Why Not Every Tune Strikes A Chord


How we are wired for sound

Click here to read a recent BBC article on revolutionary work being conducted by MMW executive member A/Prof Neil McLachlan on how our perceptions of what sounds "right" and "wrong" may be cultural, and arbitrary.

The following excerpt comes from the original article by Philip Ball, 31 January 2013, for Under the Radar at www.bbc.com/future.

"Recent work suggests that every culture may develop its own rather arbitrary rules for what music sounds right and wrong.

In the arts world, the shock of the new usually fades fast. Picasso we can handle now; James Joyce’s Ulysses gets grudging genuflection, even if few people actually want to read it. But mention Arnold Schoenberg’s music and you’ll set many music-lovers snarling about an “ungodly racket”. The Austrian composer’s atonal chords, unleashed more than a century ago, are still denounced as unnatural, a violation of what music is meant to be."