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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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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