Music

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Why some people love music and others don't

<p>Think of your favourite piece of music. Do you get shivers when the music swells or the chorus kicks in? Or are the opening few bars enough to make you feel tingly?</p> <p>Despite having no obvious survival value, listening to music can be a highly rewarding activity. It’s one of the most pleasurable activities with which people engage.</p> <p>But in a <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.01.068">study published today</a> in Current Biology, Spanish and Canadian researchers report on a group of “music anhedonics” – literally, those who do not enjoy music.</p> <p>This is an intriguing phenomenon, and we presume very rare.</p> <p>Importantly, these people are not “<a href="http://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/206851">amusic</a>” – an affliction that often results from acquired or congenital damage to parts of the brain required to perceive or interpret music. In this study, the “music anhedonics” perceive music in the same way as the rest of the population.</p> <p>Nor are they people who generally don’t enjoy pleasure – they are not depressed, nor highly inhibited, and they are just as sensitive as other people to other types of non-musical rewards (such as food, money, sex, exercise and drugs).</p> <p>They simply don’t experience chills or similar responses to pleasurable music in the way that other people do. They’re just not that into music.</p> <p><strong>I’ve got chills – they’re multiplying</strong></p> <p>When we listen to pleasurable music, the “<a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/dopamine">pleasure chemical</a>” dopamine is <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/340/6129/216.short">released in the striatum</a>, a key part of the <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1196/annals.1390.002/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&amp;userIsAuthenticated=false">brain’s reward system</a>.</p> <p>Importantly, music activates the striatum just like other rewarding stimuli, such as food and sex. During anticipation of the peak – or “<a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v506/n7489/full/506433a.html">hotspot</a>” as music psychologist <a href="http://slobodajohn.wix.com/johns">John Sloboda</a> calls it – in the music, dopamine is released in the dorsal (or upper) striatum.<span class="attribution"><a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/" class="license"></a></span></p> <p>During the peak, when we experience chills and other signs that our body’s <a href="http://psychology.about.com/od/aindex/g/autonomic-nervous-system.htm">autonomic nervous system</a> – responsible for regulating involuntary body functions – is being aroused, dopamine is released in the nearby ventral striatum.</p> <p>So what’s going on in the brains of music anhedonics?</p> <p>The authors offer a neurobiological explanation. While many types of pleasurable stimuli activate the same broad reward circuit in the brain, there are some differences depending on the type of stimulus. It is possible that the pattern of brain regions specifically activated by music pleasure, including the connection from auditory regions which perceive music to the reward centres, are slightly different in these individuals than in other people.</p> <p>This isn’t unusual as we know that there can be enormous differences in how rewarding (and potentially addictive) other rewards such as food, sex, money and drugs can be to different individuals, but it is rare to get no pleasurable response to these rewards. Is the story more complex then?</p> <p><strong>Bittersweet symphony</strong></p> <p>Music is a complex phenomenon – it affects us in multiple ways, and is used for many purposes. While pleasure is a popular reason for music listening, we are also drawn to music for other reasons. Sometimes the music isn’t pleasant at all.<span class="caption"></span></p> <p>Our attraction, our need, and sometimes perhaps dependence on sad, angry or even frightening music flies in the face of evolutionary theory – why seek out something emotionally negative?</p> <p>Insight into our uses of music is however being achieved via music psychology – a rapidly expanding field which draws on research across numerous domains including cognitive neuroscience, social psychology and <a href="http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F11573548">affective computing</a> (the science of human-computer interaction where the device can detect and respond to its user’s emotions).</p> <p>In a <a href="http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199695225.do">study</a> involving more than 1,000 people, Swedish music psychologist <a href="http://www.oru.se/Intern/Organisation/Institutioner/Musik/Konferenser/CV/Alf%20Gabrielsson.pdf">Alf Gabrielsson</a> showed that only a little over half of strong experiences with music involve positive emotions.</p> <p>Many involved “mixed emotions” (think nostalgic or bittersweet love songs), and about one in ten involve negative emotions.</p> <p><strong>‘Non-positive’ can be good</strong></p> <p>We listen to music that makes us feel like this for many reasons. We can use it to help express how we’re feeling – sometimes this might make the problem worse (such as when we use music to ruminate), but other times it helps to give voice to an emotion we otherwise could not communicate.</p> <p>As a result, we may feel more emotionally aware or stable afterwards.</p> <p>We also use music to solve problems, to look at our situation in a different light, to energise us or to relax us, and often to avoid or distract us – all well-known strategies for managing or regulating emotions<span class="caption">.</span></p> <p>Music can also help us connect to others. Even if we don’t get a buzz from the music normally, when we listen with others, the enhanced social connectivity can be highly satisfying.</p> <p>A <a href="http://pom.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/05/01/0305735612440615">2012 study</a> showed that individuals who listened to music with close friends or their partners showed significantly stronger autonomic responses than those who listened alone.</p> <p>We might better empathise with the emotional or mental states of others, and at times, music feels like a “virtual friend”, providing solace and comfort when needed, and perhaps even stimulating release of the stress reducing and affiliation hormone <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/oxytocin">oxytocin</a>.</p> <p>All these uses of music can be beneficial for our “<a href="http://www.academia.edu/3179324/Eudaimonic_Well-Being_as_a_Core_Concept_of_Positive_Functioning">eudaimonic well-being</a>”; in other words, for enhancing our engagement and purpose in life, rather than just our pleasure.</p> <p>They also involve a distributed set of connected brain regions other than just the reward circuit. This means that these positive effects of music may be preserved even when the typical pleasure response is not experienced.</p> <p>Another feature of music that distinguishes it from many other rewarding stimuli is that it is an artform. And as an artform, it can be appreciated aesthetically, in an intellectual or analytical – rather than emotional – manner.</p> <p>We can listen to a piece oozing with tragedy such as Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor or Trent Reznor’s Hurt – listen below – but feel awe and beauty in the sophisticated score of the composer and perfect execution of the performers. This might explain why some of the music anhedonics in this study still reported feeling some pleasure to music, even when their bodies weren’t along for the ride.</p> <p>Reward circuitry is also activated by aesthetically beautiful stimuli, but other frontal brain regions involved in aesthetic judgment are also activated. It may be possible then for music anhedonics to still appreciate and enjoy music, even if their reward brain circuitry differs a little from those of us who can experience intense physical responses to music.</p> <p>And of course, music anhedonics might still find music a useful way to express or regulate their own emotions, and to connect to others. Or are music anhedonics also music “aneudaimonics”?</p> <p>In fact, we know so little about this fascinating, previously “hidden” phenomenon that this study opens the door for so many more studies – which is rewarding all of itself.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/24007/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nikki-rickard-110017">Nikki Rickard</a>, Associate Professor of Psychology, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/chills-and-thrills-why-some-people-love-music-and-others-dont-24007">original article</a>.</em></p>

Music

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Music collectors are seeking out rare albums that you can't stream

<p>As of the third quarter <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/244995/number-of-paying-spotify-subscribers/">of 2019, music streaming giant Spotify had 113 million paid subscribers worldwide</a> — but it’s still missing some famous albums that many listeners feel they can’t live without. And in today’s digital world, it can be expensive and difficult to get a physical copy of those missing albums.</p> <p>Music streaming dominates paid music consumption in the <a href="https://www.statista.com/chart/10185/music-consumption-in-the-us/">United States</a> and <a href="https://musiccanada.com/resources/statistics/">Canada</a>.</p> <p>But services like Spotify and Apple Music can’t just upload whatever music they’d like. Legal disputes, sample clearance issues — when permission can’t be obtained for the use of part of a song in a new song — and rights-holders withholding music can all get in the way of music being available on your streaming platform of choice. And that can make the music even more difficult and more expensive to get your hands on physically.</p> <p>Legal disputes between <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/musicians-v-record-labels-famous-feuds/">artists and their record labels have been happening for decades</a>. Disputes can keep music from ever coming out at all, in which case consumers don’t know what they’re missing — but they can also take music that consumers already love out of circulation.</p> <p><strong>Rare $130 cassette</strong></p> <p>If you’re a fan of the hip-hop group De La Soul, you might have noticed that its 1989 album <em>3 Feet High and Rising</em> is missing from paid subscription streaming services. This is due to <a href="https://slate.com/culture/2019/03/de-la-soul-3-feet-high-and-rising-streaming-spotify-tidal.html">disputes between the group and its label, Tommy Boy Records.</a></p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/304142/original/file-20191127-112526-uxlosu.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">If your ‘90s dubbed De La Soul tape has broken down, a new cassette today may cost $130.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Mike B in Colorado/Flickr</span></span></p> <p>De La Soul said in an <a href="https://www.facebook.com/wearedelasoul/photos/a.631626713540839/2309714252398735/?type=3&amp;theater">August Facebook post</a> that it that was unable to reach a streaming agreement “and earn Tommy Boy’s respect for our music/legacy.” The dispute has led to Tommy Boy delaying the release of that album on streaming services.</p> <p>The album is not being widely reissued, so few copies are available in any physical format for fans who can’t stream one of their favourite albums on their favourite streaming service. There is a copy of <a href="https://www.amazon.ca/3-Feet-High-Rising-Vinyl/dp/B00CJF9SZC/ref=tmm_vnl_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&amp;qid=&amp;sr=">the vinyl LP of <em>3 Feet High and Rising</em> selling online for nearly $300</a>. A cassette is available for more than $130. Even the CD is selling for more than $100.</p> <p><strong>Taylor Swift delays release of album</strong></p> <p>Rights-holders, whether they are the artist or not, can also choose to withhold music from streaming services. Taylor Swift has famously done this, <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/9/15767986/taylor-swift-apple-music-spotify-statements-timeline">first to fight for music’s value, then to fight for better streaming royalty rates</a> and then delaying the release of <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/taylor-swift-to-withhold-reputation-from-streaming-services-197389/#:%7E:targetText=Taylor%20Swift's%20new%20album,the%20specifics%20with%20various%20platforms.">her 2017 album <em>Reputation</em> on streaming services</a>. She made <em>Reputation</em> available only for digital download and on CD at first.</p> <p>But rights-holders withholding music can sometimes get more complicated. Blackground Records — owned by Aaliyah’s uncle Barry Hankerson — controls the masters of most of the late singer’s music and has <a href="https://www.complex.com/music/2016/12/aaliyahs-music-isnt-online-and-her-uncle-barry-hankerson-is-the-reason-why">not made it available on streaming services</a>. Aaliyah <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/aaliyah-1979-2001-192667/">died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22</a>, not long after the release of her platinum-certified self-titled album.</p> <p>Michael Greaves, who manages royalties for a music company based in Toronto, said in a September interview that he thinks Hankerson is “trying to look for the best deal … building up the value,” as Taylor Swift did. But others, including Greaves, who is also a former DJ, have argued that there is an emotional component to Hankerson withholding the Blackground music.</p> <p>Rock band Tool also famously <a href="https://www.techradar.com/news/after-years-of-resisting-rock-band-tool-is-finally-entering-the-streaming-age">didn’t put all of its music up on streaming services until Aug. 2, 2019,</a> just before the Aug. 30 release of its newest album, <em>Fear Inoculum</em>.</p> <p>Whether these rights-holders are using profiteering tactics, the music is increasing in value because it’s not available on paid streaming services and there are limited physical copies. On Amazon.ca, the CD of <a href="https://www.amazon.ca/One-Million-Aaliyah/dp/B000002JWP">Aaliyah’s <em>One In A Million</em> is selling for as much as $189</a>. “I have those albums, I got them when they came out. I’m lucky that way,” says Greaves.</p> <p>Blackground also controls the rights to the master recordings of singer Jojo’s first two albums, which it has not released on streaming services.</p> <p>Jojo wound up <a href="https://www.wmagazine.com/story/jojo-re-release-albums-new-music-interview">suing Blackground, re-recording those albums and releasing them on streaming services herself</a>. Unfortunately, Aaliyah is not alive to do the same.</p> <p><strong>Download delays are ongoing</strong></p> <p>Despite advances in music technology and administration, sample clearances can still be an issue, keeping music from being released or forcing it to be removed from streaming services.</p> <p>It’s common for rappers and hip-hop artists to release “<a href="https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/rmx446/the-real-difference-between-a-mixtape-and-an-album">mixtapes</a>” — free releases which were once distributed on cassettes but are now commonly distributed on Soundcloud. Mixtapes often contain samples whose permissions haven’t been legally granted, which keep them from being available on streaming services such as Spotify, where rules around sample clearances are more stringent than on Soundcloud.</p> <p>The artist known as Chance the Rapper, for instance, went through the process of clearing all of the samples on his 2013 mixtape <em>Acid Rap</em>, which went live on streaming services last summer — <a href="https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/8518032/chance-the-rapper-juice-acid-rap-streaming-services">but he couldn’t get the sample on his track <em>Juice</em> cleared</a>.</p> <p>According to the artist’s website, <a href="https://www.chanceraps.com/shop/acid-rap-vinyl-pre-order">the vinyl pre-order of the mixtape is sold out and the website says it is shipping this fall</a> — however, it’s unclear if it has already shipped. It’s also unclear if the sample on <em>Juice</em> will be cleared for the vinyl release — but if it’s not, there’s no doubt that the not-so-legal cassette with the original track listing will be worth much more.</p> <p>Music administration has come a long way, but it’s also become more complicated. As <a href="https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/8297506/drake-nice-for-what-lauryn-hill-ex-factor-samples-kehlani-cardi-b">artists sample samples of samples</a>, <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/watch-dj-khaled-explain-how-infant-son-executive-produced-new-lp-116467/">babies are given producer credits</a> and <a href="https://www.thefader.com/2019/10/07/lil-nas-x-cardi-b-sued-copyright-infringement-rodeo-2019">copyright infringement lawsuits over popular songs</a> seem to be frequently in the news, it’s unlikely that every album under the sun will be available to us at the press of a button any time soon.<!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marina-eckersley-857932">Marina Eckersley</a>, Dalla Lana Fellow in Global Journalism, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-toronto-1281">University of Toronto</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/music-collectors-seek-out-rare-albums-not-available-on-streaming-126488">original article</a>.</em></p>

Music

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Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson dies aged 61

<p>Marie Fredriksson, frontwoman of Swedish pop-rock band Roxette, has died at the age of 61 following a long illness.</p> <p>The singer-songwriter passed away on Monday after “a 17-year long battle with cancer”, her management team said in a statement.</p> <p>“You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years,” her Roxette bandmate Per Gessle said in the statement.</p> <p>“I’m proud, honoured and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and sense of humour … Things will never be the same.”</p> <p>Fredriksson was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2002. She underwent treatments and survived, but had health problems as a result of radiation therapy, <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/dec/10/roxette-singer-marie-fredriksen-dies-aged-61">The Guardian</a> </em>reported. She was able to continue performing until 2016, when her doctors advised her to focus on her health.</p> <p>Debuting as Roxette in 1986, Fredriksson and Gessle achieved success with the single <em>Neverending Love</em>. The duo went on to receive international recognition with <em>The Look</em>, followed by <em>Listen to Your Heart</em>, <em>It Must Have Been Love </em>and <em>Joyride</em>. Roxette’s albums have sold more than 80 million copies worldwide.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Marie Fredriksson 😢 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Roxette?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Roxette</a> - It must have been love <a href="https://t.co/b0puf5qDuA">pic.twitter.com/b0puf5qDuA</a></p> — Alfredo Velazco (@alfredovelazco) <a href="https://twitter.com/alfredovelazco/status/1204474359961837569?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 10, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Fredriksson is survived by her husband Mikael Bolyos and their two children, Josefin and Oscar.</p>

Music

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Singing helps relieve stress according to top psychiatrists

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the UK’s leading psychiatrists has said that people who are feeling stressed should consider joining a choir.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Professor Sir Simon Wessely made the announcement in a keynote speech at a recent conference on the subject of mental health among students.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The risk is not just ineffective solutions, but the real possibility that our solutions may actually be contributing to the problem,” he said, according to </span><a href="https://www.classicfm.com/music-news/feeling-stressed-join-a-choir/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Classic FM</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He went on to say: “I would love to see trials of volunteering, peer support, sport, drama, choir and so on – that’s the research I believe we need.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s not the first time that he has criticised mental health initiatives that are offered at universities across the country.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There are things that aren’t disorders at all that students habitually get – exam stress, loneliness and so on – all of which can be problematic. But we shouldn’t go round automatically saying ‘Oh you have a psychiatric disorder, you need psychiatric or mental health or professional health,” he said to </span><a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2018/06/29/universities-may-fuelling-mental-health-crisis-leading-psychiatrist/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Telegraph</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Loneliness is a major problem for the current student population,” Prof Wessely said. “There is quite a lot of evidence that says that the solution may not be to see a counsellor, but it may be to join a choir.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If you’re going to raise awareness in order to encourage people to seek professional help, you have to make bloody sure the services are there to deal with it,” he said .</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Otherwise what you do is add to disappointment,  frustration and anger of the people with the problems and add to the likely burn out and retirement of people trying to help [such as GPs].”</span></p>

Music

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"It's tragic”: Elton John calls for more music education

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sir Elton John hosted a Question and Answer with students at the London Royal Academy of Music, which he attended at the shockingly young age of 11.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It was at the age of 16 that he decided to quit classical music and head towards a career in rock and roll.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, he puts his success down to those early years spent at the Academy playing scales.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In those days, the Academy meant classical music and nothing else – certainly no rock ‘n roll. That was the devil’s music. But without my training, I never would’ve been able to write the songs I’ve written,” he said to </span><em><a href="https://www.classicfm.com/music-news/elton-john-music-education-royal-academy/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Classic FM</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’m so grateful for my classical training. I played Chopin and Mozart and Debussy, and to be part of the choir was incredibly fulfilling. Singing in a choir is such a moving, life-affirming experience.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite reaching superstardom, John is not unaware of the lacking presence of music in schools today.</span></p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EZTe7So4WJk"></iframe></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A lot of schools [now] have taken music out of the curriculum and I find that really appalling, because music is so inspiring and for kids that have the ability or want to play music, there’s no outlet for this in schools anymore. It’s tragic.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Today, eight Royal Academy students a year are on the Elton John Scholarship, which is a fund reserved for young musicians who would otherwise be unable to afford the fees.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Four of those students stood up at the Question and Answer and spoke about what they had achieved due to the sponsorship.</span></p>

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John Lennon murder: Killer’s strange act after shooting Beatles star

<p><span>Sunday marks the 39<sup>th</sup> anniversary of John Lennon’s death. </span></p> <p><span>The late Beatles legend was shot outside his Manhattan apartment in 1980 and died at the age of 40. His killer, Mark David Chapman was a 25-year-old former security guard with no prior criminal convictions.</span></p> <p><span>After planning the murder for months, Chapman came to the Dakota apartment building where Lennon and wife Yoko Ono lived on December 8, 1980 and waited. Chapman met the couple at 5pm as they were leaving for a studio session, and Lennon signed Chapman’s <em>Double Fantasy </em>album.</span></p> <p><span>Chapman then waited for Lennon to return from the studio. Lennon and Ono returned at 10.50pm, and as they passed by to enter the building, Chapman fired five shots at the Beatles singer, four of which hit him in the back and shoulder. Lennon was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital but later pronounced dead on arrival.</span></p> <p><span>When police came to arrest Chapman, he was still at the scene reading a copy of JD Salinger’s 1951 novel <em>The Catcher in the Rye</em>. “This is my statement”, Chapman’s handwriting in the book read.</span></p> <p><span>The novel tells the story of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield, who rallied against the “phoniness” of the adult world.</span></p> <p><span>“I’m sure the big part of me is Holden Caulfield, who is the main person in the book. The small part of me must be the Devil,” Chapman told the police.</span></p> <p><span>Two months later, Chapman sent a statement to the <em>New York Times</em>. He wrote in all caps: “It is my sincere belief that presenting this written statement will not only stimulate the reading of JD Salinger’s <em>The Catcher in the Rye</em> but will also help many to understand what has happened.</span></p> <p><span>“All of my efforts will now be devoted toward this goal, for this extraordinary book holds many answers. My true hope is that in wanting to find these answers you will read <em>The Catcher in the Rye</em>. Thank you.”</span></p> <p><span>The novel was also carried by killer Robert John Bardo on the night he murdered actress Rebecca Schaeffer.</span></p> <p><span>Apart from the book, Chapman’s crime was also said to be motivated by his displeasure with Lennon’s blasphemous public statements.</span></p> <p><span>Chapman said listening to <em>Imagine </em>weeks before the murder <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20070927000251/http:/www.secweb.org/index.aspx?action=viewAsset&amp;id=73">enraged him</a>. “I would listen to this music and I would get angry at him, for saying that he didn’t believe in God,” he said. </span></p> <p><span>“I just wanted to scream out loud, 'Who does he think he is, saying these things about God and heaven and the Beatles?' Saying that he doesn’t believe in Jesus and things like that. At that point, my mind was going through a total blackness of anger and rage… So I brought the Lennon book home, into this <em>Catcher in the Rye</em> milieu where my mind set is Holden Caulfield and antiphony-ness. While contemplating this new Lennon, I really delved into the ink of Holden Caulfield.”</span></p>

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How music is used to frame our daily routines

<p>The concept of “home” refers to more than bricks and mortar. Just as cities are more than buildings and infrastructure, our homes carry all manner of emotional, aesthetic and socio-cultural significance.</p> <p>Our research investigates music and sound across five settings: home, <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=zcMuMglzyzkC&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PA190&amp;ots=atQw4trFNS&amp;sig=35Ok_TO3mJYXgm3mGRt_8bFfZ0Q#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false">work</a>, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/soin.12232">retail spaces</a>, private <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/S0163-2396(2010)0000035015/full/html">vehicle travel</a> and <a href="https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=200907280;res=IELAPA;type=pdf">public transport</a>.</p> <p>We found our interview subjects often idealised home along the lines of what <a href="http://www.losquaderno.professionaldreamers.net/?p=1106">Rowland Atkinson terms an “aural haven”</a>. He suggests, although “homes are … rarely places of complete silence”, we tend to imagine them as “refuge[s] from unwanted sound” that offer psychic and perceptual “nourishment to us as social beings”.</p> <p>We explored the ways in which people shape and respond to the home as a set of “<a href="http://www.professionaldreamers.net/images/losquaderno/losquaderno10.pdf">modifiable micro-soundscapes</a>”. Through 29 in-depth interviews, we examine how people use music and sound to frame the home as a type of “<a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2095141?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents">interaction order</a>”. Erving Goffman coined this term to capture how people respond to the felt “presence” of an other.</p> <p>That presence can be linguistic or non-linguistic, visual or acoustic. It can cross material thresholds such as walls and fences. Goffman <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=EM1NNzcR-V0C&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=behaviour+in+public+places&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwic9JaW6-XlAhV-73MBHRilB4oQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&amp;q=work%20walls%20do&amp;f=false">wrote</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>The work walls do, they do in part because they are honoured or socially recognised as communication barriers.</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Cultivating sonic havens through music</strong></p> <p>As we detail in our recent <a href="https://tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14036096.2019.1686060">essay in Housing, Theory and Society</a>, the type of listening that most closely matches the idea of the home as an aural haven is bedroom listening – by young people in particular. We found that, as well as offering “control” and “seclusion”, the bedroom gave listeners a sense of “transcendence” and immersed them in “deep” listening. One interview subject said:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>When I get a new album … I like to experience [it] by … lying down on the floor… I’ll turn the lights off and I’ll just be engaging with the music, my eyes won’t be open.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Another reported putting on headphones to listen to special selections of music, despite not needing to. “Headphones… [is] a more intimate … kind of thing”, even in a bedroom setting.</p> <p>When it came to music in shared spaces and in relation to neighbours, our interview subjects seemed both aware of music’s visceral powers and keen to respect the territorial or acoustic “preserves” of others. One young female sharing a house with her mother carefully curated the type of music played, and what part of the house it was played in. Her choices depended on whether her mother was home and whether she had shown interest in particular genres.</p> <p>All respondents who lived in shared households expressed some kind of sensitivity to not playing music at night.</p> <p>Another lived by herself in an apartment complex of five. She took deference towards neighbours seriously enough to “tinker away” on her piano only when she was sure her immediate neighbour wasn’t home. She “didn’t play the piano much” inside her flat and was only prepared to “go nuts” playing the piano in halls and other non-domestic settings.</p> <p><strong>Music as a bridging ritual</strong></p> <p>Another of our findings accorded with the microsociological focus on how people organise <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226981606/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i10">time</a> and <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0029344204/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i6">space</a> in everyday life. We found evidence, for example, of how music was used to wake up, or to transition to the weekend, or as a “bridging ritual” between work and home.</p> <p>One interview subject remarked that he is “dressed casually anyway” when he returns from work, so his mechanism for shifting to home mode is to listen “to music … pretty much as soon as I get home … unless I’m just turning around and going straight somewhere else”. In other words, he associated the boundary between home and non-home with music and the listening rituals of returning home.</p> <p>One of the themes in academic literature about media and the home is that electronic and digital media <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/no-sense-of-place-9780195042313?cc=au&amp;lang=en&amp;">blur the boundary between the inside and outside of the home</a>. There is no doubt radio, television and now various digital platforms bring the world “out there” into the immediacy and intimacy of our own domestic worlds. But, as <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780203033142/chapters/10.4324/9780203033142-8">Jo Tacchi noted of radio sound</a>, those sounds can also be used to weave a sonic <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0038026118825233">texture</a> of domestic comfort, security and routine.</p> <p>We also found interesting sonic continuities between our homes and how we make ourselves at home in non-domestic settings. As <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=KEHjTYnT-MUC&amp;q=Locked+in+our+cars#v=snippet&amp;q=Locked%20in%20our%20cars&amp;f=false">Christina Nippert-Eng writes</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>Locked in our cars, commutes offer the working woman or man the legitimate equivalent of a teenager’s bedroom, often complete with stereo system and favourite music.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>In short, sonic havens are simply “places where we can retreat into privacy”, inside or outside our literal homes.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126188/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-james-walsh-147733">Michael James Walsh</a>, Assistant Professor Social Science, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/eduardo-de-la-fuente-161803">Eduardo de la Fuente</a>, Honorary Fellow, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sonic-havens-how-we-use-music-to-make-ourselves-feel-at-home-126188">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How marketers measure the magic of Dolly Parton

<p>Hit podcast <a href="https://chartable.com/podcasts/dolly-partons-america">Dolly Parton’s America</a> is a love letter to the icon of American country music. It reveals Dolly’s broad and enduring appeal, which crosses generations, class, race and even musical tastes.</p> <p>Dolly, 73, is having a “moment” that includes the podcast, <a href="https://9to5themusical.com.au/about/">9:5 The Musical</a> (coming to Australia in April), and the new Netflix series <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8509922/?ref_=fn_al_nm_2a">Heartstrings</a>, which dramatises a Dolly song for each episode.</p> <p>In a divided America, Dolly stands as the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/21/arts/music/dolly-parton.html">great unifier</a>. The podcast cites her as being in the top 10 most loved celebrities globally – but also one of the least hated – based on extensive polling. Her popularity has been measured using a celebrity scoring system called the <a href="http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/16143/">Q Score</a>.</p> <p>How do we quantify a public figure in terms of cultural cachet? And who would be Australia’s Dolly?</p> <p><span class="attribution"><a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" class="license"></a></span><strong>What is a Q score?</strong></p> <p>Created in 1963 by Jack Landis, the Q Score scoring system is owned by the US-based <a href="https://www.qscores.com/">Marketing Evaluations Inc</a>.</p> <p>The Q Score is a quotient (or percentage) that indicates the proportion of people who have heard of a given celebrity who also consider them as one of their favourites. This is sometimes referred to as a “positive Q Score”. A “negative Q Score” can be calculated too, being the proportion of people who have heard of a given celebrity who also consider them “poor” or “fair”.</p> <p>Twice a year, a representative sample of female and male adults are presented with a list of 1,800 celebrities and asked to rate them on a six-point scale from “Never heard of” to “One of my favourites”.</p> <p>The data is added to the full Q Score database, which amounts to about 25,000 celebrities at any given time.</p> <p>A Q Score is a measure of both familiarity and positivity. This is important, as likeability can be highly subjective, so assigning a score provides some sense of objectivity.</p> <p>The score puts a price on a celebrity’s “likeability” and therefore how much their popularity is worth – handy for those looking for people to represent their products.</p> <p>In the world of advertising and celebrity endorsement, the higher a celebrity rates, the more companies will be willing to pay them to promote their products and services.</p> <p>Celebrities behaving badly – Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods, Felicity Huffman – show endorsement can be a fickle business. The Q Score provides some comfort to a company or brand that a celebrity is likely to be a safe bet.</p> <p>Ratings are also helpful in revealing celebrities people love to hate. Before he was US President, Donald Trump was a reality TV star with a <a href="https://www.thewrap.com/heres-donald-trumps-horrible-q-score/">very low Q Score</a> (and a very high negative Q Score).</p> <p>Q Scores have attracted criticism, mostly that they are “normative” and therefore often don’t reflect the views of minorities. There is a Hispanic Q Score which rates 400 Hispanic personalities; however, the sampling process inevitably leads to a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/01/news/01iht-30oxan.12491269.html">hegemonic</a> outcome reflecting the dominant social influence.</p> <p><strong>Better off dead</strong></p> <p>Deceased celebrities also have enormous value. Their images and even reanimated footage of them is used regularly in advertising (think <a href="https://www.fashiongonerogue.com/marilyn-monroe-fronts-sexy-hair-campaign/">Marilyn Monroe</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/jul/10/bruce-lee-johnnie-walker-whisky-ad">Bruce Lee</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/chat-bots-james-dean-can-the-digital-dead-rest-in-peace-127211">James Dean</a> or <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2014/oct/08/how-we-made-audrey-hepburn-galaxy-ad">Audrey Hepburn</a>).</p> <p>The “dead celebrity” industry is worth approximately US$2.25 billion (A$3.3 billion) every year. The most popular are ranked using a similar system to Q scores, called the <a href="https://www.qscores.com/home/DeadQ.aspx">Dead Q</a>, which is updated every two years.</p> <p>Some celebrities earn more dead than they did alive, bringing in millions for their estates in royalties.</p> <p>Deceased celebrities are very attractive to marketers because they don’t age or change the way they look, they don’t get involved in scandals (Michael Jackson notwithstanding), and they stay famous.</p> <p><strong>Australia’s own</strong></p> <p>In Australia, celebrities are also rated, though the local rating systems are not exactly the same as in the USA. Until 2010, there was a Q Score system undertaken by <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/the-return-of-qscores/news-story/1e22c192207e9704edf61648c7aff2f0">Audience Development Australia</a>, which has recently been reported as set to return in 2019. However, this system is TV-oriented and mostly rates Australian TV presenters and brands. Of more relevance here is the Encore Score.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/encore-score-index-ranks-australias-most-loved-and-loathed-celebrities/news-story/441c5f5766841326122b1b0d29b896d4">Encore Score</a> is sponsored by Mumbrella and was last issued in 2016.</p> <p>The <a href="https://mumbrella.com.au/encore-score">methodology</a> is similar to the American Q Score, and asks a sample of 3,000 respondents to rate 1,000 TV, radio, film and media celebrities from “One of my favourites” to “I hate them”, as well as how familiar they are with the person.</p> <p>In this way, the Encore Score mimics the Q Score in terms of familiarity and positivity.</p> <p>In 2016, the top three Australian celebrities using Encore scoring were Hugh Jackman, Jamie Oliver and Chris Hemsworth (yes, one of these is actually British). Other notable scorers included Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman, Rebecca Gibney and Russell Crowe (both New Zealanders).</p> <p>The 2016 Encore Score also ranked the least liked celebrities. The number one on this list: Kyle Sandilands. Shane Warne and Eddie McGuire also got mentions.</p> <p>Tourism Australia’s latest <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/australian-holidays/tourism-australia-launches-new-global-campaign-featuring-chris-hemsworth/news-story/573a395a94f65728894889c82d694286">campaign</a> – featuring Hemsworth, Paul Hogan, Kylie Minogue, Terri Irwin, Kylie Kwong, Curtis Stone, Adam Hills and surfer Mick Fanning – is probably the best current gauge of who market research has identified as our favourite Australian faces, at least the ones we’re prepared to share with the rest of the world.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126688/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/louise-grimmer-212082">Louise Grimmer</a>, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/martin-grimmer-330523">Martin Grimmer</a>, Professor of Marketing, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/and-i-will-always-love-you-how-marketers-measure-dolly-partons-magic-126688">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Music therapist creates playlist to calm the mind

<p>It may seem like we are living in an age of anxiety, where feeling worried, upset and stressed has become the norm. But we should remember that anxiety is a <a href="https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/about-anxiety/#.Xc6FEi10fq1">natural human response</a> to situations.</p> <p>It comes when we are not sure what is going to happen, or when we feel under threat. And even mild anxiety can have a negative effect on our ability to lead a productive life. It can interfere with being able to enjoy the simple things in life.</p> <p>When we experience anxiety, our heart and breathing rates increase and many other systems in our bodies <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/effects-on-body#1">experience overload</a>. Anxiety affects our general physical health as well as our emotions.</p> <p>In my work as a music therapist, I’ve noticed the impact music can have on anxiety. For example, in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIdtMOd8k8A">guided imagery sessions</a>, the therapist uses specially selected music and the client is invited to describe what they are feeling and what images the music conjures up. It’s amazing what insights can be gained from simply allowing yourself time to listen and talk about what you see in your mind’s eye.</p> <p>These may be as simple as becoming more aware of how music can affect emotions, or be used to explore past experiences or future dilemmas. It can also be used to find a place of comfort and a secure base where <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jmt/article-abstract/36/1/39/914646?redirectedFrom=fulltext">physical and emotional balance</a> can be found.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/relaxing-song-best-weightless-marconi-union-youtube-surgery-anxiety-a9011971.html">recent experiment</a> explored whether certain kinds of music can reduce anxiety during a complex task and concluded that some music is better at doing this than others.</p> <p><a href="http://theconversation.com/surprising-ways-to-beat-anxiety-and-become-mentally-strong-according-to-science-77978"></a>Also, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jmt/article-abstract/48/3/264/1002764?redirectedFrom=PDF">a study</a> based on measuring physiological and emotional responses suggests there are certain qualities in music that are better at helping people relax.</p> <p>The speed of the music should be relatively slow, the melody should be simple, and the beat and harmony should not hold too many surprises. Other factors, such as the complexity of the music and – surprisingly – familiarity with the piece, were not so important.</p> <p>In fact, knowing a piece too well was found in some cases to be counterproductive. The genres most likely to support relaxation are classical, soft pop and certain types of world music. These are found to largely contain the musical elements necessary to help a person relax.</p> <p><strong>Press play</strong></p> <p>With these musical elements in mind, here are eight suggested pieces of music that meet these criteria:</p> <p><strong>1</strong> <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-album-reviews/ambient-1-music-for-airports-184712/">Ambient 1: Music For Airports</a> by Brian Eno. This soundscape provides a wash of musical effects that echo the rhythm of our physiological functions, leaving space for us to attune to the slow tempo of the music. The album is described in <a href="https://www.roughtrade.com/gb/brian-eno/ambient-1-music-for-airports">one review</a> as “the kind of music one might hear in heaven”.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vNwYtllyt3Q"></iframe></div> <p><strong>2</strong> Pieds-en-L'Air, from <a href="https://arielmusic.co.uk/product/capriol-suite/">Capriol Suite</a>, by Peter Warlock, a composer and former music critic. Known for his unconventional lifestyle, he died in 1930, aged 36. His musical legacy includes this soft and slow classical piece with a melody reminiscent of songs we may have heard as children.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZMyS1G8NWnY"></iframe></div> <p><strong>3</strong> <a href="https://open.spotify.com/track/56FjSa3QWnDE6CxjFTp9rH">Om Namah Shivaya</a> by Deva Premal. The vocals of Premal and supporting music made by her partner Mital hark back to evocative chants from times past. The slow pace and almost hypnotic music combined with her clear vocals feel very supportive.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eUqe31ojZBU"></iframe> <p><strong>4</strong> <a href="https://www.smoothradio.com/features/adele-someone-like-you-lyrics-meaning-facts/">Someone Like You</a> by Adele. While this hugely successful song explores the issue of loss, the slow tempo and cool accompaniment is found by many to offer a sense of calm and reflection. It has <a href="https://slate.com/culture/2012/02/someone-like-you-makes-us-cry-scientists-explain-why.html">been claimed</a> that the piece’s emotional strength is due to small, unexpected changes in the melody or “ornamental notes”, which create a melancholic tension.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hLQl3WQQoQ0"></iframe></div> <p><strong>5</strong> <a href="https://www.classicfm.com/composers/einaudi/music/i-giorni/">I Giorni</a>, by Ludovico Einaudi, an Italian pianist and composer who has written numerous film soundtracks. This piano piece, with its repetitive motifs and steady tempo, evokes a dreamlike state with moments of light and brightness.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uffjii1hXzU"></iframe></div> <p><strong>6</strong> <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/in-paradisum-9780193418042?cc=gb&amp;lang=en&amp;">In Paradisum</a>, by Gabriel Fauré, a French composer who gained great popularity in his lifetime, but suffered from deafness in his later years. In this piece, from his Requiem, the choir and organ accompaniment provide a feeling of serenity.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6-i1ESIRKdA"></iframe></div> <p><strong>7</strong> <a href="https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&amp;rls=en&amp;q=Stopover+at+Djibouti&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8">Stopover at Djibouti</a> by Anouar Ibrahem, a Tunisian oud player and composer. He is widely acclaimed as an innovator in his field, fusing Arab classical music, folk music and jazz. This world jazz piece has hypnotic motifs that can seem almost meditative.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/c2S8LpvZrnQ"></iframe></div> <p><strong>8</strong> <a href="https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&amp;rls=en&amp;ei=hq7OXekQpYbV8A_vxaUw&amp;q=stefan+nilsson+composer+wilmas+tema&amp;oq=stefan+nilsson+composer+wilm&amp;gs_l=psy-ab.3.0.33i22i29i30.2182.3289..4456...0.0..0.99.402.5......0....1..gws-wiz.......0i22i30.I3sNgC11uJY">Wilma’s Theme</a> by Stefan Nilsson, a Swedish composer and pianist who is well known in is home country. This piece, which seems somehow familiar, has a simple melody and harmonies that provide a safe landing place.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ytBW9x6Zvcc"></iframe></div> <p>This list offers some suggestions of music that could be used to help people relax. A favourite of mine, which I haven’t included, is the slow movement from JS Bach’s Double Violin Concerto. It never fails to give me a sense of feeling safe and grounded, something that can be so important when we may be feeling anxious.</p> <p>It should be said, though, that many <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0218017">studies</a> emphasise the importance of finding your own selection of music that works for you. Whatever your musical taste is, you have the edge on any prescribed playlist in finding what is best for you.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/121655/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/elizabeth-coombes-754445">Elizabeth Coombes</a>, Senior Lecturer in Music Therapy, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-wales-1586">University of South Wales</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/anxiety-a-playlist-to-calm-the-mind-from-a-music-therapist-121655">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Rod Stewart confirms fall out with long-time pal Elton John

<p>Longtime pals Elton John and Rod Stewart have had a falling out after a seemingly innocent joke didn’t take very well. </p> <p>Rod told a Scottish radio station he had made a harmless joke after it was announced in March of last year that Elton John was having a<span> </span><em>Farwell Yellow Brick Road </em>tour. </p> <p>The<span> </span><em>Maggie May</em><span> </span>rocker suggested Elton’s farewell jaunts were becoming somewhat of a habit - after he performed another show three years earlier, dubbed<span> </span><em>The Final Curtain. </em></p> <p>"I did email her (Elton) and said: 'What, again, dear?'" Rod said. </p> <p>"And I didn't hear anything back."</p> <p>Rod revealed the comments he made landed in him hot water with John. saying: "I do love Elton, only we're not talking at the moment. We've had a spat."</p> <p>“...I criticised his tour as being money-grabbing."</p> <p>The pair's disagreement ramped up last year, when Sailing star Rod said Elton's retirement tour "stinks of selling tickets".</p> <p>"It's dishonest. It's not rock 'n' roll," he added.</p> <p>The star also slammed the box office smash musical biopic<span> </span>Rocketman, which told the story of Elton's life, suggesting it "didn't quite live up to" Queen movie Bohemian Rhapsody, which he labelled as a "great rock 'n' roll film".</p> <p>Rod previously told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/mailonsunday/index.html" target="_blank">Britain's Mail on Sunday's</a></em><span> </span>Event magazine he admits he was "a bit unfair" to his friend of over 40 years.</p> <p>“I wish I hadn't said it. I think he's very upset with me. (Wife) Penny keeps saying, 'Send him an apology.' So I should really."</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see Rod Stewart and Elton John over the years. </p>

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Why you turn down the radio when you're trying to park your car

<p>You’re driving down an unfamiliar street on a clear spring evening. You’ve been invited to a friend of a friend’s party, at a house you’ve never been to before.</p> <p>Tracking the street numbers, you see you’re getting close, so you (almost automatically) turn the radio down. Finally, with all that music out of the way, you might actually be able to <em>see</em> the house.</p> <p>Why is it that Cardi B must be silenced so you can better see the address of your party? For that matter, why do we have a convention to read silently when in a library?</p> <p>One response might be: “When we need to concentrate a little more, like when we’re looking for a house in the dark, we often try to get rid of distractions so we can focus.”</p> <p>This answer is intuitively appealing. It’s also exactly the kind of answer cognitive psychologists try to avoid.</p> <p>The words <em>concentrate</em>, <em>distractions</em>, and <em>focus</em> all point towards something (attention) that is left undefined. Rather than detailing its properties and how it works, we just assume people intuitively know what it means.</p> <p>This is a little circular, like a dictionary using a word in its own definition.</p> <p><strong>Hashtag nofilter</strong></p> <p>When you have a problem that seems inseparable from intuition, one way to get a handle on it is to a use a metaphor.</p> <p>One of the most important metaphors for attention was provided by psychologist Donald Broadbent in 1958: <a href="http://www.communicationcache.com/uploads/1/0/8/8/10887248/d_e._broadbent_-_perception_and_communication_1958.pdf">attention acts like a filter</a>. In his metaphor, all sensory information – everything we see, hear, feel on our skin, and so on – is retained in the mind for a very short period simply as physical sensation (a colour in a location, a tone in the left ear).</p> <p>But when it comes to bringing meaning to that sensory information, Broadbent argued, we have limited capacity. So attention is the filter that determines which parts of the torrent of incoming sensation are processed.</p> <p>It might seem like this broad description of a filter doesn’t buy us much in terms of explanation. Yet, sadly for Broadbent, he gave just enough detail to be proven incorrect.</p> <p>A year after the publication of Broadbent’s book, the psychologist <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1080/17470215908416289">Neville Moray found</a> that when people are listening to two simultaneous streams of speech and asked to concentrate on just one of them, many can still detect their own name if it pops up in the other stream.</p> <p>This suggests that even when you’re not paying attention, some sensory information is still processed and given meaning (that a mass of sounds is our name). What does that tell us about how this central bottleneck of attention might act?</p> <p><strong>Radar love</strong></p> <p>One answer comes from <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225765926_Divided_attention_between_simultaneous_auditory_and_visual_signals">a remarkable 1998 study</a> by Anne-Marie Bonnel and Ervin Hafter. It builds upon one of the most successful theories in all psychology, <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/signal-detection-theory">signal detection theory</a>, which describes how people make decisions based on ambiguous sensory information, rather like how a radar might detect a plane.</p> <p>One of the basic problems of radar detection is to work out whether it is more likely that what is being detected is a signal (an enemy plane) or just random noise. This problem is the same for human perception.</p> <p>Although apparently a metaphor like Broadbent’s filter, signal detection theory can be evaluated mathematically. The mathematics of human identification, it turns out, largely match those of radar operation.</p> <p><strong>A perfect circle</strong></p> <p>Bonnel and Hafter recognised that if people have a finite amount of attention to divide between vision and hearing, you could expect to see a particular pattern in certain experiments.</p> <p>Imagine attention as an arrow of a fixed length that can swing back and forth between sight and hearing. When it’s pointing entirely towards sight, there’s no room for any focus on hearing (and vice versa). But if a little attention is taken up by hearing, that means there is less directed towards sight. If you graph this relationship, the tip of the arrow will draw a neat circle as it swings from one to the other.</p> <p>Sure enough, the data from their experiments did indeed form a circle, but only in a certain case. When people were asked simply to <em>detect</em> whether a stimulus was present, there was no trade-off (paying more attention to vision did not change hearing performance and vice versa). It was only when people were asked to <em>identify</em> the specific stimulus that this circle appeared.</p> <p>This suggests that while do we indeed have a limited capacity to process information, this is only the case when we’re processing the information for meaning, rather than being aware of its presence.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25222469">own research</a> suggests this pattern indicates some deeper constraint at the heart of the way we perceive the world.</p> <p>The circle represents a fundamental limit on processing. We can never leave that circle, all we can do is move forwards or backwards along it by choosing to focus our attention.</p> <p>When our visual task becomes difficult – like finding a house number in the dark rather than simply scanning the road – we move along that circle to optimise the signal from our visual system. In many cases, we can only do that by turning down the input to our auditory system, by literally turning down the radio. Sorry, Cardi B.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126263/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-lilburn-871974">Simon Lilburn</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/philip-smith-879796">Philip Smith</a>, Professor of Psychology, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/turn-down-for-what-why-you-turn-down-the-radio-when-youre-trying-to-park-your-car-126263">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Céline Dion originally didn't want to record hit song My Heart Will Go On

<p>It apparently took a little coaxing to get Céline Dion to get on board with the soundtrack to the 1997 film <em>Titanic</em>.</p> <p>On a chat with Andy Cohen on <em><a href="https://youtu.be/conBmLdtUEw">Watch What Happens Live</a></em>, Dion admitted that she wasn’t initially a fan of <em>My Heart Will Go On</em>.</p> <p>“It is true,” she confirmed to Cohen, 51, and his audience members, after being asked about her original thoughts on the song, adding that she’s “glad they didn’t listen to me” and recorded the song anyway.</p> <p>“It didn’t appeal to me. I was probably very tired that day — <em>very</em> tired,” Dion continued. “My husband [the late René Angélil] said, ‘Let’s hold on.’ He talked to the writer and he said, ‘Let’s try to make it, like, a little demo.'”</p> <p>“I sang the song once and they built the orchestra around it. I never re-sang it for the recording. So the demo is the actual recording,” she recalled, joking, “But after that, I’ve sang it about three gazillion times.”</p> <p>The song debuted at Number 1 on the <em>Billboard</em> Hot 100 chart on February 28<sup>th</sup>, 1998 and propelled the soundtrack of the film to a 16-week run at the top spot. The album sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and won Best Original Song at the 1998 Academy Awards and won a Grammy Award for Record of The Year.</p> <p>However, Dion has since come around to the song and says that it now “means a lot to me”.</p> <p>“This song means a lot to me, and it has played such a huge role in my career,” <a href="https://people.com/music/billboard-music-awards-2017-celine-dion-performs-my-heart-will-go-on/">she said in a statement prior</a> to the ceremony that year. “I’m so grateful to the late James Horner, and to Will Jennings, for writing it and creating the opportunity for me to be part of <em>Titanic — </em>an amazing film whose legacy will continue for generations to come.”</p>

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KISS surprise fans and cancel Australian tour days before it was meant to begin

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rock legends KISS have cancelled their planned farewell tour of Australia just days before it was meant to begin.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">KISS fans have been through a whirlwind, as the group rescheduled the first date of the tour three days before announcing the cancellation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is due to the founding member and guitarist Paul Stanley’s ill health, and the new start date of the tour would have been the 19</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">th</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of November in Adelaide.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the band decided to pull the plug on the entire tour.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“TEG Live and One World Entertainment, the promoters of KISS, regrets to advise the November/December tour has been cancelled,” a </span><a href="https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=KISS19"><span style="font-weight: 400;">statement released</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> reads.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Earlier this week it was announced that U.S doctors had advised Paul Stanley to rest due to a bad case of influenza, prompting the rescheduling of the tour’s first show in Perth to the end of the run and the cancellation of New Zealand. It was hoped the extra few days rest would allow Stanley the chance for a complete recovery so the tour could proceed as planned.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“However unfortunately this has not occurred. Stanley has an additional infection in his throat requiring complete vocal rest and medication for at least two weeks and possibly longer.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The news has devastated the loyal fanbase, as the tour has been billed as the last-ever Australian tour for KISS.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Words cannot begin to convey our massive disappointment in having to cancel our </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">End Of The Road</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> tour of your incredible country. Our connection to you is unparalleled and decades deep,” Stanley said in a statement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We waited as long as we could and held out hope to the last minute that my situation would clear up and we would be able to march forward. Doctor’s orders ultimately have taken precedence and finally we now find ourselves with no choice but to surrender. With heavy hearts, KISS.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Information on refunds for the KISS tour can be found </span><a href="https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=KISS19"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and those who purchased tickets via card can expect full refunds in their accounts within 14 days. </span></p>

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“Too frail to get out of bed”: Elton John shares Freddie Mercury’s last days before passing away

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sir Elton John has shared on Queen legend Freddie Mercury’s final days before he passed away of AIDS at the age of 45.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">John explained in his new book </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Me: Elton John</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that Mercury kept his illness a secret from him.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I visited him a lot when he was dying, although I could never stay for much longer than an hour,” John remembered.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It was too upsetting – I didn’t think he wanted me to see him like that."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He also detailed Mercury’s appearance.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"He was too frail to get out of bed, he was losing his sight, his body was covered in Kaposi's sarcoma lesions, and yet he was still definitely Freddie, gossiping away, completely outrageous.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I couldn’t work out whether he didn’t realise how close to death he was or if he knew perfectly well but was determined not to let what was happening to him stop him being himself."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">John discusses how Mercury also helped him get sober, as they pointedly told John he was overdoing it on cocaine at the height of his addiction in the 1980s.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He has now been clean for nearly three decades.</span></p>

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“He was proud”: George Michael’s sister rejects Elton John’s claim that Michael was “uncomfortable” being gay

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">George Michael’s sister has hit back at Sir Elton John’s claims that the late singer was uncomfortable with his sexuality.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">John made the comments to Sharon Osbourne on her US TV show The Talk, according to </span><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/10208853/elton-john-george-michael-died-gay/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sun</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“He couldn’t get it, George. And he resented the fact I had hinted that maybe he change his life a little bit and he’d be happier if he tried something else.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The person has actually got to want it. It’s like me in the end. I really wanted it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I had two alternatives: one to die, and one to live, and I wanted to live,” John said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">John also said that Michael was “so uncomfortable in his skin about being gay even though he said he wasn’t.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Michael’s sister Melanie Panayiotou said that George was “my ‘very proud to be gay’ brother, contrary to what you may have read recently”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Michael’s sister is referencing some of Michael’s most famous solo work, as it was speaking about his sexuality.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He later said in an </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/dec/26/george-michael-lgbt-rights-i-never-had-a-problem-with-being-gay"><span style="font-weight: 400;">interview</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that he never had a “moral problem” being gay.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I never had a moral problem with being gay.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I thought I had fallen in love with a woman a couple of times. Then I fell in love with a man, and realised that none of those things had been love.”</span></p>

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"I was terrified": Elton John recalls performing sober for the first time

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Iconic singer Sir Elton John has revealed that he was worried he wouldn’t be able to perform sober after taking a year off music to get treatment for his addiction issues back in 1990.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He attended Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in order to get sober but admitted going back to performing was difficult.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He spoke to </span><a href="https://variety.com/2019/music/news/elton-john-sober-addiction-recovery-1203392566/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Variety</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">’s</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> recovery issue about the fear he was facing. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“After I finally surrendered and decided to seek treatment for my addiction, there came a point when I wondered if I would ever go back to work as Elton John again. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“But at that time, I wasn’t thinking too much about being an artist. I had reached the lowest ebb in my life – the absolute bottom. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I hated myself so much. I was consumed with shame. All I wanted to do was get well. I put all of the energy I had left toward my recovery.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">John made a point of clearing his diary in order to give him time to focus on his recovery but realised there was one charity concert he didn’t want to back out of.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BoULFFHloU_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BoULFFHloU_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Elton John (@eltonjohn)</a> on Sep 29, 2018 at 8:33am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This made him realise that he would be able to perform again. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“When the day arrived, I was terrified, but I did manage to get through the performance. It was the only time I stepped on a stage that year, and I had to do it on my own without the band. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In retrospect, I’m glad I went straight in at the deep end… That show gave me confidence to know that I could still perform sober.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">John went onto write his 1992 album </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The One</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and worked on </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Lion King</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> soundtrack for which he won an Oscar after his treatment.</span></p>

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How this New Zealand songbird provides insights into cognitive evolution

<p>When we think about animals storing food, the image that usually comes to mind is a squirrel busily hiding nuts for the winter.</p> <p>We don’t usually think of a small songbird taking down an enormous invertebrate, tearing it into pieces and hiding these titbits in the branches of trees to snack on later in the day. But this is also a form of caching behaviour, where food is handled and stored for later consumption.</p> <p>For caching animals, the ability to recall where food is hidden is crucial for survival. My <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960982219303252">research</a> into the spatial memory performance of a caching songbird, the New Zealand robin (<em>Petroica longipes</em>), shows male birds with superior memory abilities also have better breeding success.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/298439/original/file-20191024-119449-v1ha09.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em> <span class="caption">Male toutouwai with better spacial memory also raise more chicks.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Supplied</span>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/" class="license">CC BY-ND</a></span></em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Why memory matters</strong></p> <p>There’s no argument that New Zealand is home to a host of unusual birds, including the nocturnal, flightless parrot kākāpō (<em>Strigops habroptila</em>), or the hihi (<em>Notiomystis cincta</em>), the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1474-919X.1996.tb08834.x">only bird in the world known to mate face to face</a>.</p> <p>By outward appearances, the small, grey toutouwai (Māori name for <em>P. longipes</em>) is not particularly remarkable. But its noteworthy behaviour includes <a href="https://www.doc.govt.nz/globalassets/documents/science-and-technical/docts13.pdf">feasting on some of the world’s largest invertebrates</a>. There is only so much of a 30cm earthworm a 30g bird can eat, and rather than waste the leftovers, toutouwai will cache any surplus prey they don’t want to eat immediately.</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/298440/original/file-20191024-119463-1bfg3en.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span class="caption">Toutouwai are the only known caching species in New Zealand.</span></em></p> <p>An accurate <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110512-135904">spatial memory is therefore crucial</a> for recovering caches and it has long been assumed that spatial memory is under <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2919184">strong selection pressure in caching species</a>.</p> <p>For selection to act on a trait, there must be individual variation that is passed onto offspring and that influences survival and reproduction. While researchers had looked at how spatial memory influences <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960982219300077">winter survival in caching mountain chickadees</a>, no one had examined whether memory performance influences reproductive success in any caching species. Our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960982219303252">research</a> tackles this issue.</p> <p><strong>Measuring memory in the wild</strong></p> <p>We measured the spatial memory performance of 63 wild toutouwai during winter. We gave the birds a circular puzzle that had a mealworm treat hidden inside one of eight compartments. For each bird, we put the puzzle at the same location in their territory several times in a single day, with the food always hidden in the same spot.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/765/spatial_test.gif?1571875385" alt="" width="100%" /> <em><span class="caption">Wild toutouwai looking for a hidden mealworm treat.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source"> SOURCE </span></span></em></p> <p>Over time, toutouwai learned the location of the hidden treat and began opening fewer compartments to find the mealworm. We then followed these same birds through the next breeding season and looked at whether their spatial memory performance (measured as the number of compartments they had to open to find the mealworm) was linked to their ability to feed chicks, and whether it influenced the survival of their offspring.</p> <p>Our results suggested that spatial memory performance influences reproductive success in toutouwai. Males with more accurate memory performance successfully raised more offspring per nest and fed larger prey to chicks.</p> <p>By contrast, we did not find the same patterns for females. This is the first evidence that spatial memory is linked to reproductive fitness in a food caching species.</p> <p><strong>Evolving intelligence</strong></p> <p>If there is such a great benefit for males in having an accurate recall of locations, why aren’t all males the best they can possibly be in terms of spatial memory performance? In other words, why didn’t all the male toutouwai we tested ace our memory task?</p> <p>Intriguingly, our results suggest a role for conflict between the sexes in maintaining variation in cognitive ability. We found no effect of memory performance on female reproductive success, suggesting that the cognitive abilities that influence reproductive behaviour may well differ for females.</p> <p>Such a difference between the sexes would ultimately constrain the effect of selection on male spatial memory, preventing strong directional selection from giving rise to uniformly exceptional memory in our toutouwai population.</p> <p>Our work produced some tantalising evidence for both the causes and consequences of variation in cognitive ability, but it also raises several more questions. For example, while we’ve shown that memory performance matters for males, we still need to examine how it influences caching behaviour.</p> <p>Another mystery that remains is why spatial memory ability may have less of an influence on female toutouwai fitness. One possibility is that longer-term spatial memory for specific locations (rather than the short-term memory we measured) may matter more for female reproduction, because females do all of the nest building and incubation.</p> <p>So far, we’ve only provided one piece of the puzzle. To get the full picture of how cognition evolves, we have many more avenues left to explore.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125304/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-shaw-764893">Rachael Shaw</a>, Rutherford Discovery Fellow, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/victoria-university-of-wellington-1200">Victoria University of Wellington</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-small-new-zealand-songbird-that-hides-food-for-later-use-provides-insights-into-cognitive-evolution-125304">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Elton John postpones concert days after mother-in-law’s death

<p><span>Elton John announced that he would be postponing his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour in Indianapolis due to illness hours before the show on Saturday.</span></p> <p><span>“To my dear fans in Indianapolis, it is with the heaviest heart that I’m forced to deliver the news that I am extremely unwell and therefore unable to perform at [Bankers Life Fieldhouse] tonight,” the 72-year-old said in a statement.</span></p> <p><span>“I absolutely hate to let my fans down, but I owe it to you to put on the best #EltonFarewellTour show possible and unfortunately that’s simply not possible.”</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4GJcMkjVVw/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4GJcMkjVVw/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">To my dear fans in Indianapolis, it is with the heaviest heart that I'm forced to deliver the news that I am extremely unwell and therefore unable to perform at @bankerslifefieldhouse tonight. I absolutely hate to let my fans down, but I owe it to you to put on the best #EltonFarewellTour show possible and unfortunately that's simply not possible. The date will be rearranged for March 26th 2020, and I promise I will deliver the show you deserve. Thank you so much for your support and understanding. xx</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/eltonjohn/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Elton John</a> (@eltonjohn) on Oct 26, 2019 at 2:12pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>The gig has been rescheduled for March 26, 2020, organisers said.</span></p> <p><span>“We do apologise for any inconvenience caused by this necessary change and wish Elton a speedy recovery.”</span></p> <p><span>The news came a day after the singer’s partner David Furnish announced his mother’s death on Friday.</span></p> <p><span>“She passed away peacefully in the middle of the night, with me and my brothers by her side,” Furnish wrote on an Instagram post.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4BYZMGlJhi/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4BYZMGlJhi/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Today I lost my beautiful, angelic Mother. She passed away peacefully in the middle of the night, with me and my brothers by her side. Mum radiated gentle kindness. She was utterly devoted to her family. We all richly benefitted from her patient wisdom and bountiful love. I treasure this photo of Mum and Dad on their wedding day - bursting with joy and fresh-faced optimism over their union and the life they planned to build together. They shared the greatest love I have ever known; A rock-solid foundation from which my brothers and I flourished. Rest in peace Mum. You lived your life impeccably. I will never forget you. I promise to do my best to pass the gifts you gave to me on to my own beautiful sons.</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/davidfurnish/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> David Furnish</a> (@davidfurnish) on Oct 24, 2019 at 5:46pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote>

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Elton John reveals furious row with Tina Turner in new autobiography

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sir Elton John has revealed in his new autobiography </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Me</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> about the tough times he went through with singer Tina Turner. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The two legends united for a joint tour in 1997, but tensions quickly rose and eventually Elton told Tina to “shove her song up her f***ing a**e”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In an extract from the book, which has been serialised in the </span><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-7551955/Elton-Uncensored-Tinas-tantrum-simply-best.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Daily Mail</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Elton revealed that he was particularly upset after some suggestions from Tina. The suggestions included swapping his Versace for Armani outfits so he would look “less fat” and that he should update his hairstyle.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I got off the phone and burst into tears: ‘She sounded like my f***ing mother,’ I wailed at David.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Things didn’t get better in rehearsals. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The subsequent debate about whether I knew how to play </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Proud Mary</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> became quite heated, before I brought it to a conclusion by telling Tina Turner to stick her f*****g song up her a**e and stormed off,” Elton added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’ve thrown plenty of tantrums in my time, but there are limits: there’s an unspoken rule that musicians don’t treat their fellow musicians like s***.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, Elton has had time to reflect on why Tina was acting like that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Maybe it was insecurity on her part. She’d been treated appallingly earlier in her career, suffered years and years of being ripped off, beaten up and pushed around. Maybe that had an effect on how she behaved towards people,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Later, once Elton had calmed down, he went to Tina’s dressing room to apologise.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The argument made the pair realise that they had different performance styles, as Elton preferred to improvise, and Tina wanted to rehearse every detail.</span></p>

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Why traditional Persian music should be known to the world

<p><span>Weaving through the rooms of my Brisbane childhood home, carried on the languid, humid, sub-tropical air, was the sound of an Iranian tenor singing 800-year old Persian poems of love. I was in primary school, playing cricket in the streets, riding a BMX with the other boys, stuck at home reading during the heavy rains typical of Queensland.</span></p> <p><span>I had an active, exterior life that was lived on Australian terms, suburban, grounded in English, and easy-going. At the same time, thanks to my mother’s listening habits, courtesy of the tapes and CDs she bought back from trips to Iran, my interior life was being invisibly nourished by something radically other, by a soundscape invoking a world beyond the mundane, and an aesthetic dimension rooted in a sense of transcendence and spiritual longing for the Divine.</span></p> <p><span>I was listening to traditional Persian music (museghi-ye sonnati). This music is the indigenous music of Iran, although it is also performed and maintained in Persian-speaking countries such as Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It has ancient connections to traditional Indian music, as well as more recent ones to Arabic and Turkish modal music.</span></p> <p><span>It is a world-class art that incorporates not only performance but also the science and theory of music and sound. It is, therefore, a body of knowledge, encoding a way of knowing the world and being. The following track is something of what I might have heard in my childhood:</span></p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/50N647sZbg8"></iframe></div> <p>Playing kamancheh, a bowed spike-fiddle, is Kayhān Kalhor, while the singer is the undisputed master of vocals in Persian music, <em>ostād</em> (meaning “maestro”) <a href="http://www.iranchamber.com/music/mshajarian/mohammad_reza_shajarian.php">Mohammad Reza Shajarian</a>. He is singing in the classical vocal style, <em>āvāz</em>, that is the heart of this music.</p> <p>A non-metric style placing great creative demands on singers, <em>āvāz</em> is improvised along set melodic lines memorised by heart. Without a fixed beat, the vocalist sings with rhythms resembling speech, but speech heightened to an intensified state. This style bears great similarity to the <a href="https://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart378.htm">sean-nos style of Ireland</a>, which is also ornamented and non-rhythmic, although <em>sean-nos</em> is totally unaccompanied, unlike Persian <em>āvāz</em> in which the singer is often accompanied by a single stringed instrument.</p> <p>A somewhat more unorthodox example of <em>āvāz</em> is the following, sung by Alireza Ghorbāni with a synthesised sound underneath his voice rather than any Persian instrument. It creates a hypnotic effect.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HRsarOFFCTI"></iframe></div> <p>Even listeners unfamiliar with Persian music should be able to hear the intensity in the voices of Ghorbāni and Shajarian. Passion is paramount, but passion refined and sublimated so that longing and desire break through ordinary habituated consciousness to point to something unlimited, such as an overwhelming sense of the beyond.</p> <p><strong>Beyond media contrived images</strong></p> <p>The traditional poetry and music of Iran aim to create a threshold space, a zone of mystery; a psycho-emotional terrain of suffering, melancholy, death and loss, but also of authentic joy, ecstasy, and hope.</p> <p>Iranians have tasted much suffering throughout their history, and are wary of being stripped of their identity. Currently, <a href="https://theconversation.com/risk-of-shooting-war-with-iran-grows-after-decades-of-economic-warfare-by-the-us-119272">economic sanctions are being re-applied to Iran’s entire civilian population</a>, depriving millions of ordinary people of <a href="https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/08/14/u-s-sanctions-are-killing-cancer-patients-in-iran/">medicine and essentials</a>.</p> <p>Traditional Persian music matters in this context of escalating aggression because it is a rich, creative artform, still living and cherished. It binds Iranians in a shared culture that constitutes the authentic life of the people and the country, as opposed to the contrived image of Iran presented in Western media that begins and ends with politics.</p> <p>This is a thoroughly soulful music, akin not in form but in soulfulness with artists such as John Coltrane or Van Morrison. In the Persian tradition, music is not only for pleasure, but has a transformative purpose. Sound is meant to effect a change in the listener’s consciousness, to bring them into a spiritual state (<em>hāl</em>).</p> <p>Like other ancient systems, in the Persian tradition the perfection of the formal structures of beautiful music is believed to come from God, as in the Pythagorean phrase, the “music of the spheres.”</p> <p>Because traditional Persian music has been heavily influenced by Sufism, the mystical aspect of Islam, many rhythmic performances (<em>tasnif</em>, as opposed to <em>āvāz</em>) can (distantly) recall the sounds of Sufi musical ceremonies (<em>sama</em>), with forceful, trance-inducing rhythms. (For instance in this <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzjPC2R3EOg">Rumi performance</a> by Alireza Eftekhari).</p> <p>Even when slow, traditional Persian music is still passionate and ardent in mood, such as this performance of Rumi by Homayoun Shajarian, son of Mohammad-Reza:</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NQQIEUDe6Qo"></iframe></div> <p>Another link with traditional Celtic music is the grief that runs through Persian music, as can be heard in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIUEii-r-pY">this instrumental</a> by Kalhor.</p> <p>Grief and sorrow always work in tandem with joy and ecstasy to create soundscapes that evoke longing and mystery.</p> <p><strong>Connections with classical poetry</strong></p> <p>The work of classical poets such as Rumi, Hāfez, Sa’di, Attār, and Omar Khayyām forms the lyrical basis of compositions in traditional Persian music. The rhythmic structure of the music is based on the prosodic system that poetry uses (<em>aruz</em>), a cycle of short and long syllables.</p> <p>Singers must therefore be masters not only at singing but know Persian poetry and its metrical aspects intimately. Skilled vocalists must be able to interpret poems. Lines or phrases can be extended or repeated, or enhanced with vocal ornaments.</p> <p>Thus, even for a Persian speaker who knows the poems being sung, Persian music can still reveal new interpretations. Here, for example (from 10:00 to 25:00 mins) is another example of Rumi by M.R. Shajarian:</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fYmJIGJRJkw"></iframe></div> <p>This is a charity concert from 2003 in Bam, Iran, after a horrendous earthquake destroyed the town. Rumi’s poem is renowned among Persian speakers, but here Mohammad-Reza Shajarian sings it with such passion and emotional intensity that it sounds fresh and revelatory.</p> <p>“Without everyone else it’s possible,” Rumi says, “Without you life is not liveable.”</p> <p>While such lines are originally drawn from the tradition of non-religious love poems, in Rumi’s poems the address to the beloved becomes mystical, otherworldly. After a tragedy such as the earthquake, these lyrics can take on special urgency in the present.</p> <p>When people listen to traditional music, they, like the singers, remain still. Audiences are transfixed and transported.</p> <p>According to Sufi cosmology, all melodious sounds erupt forth from a world of silence. In Sufism, silence is the condition of the innermost chambers of the human heart, its core (<em>fuad</em>), which is likened to a throne from which the Divine Presence radiates.</p> <p>Because of this connection with the intelligence and awareness of the heart, many performers of traditional Persian music understand that it must be played through self-forgetting, as beautifully explained here by master Amir Koushkani:</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/R7ZRuEKL5lI"></iframe></div> <p>Persian music has roughly twelve modal systems, each known as a <em>dastgah</em>. Each dastgah collects melodic models that are skeletal frameworks upon which performers improvise in the moment. The spiritual aspect of Persian music is made most manifest in this improvisation.</p> <p>Shajarian has said that the core of traditional music is concentration (<em>tamarkoz</em>), by which he means not only the mind but the whole human awareness. It is a mystical and contemplative music.</p> <p>The highly melodic nature of Persian music also facilitates expressiveness. Unlike Western classical music, there is very sparing use of harmony. This, and the fact that like other world musical traditions it includes microtonal intervals, may make traditional Persian music odd at first listen for Western audiences.</p> <p>Solo performances are important to traditional Persian music. In a concert, soloists may be accompanied by another instrument with a series of call-and-response type echoes and recapitulations of melodic phrases.</p> <p>Similarly, here playing the barbat, a Persian variant of the oud, maestro Hossein Behrooznia shows how percussion and plucked string instruments can forge interwoven melodic structures that create hypnotic soundscapes:</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UDYsDzphlIU"></iframe></div> <p><strong>Ancient roots</strong></p> <p>The roots of traditional Persian music go back to ancient pre-Islamic Persian civilisation, with archaeological evidence of arched harps (a harp in the shape of a bow with a sound box at the lower end), having been used in rituals in Iran as early as 3100BC.</p> <p>Under the pre-Islamic Parthian (247BC-224AD) and Sasanian (224-651AD) kingdoms, in addition to musical performances on Zoroastrian holy days, music was elevated to an aristocratic art at royal courts.</p> <p>Centuries after the Sasanians, after the Arab invasion of Iran, Sufi metaphysics brought a new spiritual intelligence to Persian music. Spiritual substance is transmitted through rhythm, metaphors and symbolism, melodies, vocal delivery, instrumentation, composition, and even the etiquette and co-ordination of performances.</p> <p>The main instruments used today go back to ancient Iran. Among others, there is the tār, the six-stringed fretted lute; ney, the vertical reed flute that is important to Rumi’s poetry as a symbol of the human soul crying out in joy or grief; daf, a frame drum important in Sufi ritual; and the setār, a wooden four-stringed lute.</p> <p>The tār, made of mulberry wood and stretch lambskin, is used to create vibrations that affect the heart and the body’s energies and a central instrument for composition. It is <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrCnIGqKLsI">played here</a> by master Hossein Alizadeh and here by master <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg1kXrkUqdk">Dariush Talai</a>.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sg1kXrkUqdk"></iframe></div> <p><strong>Music, gardens, and beauty</strong></p> <p>Traditional Persian music not only cross-pollinates with poetry, but with other arts and crafts. At its simplest, this means performing with traditional dress and carpets on stage. In a more symphonic mode of production, an overflow of beauty can be created, such as in this popular and enchanting performance by the group Mahbanu:</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i7XSBtWVyFs"></iframe></div> <p>They perform in a garden: of course. Iranians love gardens, which have a deeply symbolic and spiritual meaning as a sign or manifestation of Divine splendour. Our word paradise, in fact, comes from the Ancient Persian word, <em>para-daiza</em>, meaning “walled garden”. The walled garden, tended and irrigated, represents in Persian tradition the cultivation of the soul, an inner garden or inner paradise.</p> <p>The traditional costumes of the band (as with much folk dress around the world) are elegant, colourful, resplendent, yet also modest. The lyrics are tinged with Sufi thought, the poet-lover lamenting the distance of the beloved but proclaiming the sufficiency of staying in unconsumed desire.</p> <p>As a young boy, I grasped the otherness of Persian music intuitively. I found its timeless spiritual beauty and interiority had no discernible connection with my quotidian, material Australian existence.</p> <p>Persian music and arts, like other traditional systems, gives a kind of “food” for the soul and spirit that has been destroyed in the West by the dominance of rationalism and capitalism. For 20 years since my boyhood, traditional Persian culture has anchored my identity, healed and replenished my wounded heart, matured my soul, and allowed me to avoid the sense of being without roots in which so many unfortunately find themselves today.</p> <p>It constitutes a world of beauty and wisdom that is a rich gift to the whole world, standing alongside Irano-Islamic <a href="http://gravity.ir/galleries/ceilings/">architecture</a> and Iranian <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1372">garden design</a>.</p> <p>The problem is the difficulty of sharing this richness with the world. In an age of hypercommunication, why is the beauty of Persian music (or the beauty of traditional arts of many other cultures for that matter) so rarely disseminated? Much of the fault lies with corporate media.</p> <p><strong>Brilliant women</strong></p> <p>Mahbanu, who can also be heard <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f7ACBUihYQ">here</a> performing a well-known Rumi poem, are mostly female. But readers will very likely not have heard about them, or any of the other rising female musicians and singers of Persian music. According to master-teachers <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23313593-art-of-avaz-and-mohammad-reza-shajarian">such as Shajarian</a>, there are now often as many female students as male in traditional music schools such as his.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3f7ACBUihYQ"></iframe></div> <p>Almost everyone has seen however, through corporate media, the same cliched images of an angry mob of Iranians chanting, soldiers goose-stepping, missile launches, or leaders in rhetorical flight denouncing something. Ordinary Iranian people themselves are almost never heard from directly, and their creativity rarely shown.</p> <p>The lead singer of the Mahbanu group, Sahar Mohammadi, is a phenomenally talented singer of the <em>āvāz</em> style, as heard <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlwqvRVJNmk">here</a>, when she performs in the mournful <em>abu ata</em> mode. She may, indeed, be the best contemporary female vocalist. Yet she is unheard of outside of Iran and small circles of connoisseurs mainly in Europe.</p> <p>A list of outstanding modern Iranian women poets and musicians requires its own article. Here I will list some of the outstanding singers, very briefly. From an older generation we may mention the master Parisa (discussed below), and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIGvEp9O0kU">Afsaneh Rasaei</a>. Current singers of great talent include, among others, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISFVAr28kfY">Mahdieh Mohammadkhani</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_NBvKJtXAs">Homa Niknam</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRaqi21wGjk&amp;list=PLZ29lLxKFPPRqnahzXZk7U28qbY9NOFfh&amp;index=5&amp;t=0s">Mahileh Moradi</a>, and the mesmerising <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBbP5StcWEo">Sepideh Raissadat</a>.</p> <p>Finally, one of my favourites is the marvelous Haleh Seifizadeh, whose enchanting singing in a Moscow church suits the space perfectly.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nE6eQUBGbIU"></iframe></div> <p><strong>The beloved Shajarian</strong></p> <p>Tenor Mohammad-Reza Shajarian is by far the most beloved and renowned voice of traditional Persian music. To truly understand his prowess, we can listen to him performing a lyric of the 13th century poet Sa’di:</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uxMuK4vQ_Dk"></iframe></div> <p>As heard here, traditional Persian music is at once heavy and serious in its intent, yet expansive and tranquil in its effect. Shajarian begins by singing the word <em>Yār</em>, meaning “beloved”, with an ornamental trill. These trills, called <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG4Odw7Wu5U">tahrir</a>, are made by rapidly closing the glottis, effectively breaking the notes (the effect is reminiscent of Swiss yodeling).</p> <p>By singing rapidly and high in the vocal range, a virtuoso display of vocal prowess is created imitating <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TepTnlERuRo">a nightingale</a>, the symbol with whom the poet and singer are most compared in Persian traditional music and poetry. Nightingales symbolise the besotted, suffering, and faithful lover. (For those interested, Homayoun Shajarian, explains the technique <a href="https://youtu.be/KFSfBIFyr-w?t=5m45s">in this video</a>).</p> <p>As with many singers, the great Parisa, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pijq7AhqKf4">heard here in a wonderful concert</a> from pre-revolutionary Iran, learned her command of <em>tahrir</em> partly from Shajarian. With her voice in particular, the similarity to a nightingale’s trilling is clear.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pijq7AhqKf4"></iframe></div> <p><strong>Nourishing hearts and souls</strong></p> <p>The majority of Iran’s 80 million population are <a href="https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2009/06/why-does-iran-have-such-a-young-population.html">under 30 years of age</a>. Not all are involved in traditional culture. Some prefer to make hip-hop or heavy-metal, or theatre or cinema. Still, there are many young Iranians expressing themselves through poetry (the country’s most important artform) and traditional music.</p> <p>National and cultural identity for Iranians is marked by a sense of having a tradition, of being rooted in ancient origins, and of carrying something of great cultural significance from past generations, to be preserved for the future as repository of knowledge and wisdom. This precious thing that is handed down persists while political systems change.</p> <p>Iran’s traditional music carries messages of beauty, joy, sorrow and love from the heart of the Iranian people to the world. These messages are not simply of a national character, but universally human, albeit inflected by Iranian history and mentality.</p> <p>This is why traditional Persian music should be known to the world. Ever since its melodies first pierced my room in Brisbane, ever since it began to transport me to places of the spirit years ago, I’ve wondered if it could also perhaps nourish the hearts and souls of some of my fellow Australians, across the gulf of language, history, and time.</p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-why-traditional-persian-music-should-be-known-to-the-world-121240">original article</a>.</p>

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