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Modern Classical Music Simply Confuses Listeners' Brains

by Trilok Kapur on  February 22, 2010 at 8:43 AM Research News   - G J E 4
 Modern Classical Music Simply Confuses Listeners' Brains
Researchers have finally found an explanation for why many audiences find modern classical music so difficult to listen to.

They claim listeners' brains struggle to find patterns they need to understand the compositions as music, reports The Telegraph.
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New book, The Music Instinct, on how the human brain interprets music has revealed that listeners rely upon finding patterns within the sounds they receive in order to make sense of it and interpret it as a musical composition.

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While traditional classical music follows strict patterns and formula that allow the brain to make sense of the sound, modern symphonies by composers such as Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern simply confuse listeners' brains, the book by Philip Ball claims.

Ball drew on the latest scientific findings from neuro-scientists to show structure and patterns in music are a fundamental part of musical enjoyment.

He said: "Many people still seem to find modern classical music challenging. If that is the case, then they can relax as it is challenging for a good reason and it is not because they are in some way too musically stupid to appreciate it.

"The brain is a pattern seeking organ, so it looks for patterns in music to make sense of what we hear. The music of Bach, for example, embodies a lot of the pattern forming process.

"Some of the things that were done by those composers such as Schoenberg undermined this cognitive aid for making music easier to understand and follow. Schoenberg's music became fragmented which makes it harder for the brain to find structure.

"That isn't to say, of course, that it is impossible to listen to, it is just harder work. It would be wrong to dismiss such music as a racket."

Source: ANI
TRI
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