As I mentioned, in Classic Chord #1 in my early teens I was chasing the dream of being the next Alex Lifeson, picking out the pseudo-classical intros to songs like “Panacea”, “A Farewell to Kings” and “The Trees”, later “Broon’s Bane” from Exit…stage left and rocking out (on a nylon string guitar!) to “Working Man”, […]
Composer John Cage (1912-1992) is perhaps most famous not for the music he wrote but the silence. In the piece known as “Four minutes, thirty-three seconds”, 4’33”, which is ostensibly in three movements Cage instructed musicians, with any instrument or any combination of instruments and presumably voice to not play their instrument(s) for the during […]
There’s one chord every wannabe rock guitar hero has to figure out at some point…we all listen to Jimi Hendrix, we all marvel at what he’s doing with that Strat, whether plucking it with his teeth or setting it on fire. But, what is it he’s doing exactly to get that E-major power chord that […]
One thing I noticed as teen teaching myself to pick out the wondrous chords played by Rush’s Alex Lifeson by ear was that he used a lot of chords where the top two strings, the B and the E string were left ring while a moveable chord shape, often a B major shape or more commonly […]
Daisuke Inoue of Hyogo, Japan, was awarded the 2004 Ig Nobel peace prize for inventing karaoke, thereby providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other. For the very few of our readers who might not know what karaoke is – we offer this description : ‘It’s a form of interactive […]
Researchers have turned human mental activity into music, and it sounds uncannily like free-form jazz piano. The new brain-to-sound method translates a brain's electrical fluctuations to pitch and blood flows to intensity. With more sophisticated scores and trained ears, a...
Close your eyes, open your ears and hear the sounds that greeted famed naturalist Aldo Leopold on a June morning in 1940. Using his fastidious notes and contemporary birdsong recordings, researchers have recreated a dawn soundscape heard by Leopold outside the rural Wisconsin shack where he wrote A Sand County Almanc, a bible of modern environmentalism.
You’ve heard the tales: A bite from a vicious monster transforms you into something less than human, leaving you just enough consciousness to contemplate your terrible fate as you slowly and agonizingly die. This scene is at the root of many of our most popular horror tropes — think vampires, werewolves and zombies — but [...]
A couple years ago, David Pizarro, a young research psychologist at Cornell, brewed up a devious variation on the classic trolley problem. The trolley problem is that staple of moral psychology studies at dinner parties in which you ask someone to decide under what conditions it’s morally permissible to kill one person to save others. [...]
The foundations of complex language have been found in colonies of unusual furry animals called hyraxes.
For three decades, Bernie Krause has collected the sounds of nature, from Amazon jungles to Antarctic glaciers and even ant colonies. For Krause, the sounds aren't ambience, but biological orchestras of extraordinary beauty and complexity. In this gallery, you can hear some of his favorite recordings.
So, Friday was busy here. Spring semester classes started on Wednesday, people want add codes to add my courses, students are making sure they know where everything is in the online section of my "Ethics in Science" course -- the usual. But, I was also dealing with a larger than usual portion of ScienceOnline in [...]
Underwater acoustics can affect the communication of whales as far away as 120 miles.
It would be hard to find a geek who doesn't recognize the world-famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who turns 70 today.
By using audio trickery to present meerkats with a puzzling situation, biologists have demonstrated that the adorable African critters recognize each other by voice. The implications go beyond meerkats: It's been suprisingly difficult to design empirical studies for truly wild animals other than primates, leaving an important aspect of animal social life in shadow.
Yesterday, a few hours after the Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to Tomas Transtromer, I received from former Nobel staffer Simon Frantz an audio clip that seized my heart. It is a 1954 recording of Ernest Hemingway reading his acceptance speech for the prize that year. (Hemingway did not attend the banquet, but had [...]
Find out what your brain is up to behind your back in this exclusive audio excerpt from the new book Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain and learn more in an interview with author, neuroscientist David Eagleman.