will not spread to all of a sudden people’s ears. The side walls of the concert hall are very narrow and full of statues. This is especially helpful for increasing the sound reflection of the side walls. It will produce reverberation and make the audience feel completely immersed in the sound.
low frequency bass sounds requires a very wide surface in order to correct reflection. The deep side balcony provides enough space for low-frequency scattering. The balcony and the side walls of the auditorium ensure the circulation of sound waves in all directions.
concert hall with high ceilings provide another delay, or even longer than walls and balconies provide. The gilded surface can effectively reflect high frequencies, and the surface treatment of the ceiling may also contribute to the overall brightness of the music, forming a huge resonance box.
Many modern concert hall optimizes the sight of stadium seating, but stepped floors and heavy chairs acoustically harmful. The high-back seats block the sound waves reflected from around the room, preventing the music from completely surrounding the audience. The flat floor of the concert hall and the space under the chairs also allow the audience to hear the crescendo low frequencies.
stage rises, the ground level, the audience will reduce the visual sense of musicians, but the disadvantage is the positive impact on the visual auditory offset. The extra height prevents the audience from hearing the sound reflected on the stage, thus changing the “feel” of the music. The hardwood stage floor enhances the bass tone by not resonating; the resonance stage absorbs sound energy when vibrating, reducing the sound energy in other parts of the room.
Even if no one plays the organ, it plays an important role. The position of the instrument perfectly diffuses the sound in all directions and transmits more sound energy to the side walls to maximize the surround reverberation. This diffusion also prevents sound waves from bouncing in the room for a long time after the note is played, where it may be distracting.