Things you didn't know about sound

12 October 2010

Video of Julian Treasure's TED talk is below, links to scientific references for all you hippy haters down below that. Here are a few excerpts.


  • Matter is vibrating energy; therefore, we are a collection of vibrations of many kinds, which can be considered a chord.
  • Health as harmony of our vibrations. On a philosophical level, Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras and Confucius all wrote at length about the relationship between harmony, music and health (social and physical). The WHO —the World Health Organization, not the old deaf english fuckers—define health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
  • The visual spectrum in frequency terms is one octave: 400-790 THz. Humans can hear from 20 Hz to 20 KHz, which is ten octaves.
  • Men typically listen reductively and focused on points, women listen from an expansive position and hear more of the flow. [Expand your ears and their asses will follow ?]
  • Noise harms and even kills. 20% of the EU lives in areas with high sound levels. [btw. I hate cars with a passion. except for Knight Rider because the theme song was so dope] 3 percent of deaths from ischemic heart disease result from long-term exposure to noise. That's 210,000 people dying of noise every year.
    "Even moderate noise levels can increase anxiety, decrease the incidence of helping behavior, and increase the risk of hostile behavior in experimental subjects. These effects may, to some extent, help explain the "dehumanization" of today's urban environment." ("Noise and its effects" (Administrative Conference of the United States, Alice Suter, 1991)

  • Compression makes you tired and irritable. [referring to mp3 compression, but dynamic compression has the same issues or worse]

  • Schizophonia - when what you hear is different than what you see. Example given is a train filled with people talking to other people elsewhere on cel phones. We are often now elsewhere.

This gets me thinking about audio-visual entrainment and the benefits of minimal music as a restorative against the exploding world we push ourselves into. Soon I will be a gong beating vegan, hopefully with lots of electronics.

Julian Treasure's blog with extra commentary


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