More Than Waves: Adventures in Sound and Music

A curated episode list by Cesar Moncada
Creation Date March 15th, 2020
Updated Date Updated March 26th, 2020
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A man in California is haunted by the memory of a pop song from his youth. He can remember the lyrics and the melody. But the song itself has vanished, completely scrubbed from the internet. PJ takes on the Super Tech Support case.Further Listening:Christian Lee Hutson’s music :
Singing with others is a powerful form of expression. That's why the composer Eric Whitacre started the Virtual Choir; an experiment that connects singers from every corner of the globe. In this episode, we hear how a choir can unite people from different backgrounds to achieve a common goal - creating beautiful music.Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound, and hosted by Dallas Taylor.Follow the show on Twitter & Facebook. Become a monthly contributor at you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at your credit card debt today and get an additional interest rate discount at to for your $5 complete hair kit.Check out SONOS at transcript, music, and credits can be found here:
How do babies learn how to talk? In this episode I explore how they go from little howling machines to little sentence builders in the space of a couple of years. *** Get in touch @accentricitypod on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you’d like to chat some more about baby talk! If you would like to take the Wug test (or test the tiny people in your life), I’ve done a blog post it which allows you to do so here. Remember that it’s not a test of intelligence! It tests a kid’s stage of linguistic development, and also their willingness to play along with the weird world of adults. In this particular episode, I’m focusing on the stories of kids who are acquiring spoken language, and who are moving towards communicating in the same kind of way as I am now. Of course kids are much more diverse than this. Not everyone learns to talk, and some people develop communication strategies which involve single words or sounds, rather than phrases or sentences. Some people learn to speak using sign languages, and in these cases the story is in some ways similar to this one, and in other ways quite different. This episode is just about one of the many ways of growing up and learning language. I hope to visit some of the other ways in later episodes. *** The contributors: * Harris, aged 2 months. Thanks to mum Angie and dad Braxton. * Mila, aged 8 months. Thanks to mum Nichola. * Connie, aged 1 year. Thanks to mum Kat, dad Andrew and gran Sheila. * Martha, aged 1 and a half. Thanks to mum Jennie and dad Euan. * Kira, aged 2 and a half. Thanks to mum Joanna. * Emilie, aged 3 and a half. Thanks to mum Jenn. * Ronan, aged 4. Thanks to mum Lynsey. *** Thanks to all of the people who volunteered to help out, and sorry that I didn’t get to speak to all of you! Thanks to Cat, Anna, Tanya and Shiona for volunteering your kids, and to Katy, Rebecca and Jenny for volunteering the kids of friends and family. *** Thanks to Professor Jennifer Smith of the University of Glasgow for help with the content. Jennifer Smith is Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of Glasgow. At the moment she’s working on two big research projects: One Speaker Two Dialects and The Scots Syntax Atlas. You can find more information about her research and publications here. *** A million thankyous to all of the new patrons of the podcast! Chris Rodger, Osh Kealy, Daidhidh Eyre, Scott Hames and Sam Wrigglesworth via Patreon, and Rachel Smith and Hilary Stewart via the 'donate' button on the website. All money raised will go towards making a second series of the podcast. If you’d like to support this podcast financially, click here or here. If you have enthusiasm but not cold hard cash, tell a pal about it, or gies a wee rating and review. These things are just as helpful! *** Big big thanks to John McDiarmid for production support. John is a freelance radio producer, documentarian and journalist. You can find his company on Instagram @teltmedia. He recently finished his first feature-length documentary, St Mungo’s Approval. Big big thanks too to Seb Philp for the music. He doesn’t have a website, but if you’d like to talk to him, send me a message! 
Today on the podcast, a story that seemed like a perfect fit Outside/In that wound up going places that we didn’t expect to go. When workers at the American embassy Cuba claimed to have been attacked by a mysterious weapon that left no trace, it led to a major shift in American diplomacy towards the Caribbean socialist state. But the story has also led to a split in journalism, stemming from the sources different kinds of journalists rely on. This story forces us to ask: how do we decide what we know? What kinds of information we trust?
Companies spend a lot of time and effort perfecting the look of their brands. But now what a brand sounds like matters just as much. We trace the history from songs to jingles to what's called sonic branding, following the creative process that led to AT&T’s iconic four-note sound logo. And we'll explore what comes next: multi-sensory marketing. Can sound change how beer tastes?Sign up for our newsletter:
“Sound is the forgotten flavor sense,” says experimental psychologist Charles Spence. In this episode, we discover how manipulating sound can transform our experience of food and drink, making stale potato chips taste fresh, adding the sensation of cream to black coffee, or boosting the savory, peaty notes in whiskey. Composers have written music to go with feasts and banquets since antiquity—indeed, in at a particularly spectacular dinner hosted by Duke Philip of Burgundy in 1454, twenty-eight musicians were hidden inside an immense pie, beginning to play as the crust was opened. Today, however, most chefs and restaurants fail to consider the sonic aspects of eating and drinking. That’s a mistake, because, as we reveal in this episode, sound can affect how fast we eat, how much we’re prepared to pay for our meal, and even what it tastes like. Don’t believe us? Here are three simple sonic seasoning tricks to try at home: The Sonic Chip This experiment, for which Charles Spence won a highly coveted IgNobel prize in 2008, came about almost by accident. Spence was working with a big company to see whether they could use the recently discovered “parchment skin” illusion to trick customers’ brains into believing that their clothes felt even softer after coming out of the washing machine. It works this way: if you muffle the sound of your hands being rubbed together while you’re rubbing them, your brain assumes that they must be smoother than they are. That’s because your brain combines the audio information with the tactile sensation and assumes because there’s less noise, there’s less friction, and hence softer skin. This idea—that if you change the input in one sensory realm, you can influence perception in another—is called crossmodal sensory interaction, and it lies at the core of Spence’s research. “Food and drink are among life’s most multisensory experiences,” Spence pointed out, so it’s perhaps hardly surprising that it occurred to him that the parchment skin illusion might work in the mouth, using food rather than clothing. He recruited 200 volunteers willing to eat Pringles for science, and played them modified crunching sounds through headphones, some louder and some more muffled, as they ate. And he found that he could make a 15 percent difference in people’s perception of a stale chip’s freshness by playing them a louder crunch when they bit into it. “The party version” of this trick, according to Spence, was developed by colleagues in the Netherlands and Japan. Volunteers were asked to crunch on chips in time with a metronome, while researchers played crunching sounds back, in perfect synchrony, through their headphones. All was well until the researchers replaced the crunching with the sound of breaking glass—and “people’s jaws just freeze up.” Have a bag of chips that’s been sitting around too long? Here’s the sonic boost they need.   And—thanks, science!—here’s a soundtrack to make your perfectly fresh chips taste stale.   As far as breaking glass goes, we can’t condone inflicting that kind of trauma—you’re on your own. Hot and Cold Listen to this recording of two drinks being poured into a glass, back to back. Can you tell whether each drink was hot or cold? (Scroll down to the end of this section for the answers.)   According to Spence, you should be able to guess. The human ear is sensitive enough to pick up on the slight change in a liquid’s viscosity as it changes temperature. Hot water is less viscous than cold, which means that the splash it makes when it hits the bottom of the glass or mug is a tiny bit splashier—and thus higher pitched. This finding has practical applications in advertising, for example, as well as drinks dispensers—your soup or coffee could be made to seem piping hot, or your soda even more cool and refreshing. But Spence also suggests playing with it: blindfolding guests and handing them a cold drink while playing the sound of a hot one. The result? With the sound, “we’ve put the idea in your mind, the expectation that it’s going to be very hot,” he explains. “And then when you put it to your lips and it’s suddenly cold, you’ll be shocked, but you probably won’t know quite why you should be shocked.” (Answer: the first pour was cold, the second was hot.) Bittersweet Symphony So far, we’ve focused on the sound that food makes, either in your mouth or in the glass. But Spence’s recent research has focused on something much more abstract and mysterious: an implicit association between particular kinds of sound and tastes. The idea that different scents, tastes, and flavors might correspond to different musical notes has a long, if speculative, history: in nineteenth-century London, perfumer Septimus Piesse created a scent scale in which middle C was matched with rose, while an octave lower was geranium. In the following decades, novelists picked up on the idea and invented fictional liqueur flavor keyboards (Joris-Karl Huysman’s Against Nature), a “pianocktail” machine (Boris Vian’s L’Ecume des Jours), and a scent organ (Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World). On the left, a diagram of the pianocktail created by Florica Vlad; on the right, a mechanical version of the pianocktail built by musician Géraldine Schenkel. According to Spence, the first scientist to test the concept, however, was Kristian Holt-Hansen, working in Denmark. Using Carlsberg’s lager and Elephant beer as his two test beverages, he demonstrated that people consistently matched a lower-pitched tone (510-520 Hz) to the lager, and a slightly higher note (640-670 Hz) to the more vinous Elephant beer. He then found that when he played the matching sound to people as they consumed the appropriate beer, they rated it as tasting better. As unlikely as it sounds, Canadian scientists successfully replicated the experiment in 1984, with the confusing addition of grapefruit and dill pickle, which matched even higher pitched sounds (1016 Hz and 1394 Hz, respectively). That was the state of the science when Charles Spence decided to test the connection between pitch and taste in 2012. Using a bittersweet toffee specially created by chef Heston Blumenthal, Spence and his colleagues showed that people perceived the toffee as ten percent more bitter while listening to low-pitched notes, and ten percent sweeter when their headphones were filled with higher-pitched music. Subsequently, Spence says he’s tried this experiment on people from all over the world, and found a similar correspondence. You can try it at home with some bittersweet dark chocolate and these two soundtracks. The first one is sweet-enhancing, the second will boost bitter.     But, although the effect is real, the mechanism behind it is more elusive. Listen to this episode of Gastropod to understand how and why sound affects our experience of food—and how we might use that science to redesign the experience of eating. From chefs playing with sonic seasoning to enhance our dinner, to the perfect soundtrack for whiskey, we explore the way our brains combine sound with our other senses to create flavor. This is the second in a two-part series exploring the relationship between sound and food: don’t miss the previous episode of Gastropod for much more on the experimental history and emerging science of acoustic agriculture, from the perfect bovine playlist to the lost rhythms of Southern farming. And, if you like what you hear, please support our work with a donation of any size. Episode Notes Charles Spence and the Crossmodal Research Laboratory Charles Spence is head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford University. His recent book, The Perfect Meal: The Multisensory Science of Food and Dining, co-authored with Bettina Piqueras-Fiszman, is a fascinating review of everything we know about the way all the senses interact to affect our experience of food. The Flavor Conductor Working with Charles Spence and Johnnie Walker, Bompas & Parr created a full-scale flavor organ, designed to bring out the best in your whiskey. (One stop also opened a door in the side of the organ to reveal a secret drinks cabinet.) Sonic Seasoning Soundtrack As promised, we’ve uploaded the sounds from the episode, for all your sonic seasoning needs! In addition to the sounds above, Charles Spence shared the sound of dry and soft hands rubbing together that inspired the sonic chip experiment, and the seascape, farmyard chicken, and sizzling bacon sounds he used in his first collaboration with Heston Blumenthal. He also sent along the sound of champagne, Prosecco, and soda water being poured into a flute. And, finally, you can hear some of Symphony in Blue, the music composed for the Flavor Conductor to accompany whiskey, here (we aren’t allowed to share the full mp3, sorry). The Flavor Conductor. Photograph by Rob Lawson. The post Crunch, Crackle, and Pop appeared first on Gastropod.
Sound can have serious impacts on our health and wellbeing. And there’s no better place to think about health than hospitals. According to Joel Beckerman, sound designer and composer at Man Made Music: "Hospitals are horrible places to get better." Hospitals can be bad for your health because hospitals sound terrible. But sound designers and health care workers are looking to change that. This is part two in a two-part series supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation about how sound can be designed to reduce harm and even improve wellbeing. Sound and Health: Hospitals Learn more about Sonic Humanism
Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work.Baby Shark is an megaviral YouTube video, an unstoppable earworm, a top 40 hit, a Eurodance smash, a decades old campfire song, and the center of an international copyright dispute. This month on Decoder Ring we explore the strange history and conflicted future of the song, what makes it so catchy, and how it came to be.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Four minutes and thirty three seconds that changed the course of music history. Featuring musicologist & composer Kyle Gann. Learn more at Learn more about your ad-choices at
An episode about the type of sound The Inception Sound is, the controversy surrounding that sounds authorship, and how it’s effectiveness is deeply rooted in a millennia plus of human culture ---------- Double extra super THANKS to all of Reasonably Sound’s Patrons, who help keep the show afloat. Special shoutout to Allie, Andy McMillan, Autumn, Brandon, Camilla Greer, Chelsea Herrington, Coral Kennelty-Cohen, Elliott, Hans Buetow, Jesse Gamble, Joachim, Joe Krushinsky, John Cifuentes, Kyle Adkins, Susan Rugnetta, Talia F E, Tim, Tod Kurt, Xander C ---------- This episode was ORIGINALLY PERFORMED lived for XOXO Fest in Portland during September of 2016. Thanks to Andy Baio and Andy McMillan for making it possible and for supporting the return of Reasonably Sound. Stephen Bruckert compiled and edited the Gravitas of Braaams supercut ( in this episode. Bailey Math of Bailey Math Sound made this episode’s custom braaams. ---------- Reasonably Sound’s theme music is by Will Stratton and it’s visual design is by Tida Tep ---------- SOURCES: Who Really Created The ‘Inception’ BRAAAM? - | Hans Zimmer Feels “Horrible” - | Hans Zimmer Tells Juicy Stories - | 'Braaams' for Beginners - | How Sirens Work - | WWII Carter Air Raid Siren - | Nash Pt. Fog Horn - | Deskford carnyx fact file - | Carnyx - | Celts: Secrets of the carnyx - | John Kenny - The Voice of the Carnyx - | Music experts create replica of Iron Age Celtic horn used in warfare - | Female Pioneer Credited With Bringing Sound Effects To Radio - | About Ora Nichols - | Ora Nichols: The Most Influential Woman in Radio - | Jump Scare: | Crashing Woosh: ---------- I know show notes suck right now, it’ll get fixed soon, hopefully. Sorry.

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