Whether you have a musically trained ear or not, we all subconsciously acknowledge the power of rhythm. Ravers especially can attest to the energy of a dance floor, as it fuels us to move for hours on end. While we’ll readily answer the call of any DJ to dance with everything we’ve got, have you ever been asked to stand totally still? Researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway are asking such a question, and studying the art of standing still. They’ve found that dance music, specifically EDM, causes the most movement out of any other genre.
In general, the study of how people move to music has been of interest to researchers for some time now. However, the researchers in this specific case, Alexander Refsum Jensenius, Victor Evaristo Gonzalez Sanchez, and Agata Zelechowska, are studying micro-movements. The tiny, involuntary movements that we make when we’re trying our hardest to stand still. Efforts to explore micro-movements included a series of Norwegian Championships of Standstill, where the winner was whoever moved the least. After holding four championships the winning record belongs to a participant who swayed 3.9 millimeters per second; thus proving that people reflexively move when they hear music.
Since beginning their scientific exploration of micro-movements, this team found that dance music had the greatest impact, specifically EDM. Quoting something we all know to be true, is that EDM carries a compelling pulse. Jensenius, a Professor of Music Technology, explains as to why the team decided to concentrate on this genre. “The pulse is key. The average frequency of body movement which you would typically clap or march to is 120 beats per minute. A lot of dance music has a slightly faster tempo, which acts as a trigger.”
Moving onward, researchers found that the way we listen to music has a strong effect on physical movement. Listening to music via headphones caused an average of 2 millimeters per second more micro-movements than that from a loudspeaker. While no pair of headphones could ever compare to the power of a PK Sound System, they do allow us to slip into our own music-filled worlds. It’s a strange phenomenon that many of us experience when we tune into a silent disco. Strapping on a pair of headphones shuts out sensory impressions and gives us a physical sense of being in our own dancing bubble.
In others words, if you believe yourself to be tune deaf or rhythmless you’re not truly out of hope! Our bodies will subconsciously move to a tune whether we realize it or not.
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