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Science Says People Who Play Music Are Uniquely Intelligent (Especially Drummers!)

Science Says People Who Play Music Are Uniquely Intelligent (Especially Drummers!)

Listen up drummers — no, really, you are going to want to hear this. Science says that you have a unique form of intelligence that is lacking in non-musicians. Also, science might even indicate that you “beat” out your other musically inclined counterparts (get it? Beat out?).

This study from July 2012 sheds some light for us.

The Experiment

People listened to music that was computer generated and music that was made by a real drum beat. The music completed by the real drummer contained small inconsistencies that were more favorable to the listeners than the computer.

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Scientists wanted to see if a computer would be able to recreate the small differences made by humans using a mathematical equation. This would “humaninze” the beat.

In order to gather data, a drummer from Ghana was recorded in the 1950s. The scientists set a metronome and had the drummer play along with the beat of the metronome.

The Results

The results showed that the drummer would occasionally get off the beat by a very small amount.

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The test showed that if a given beat from the drummer was played slightly ahead of the metronome, the beats to come were also likely to be played early. The slight outage lasted for several minutes.

When I say slight deviation, I mean less than the time it takes for a dragonfly to flap its wings. That’s not very long.

What Does This Mean?

This means that the brain of a musician seems to recognize the deviation and carry that through in a pattern to the end of the piece. They will hold the pattern in a long range correlation instead of stopping and resetting to the metronome. The brain beats to its own drum, if you will — oh, come now. I had to.

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To put it simply, musicians’ brains are able to keep time without matching to the metronome. This shows an ability to separate this task and isolate the beat made by the person. They don’t need to stop and restart like those of us with no sense of rhythm. This ability to keep time and gently correct means that they have an intelligence that others don’t have.

LRC (Long Range Correlation)

The long range correlation is present in more complex rhythms as well, in singing, pop music, and classical music. These things created by hands, feet, or voice all use this deviation from rhythm. This means that there are small deviations in the music that occur through the music. This deviation actually attracts listeners in a way that scientists can recreate with computers. To repeat: scientists with computers are unable to replicate the music to be as pleasing as the musicians were able to.

What About People With No Rhythm?

Not surprisingly, the long range correlation that drummers and other musicians use to hook listeners is missing from people who can’t keep a beat. The rhythmic timing and memory is missing. This makes the accuracy of drummers and musicians a distant dream for those (like me!) with no rhythm.

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Scientists are looking to find the mathematical laws that musicians automatically have when they self regulate the beats.

What Does This Mean In Regards To Classical Musicians?

John Clarke analyzed fluctuations in classical music as well as other types of music. He found that the melody at the end of the piece was related to other parts of the piece. This humanizing way of composing the music draws in the listener, and it seems that listeners can tell when they are being duped by computerized beats. Other experts in the Physics Today article noted that pieces from 40 different composers were studied and all were found to include long range correlations.

What Can Computers Do To Humanize The Music?

There are features that artificially generate spaces in music, causing fluctuations from random number generators. These generators tell which beats to delay. As of now, the result is not pleasurable. The music sounds jerky and bumpy, therefore not creating the desired effect on the listener. As research continues and mathematical equations applied, they may be able to find a way. As for now, there’s still nothing like the real thing.

As the article says: To err is human. And that’s what makes our music beautiful.

Featured photo credit: Nejron Photo via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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