Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 2nd Mar 2008

The Power of Sound and Music

singing (c) daisukerman @ morguefile

This week we're exploring the science of sound and music. We sound out the human voice, hear why we all talk differently, and probe the origins of accents and the means by which impersonators mimic their victims.  Also, we discover how a tune can act like cocaine in your brain and why, in some cultures, music can replace a lawyer!  Also, we hear what's going on in the brains of Jazz musicians as they improvise, see how hungry sharks are similar to shoppers and find out why a big brown bat needs magnetic bat-nav.  Plus, in kitchen science we discover the musical secrets of plastic bottles!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 14:24 - Blowing on bottles

    Discover the musical properties of a few old bottles...

  • 17:03 - The Science of the Voice

    The human voice is a versatile tool, and changes dramatically throughout life. David Howard studies the voice...

  • 26:44 - Music and the Brain

    How does your brain respond to music? Meera spoke to Professor Daniel Levitin...

  • 33:32 - Evolution of Music

    Is music just there for pleasure, or does it have a role to fulfil? We spoke to Dr Ian Cross...

  • 40:07 - Why does music move us to tears?

    Why does music move us to tears?

  • 41:08 - Could mediatation put you into REM sleep?

    Iím interested in meditation and Iíve noticed that when mediating or journeying with shamanic drumming that my eyes do something a bit like REM movement and Iím wondering if that has something to do with the sound or this particular sound and rhythm?

  • 41:57 - Is there such a think as Brown Noise?

    Is it true that thereís a sound that makes people want to go for a number 2? (sometimes known as the 'Brown Note')

  • 42:40 - Are wrinkles in other animals distinguising like fingerprints?

    I understand that fingerprints are very useful because they provide the ability to grip surfaces better as well as be identified. I was wondering about the wrinkles you see on animals. Do they effectively have a fingerprint pattern in the same way, specifically marine creatures...

  • 44:17 - Speed of Caves

    After spending a few days underground in a cave I became anxious about the following question. As I know soluble rocks like limestone are soluble in liquid containing CO2 which comes from the atmosphere. This takes about 30cm of rock every two millenniums. If we take into account...

  • 54:36 - Why is singing myself less distractin than listening to music?

    I have Aspergerís and experience sensory overload. Iím very distracted by repetitive sounds but when I do this or sing myself Iím not bothered by it. So why should that be?

  • Squashing Bottles

    What happens to the note a bottle makes when you squash it? What would happen if you then put it underwater? Find out in this kitchen science.



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Thank you very much. We're really pleased that you like the programme.

Chris chris, Sun, 9th Mar 2008

I just want to say that this episode was the first one I've actually listened to... and I'm definitely coming back for more. I teach high school physics and plan to use a few clips from this show (not to mention a bunch of the kitchen science experiments) in my class when we study sound. Great show, great site, thanks a lot!

I also want to point out that I successfully identified which of the choirs was boys and which was girls. keydetpiper, Thu, 5th Nov 2009

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