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The Beats That Bind

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Stanford University study suggests that synchronized activities like marching in time and chanting in church can improve how societies function. We discuss the study with its co-author, Scott Wiltermuth, and Daniel Levitin, author of The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature. Later: Henkjan Honing of Amsterdam's Cognitive Science Center joins us to talk about a new study on newborns and musical beats. This is a repeat broadcast of Soundcheck.


Henkjan Honing, Daniel J. Levitin and Scott Wiltermuth

Comments [7]

Melly Resnicow from 107 Weeks rd. East Williston, N.Y.11596

"alltogether" may be useful and stimulating but it has also been used to persuade and indoctrinate entire populations. One need only watch the mass rallies that took place during the Hitler regime. These were carefully orchestrated and aimed primarily at young people to support Nazi policies. working and singing in unison can be pleasurable and useful but it is often used to achieve evil ends as well.

Aug. 12 2009 02:53 PM
Inge Pumberger from NYC

I just came back from Australia. The Aborigines are the first humans communicating through song it seems. Their origin story is based on song. Songlines are pathways that invisibly connect communities. They are passed down through the generations, full of mystery and very secretive to outsiders. Some researchers connsider them the frontrunners of language.

Aug. 12 2009 02:36 PM
Melly Resnicow from 107 Weeks rd. East Williston, N.Y.11596

It should be mentioned that the Hitler government used music as well as marching and singing to excite,motivate and unify the population, especially young people. On need only to watch the massive rallies that were organized by the Nazis to fire up the participants. This phenomenon is often used for evil ends as well as good!

Aug. 12 2009 02:34 PM
Arli Epton from Ossining, NY

I wrote a master's thesis on Placing the History of Dance in the Hegelian System. For this project, I learned that the first music was drumbeats to the sound of heartbeats. Following that was dance to the sound of those drumbeats.

Of course, some of that dance was done by individuals. However, a lot of that was done in unison

Aug. 12 2009 02:28 PM
Sylvester Wager from Times Square Hotel

How damaging is it to reject the songs/rhythms that you were taught in your youth? Is there a price to pay, when you go more or less silent?

Aug. 12 2009 02:27 PM

Can your guests discuss potential benefits this research might have on therapeutic sciences? I.e. music therapy, physical therapy, etc.

Aug. 12 2009 02:21 PM
Graham from New York City

There is no doubt that march time--4/4 time--affects people. Unfortunately, it often turns them into mindless obedient automatons. This is the point if you are raising an army, but is also the point if you want to grab someone's attention and make them subservient to whatever your aims happen to be.

American popular music used to employ a variety of meters, but sometime around the disco era one meter, 4/4 time, took over completely. Our popular music has been so much the poorer for it ever since. 4/4 time is used in the background music for advertising, as a way to hijack peoples' attention. Personally, I feel that not only is the dominance of 4/4 time in popular culture a form of musical impoverishment, it is also kind of brutal. Hut-two-three-four.

Aug. 12 2009 01:59 PM

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