Saturday, January 7, 2012

What is tempo and how does it affect us?  Do we drive faster when we listen to fast music and slower when we listen to slow music?  Do we chew or eat faster when we have a faster song in our head?

The study of biological rhythms and human time perception is very interesting.  When we are children, our perception of time is very long.  An hour seems like an eternity.  As adults, the hours pass with every blink.  Does tempo relate in the same way?  Do children perceive a slowed tempo as arduous time commitment? How do the elderly relate to the same BPM?  Does out preference to music change partially based on this phenomenon?  I know that there are studies of this.  I have a book, "Biological Rhythms in Human and Animal Physiology" by Gay Gaer Luce, that asks and answers some of this, but a thing such as music preference is a very hard thing to define or measure.

We also perceive time differently depending on the time of day, temperature, mood, etc.  I believe that tempo and stylistic preference are very much tied to these things.  I cannot state how many times I have created a song, then listened to it the next day or week or month, and found that I don't like the song at all.... but then, later still, I will go back to that recording and really enjoy it.  What changed?  Certainly not the recording - but my mood.  Not to say that everything is a golden egg - I do have plenty of truly bad ideas as well.

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