What makes music beautiful?

January 20th, 2011 - 1:16 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 20 (ANI): A new research examines what is it about music that appeals to our senses.

The new study suggests that the brain simplifies complex patterns, much in the same way that ‘lossless’ music compression formats reduce audio files, by removing redundant data and identifying patterns.

Dr Nicholas Hudson used ‘lossless’ music compression programs to mimic the brain’s ability to condense audio information.

After comparing the amount of compressibility of random noise to a wide range of music including classical, techno, rock, and pop, he found that while random noise could only be compressed to 86 percent of its original file size, and techno, rock, and pop to about 60 percent, the apparently complex Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony compressed to 40 percent.

“Enduring musical masterpieces, despite apparent complexity, possess high compressibility” and that it is this compressibility that we respond to,” Nicholas said.

“So whether you are a die hard classicist or a pop diva it seems that we chose the music we prefer, not by simply listening to it, but by calculating its compressibility. For a composer - if you want immortality write music which sounds complex but that, in terms of its data, is reducible to simple patterns.”

The study is published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Research Notes. (ANI)

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