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"Music and the Body"

Sunday, June 05, 2011 - 02:35

June 6 - An exhibition which doubles as a huge, interactive science experiment has opened in New York. The ''Dublin Science Gallery's Biorhythm: Music and the Body'' show immerses its visitors in a world of sonic experiences to see how they respond to different musical stimuli. Tara Cleary reports.

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Michael John Gorman, Director of the Science Gallery at Trinity College in Dublin is being hooked up to participate in what he says is the world's largest experiment on our emotional and physiological responses to music. SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL JOHN GORMAN, DIRECTOR OF THE SCIENCE GALLERY, TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN, SAYING (English): "Your response to Mozart may be very different from your response to Nirvana or Lady Gaga. We actually wire people up and their reactions, their galvanic skin resistance and their heart rate are measured as they listen to different kinds of music and we're also recording what they believe their feelings about the music are." "Emotion in Motion" is collecting data from thousands of subjects as part of an interactive audio exhibition called Biorhythm: Music and the Body in New York's Chelsea neighborhood. Research supervisor, Ben Knapp, from Belfast's Sonic Research Centre, believes the Internet and social media have created a social chasm. He says the preference for cyber relationships over personal contact has created diminished empathy. Knapp says the experiment's data could help to remedy that separation, through music. SOUNDBITE: BEN KNAPP, PROFESSOR OF SONIC ARTS AND MUSIC, SENSORS, EMOTION GROUP AT THE SONIC ARTS RESEARCH CENTRE, BELFAST, SAYING (English): "If my physiology plays a particular song that's sad for me, that may not make you sad. But if I then know what song makes you sad and I can say 'Oh, okay, I'll play this for you, maybe now we can identify more together.' And one of the real goals of this research is to really understand empathy and can we use music as a way of really creating that empathy?" The exhibition is not only about serious science - visitors can feel, hear and interact with sound via installations like Reactable, a type of board game where coded objects on a table are picked up by sensors, combining to create a sonic experience through variations of frequency and volume. And if you need a little rest, why not try the Sonic Bed? For budding musicians, Body Snatch will help you compose your very own number using your voice samples. Gorman says it's all about using music and sound to explore science in a different way. SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL JOHN GORMAN, DIRECTOR OF THE SCIENCE GALLERY, TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN, SAYING (English): "Music is such a universal subject; everyone is interested in music, everyone has a particular musical taste and it's something which is so fundamental to our nature as a species." And organizers hope to attract as many visitors as possible to enjoy a musical experience in the name of science. Tara Cleary, Reuters.

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"Music and the Body"

Sunday, June 05, 2011 - 02:35