mp3 = (potentially) bad for you

hearingScience has (again) caught up with what we knew all along. Listening to low-quality compressed music is not good for you. Specifically a  study by the Audio Engineering Society on the effects of lossy compression on the ‘timbre spaces’ of a variety of instruments has found that listening to low bit-rate bilge boosts negative emotions (scary, sad etc) and kicks the legs from underneath positive ones (happy, calm, heroic etc).

Sounds like a good reason to keep your inner emo under control and go for FLAC or insist on 320kbps downloads.

Music Is Good For The Brain

colorful-music-notes-symbols-14363-1Heads up to the good people at whose news section alerted me to The Grauniad’s piece on how music beats all those tedious “brain training” apps and software.

The piece talks about software companies having their asses sued for being economical with the truth about their products boosting brain power. Hmm, wonder if the TrumpistaBrexiteers have been investing in such software?

On similar lines 9 Ways Learning An Instrument Strengthens Your Brain spells out in detail the benefits for all – from babies to those recovering from stroke, from multi-taskers to mindful individualists.

Bottom line: playing and learning to play musical instruments produces long-lasting cognitive grooviness in the brain. Tune on, tune up and get jamming.


Music projects

studioPlenty of activity in the studio at the moment – I’m about about a third of the way into a new ambient instrumental album, with another couple of instrumental pieces on the back burner. Where’s a lottery win when you need to buy more time?

Music has the edge for relaxation

guitarVerbally led relaxation exercises are a good way to achieve a relaxed state of mind and a healthy state of body – which is why they are often used in situations such as antenatal classes. According toresearch in the German Medical Association’s journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, however, music therapy has been found to be even more effective in improving the health of palliative care patients. Medical Daily cites that music of all sorts was reported by patients as boosting levels of relaxation and well-being. The self-reports were corroborated by researchers using physiological measurements in a double-blind trial.

Do miserable Androids dream of segmented sleep?

Proponents of hainvg two sleeps a night with a period of wakefulness between, say it’s a great way of getting things done – everything from writing a bestseller, to learning a language, making babies or getting closer to your God.

One of the problems of this segmented sleep approach, though, is that you have to go to bed earlier and will probably end up rising later. There may not be enough hours in the day (or night). If you end up cutting your total sleep-time you’ll not only build up sleep-debt, but you’ll also end up interrupting what sleep you do get, and that leads to all sorts of problems, chief among which according to new research is the dampening of feelings of positive emotions.