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If music be the food of thought play on …

April 19, 2007

Thinking Meat (always one of the highlights of my morning skim of the RSS feeds) has an interesting piece on the Mozart effect. This was (and still is) a commercial movement based some disputed research which argued that IQ could be increased by listening to Mozart. It turns out that this is not the case, but that musical training can increase IQ (so all those recorder lessons playing three blind mice very badly had a use).

Now I can buy that, partly because while I like Mozart’s one tune, I wish he had not repeated it so often. In contrast, my passion is for Wagner. You listen to Mozart, with Wagner you are engaged, transported and transformed and I refuse to believe there is not a cognitive effect. Its interesting the way music influences work. I wrote my thesis (in hand, it was some time ago) to the Ring Cycle in different versions. If I am writing a more popular article then I move to Verdi. If I need to deal with difficult emails I move to Leonard Cohen (and the family leave home), for some reason sorting out back accounts goes faster with The Who’s Tommy.

Thinking Meat also has some interesting speculation on intelligence enhancing drugs. I share her sentiments – I gave up on young and beautiful some years ago, but argumentation or enhancement of memory and intelligence, now that is tempting.

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