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(Video) The Power Of Sound

(Video) The Power Of Sound
Arts & Culture

Leading expert Julian Treasure speaks about the planet's auditory environment and Its effects on people.

Naresh Kumar
  • 19 october 2010


At a recent TED talk held in Oxford, England, Julian Treasure, the author of Sound Business, spoke about the effects of sound on people and society at large. He particularly relates sound to good mental and physical health, while also cautioning about the negative effects of the growing amount of noise pollution that is spreading like an epidemic around the world.

Here are some excerpts from his talk, as reported by CNN:

One definition of health may be that that chord is in complete harmony.  The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” which opens at least three dimensions to the concept. On a philosophical level, Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras and Confucius all wrote at length about the relationship between harmony, music and health (both social and physical). Here’s Socrates: “Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful.”

We adopt listening positions. Listening positions are a useful set of perspectives that can help people to be more conscious and effective in communication — because expert listening can be just as powerful as speaking. For example, men typically adopt a reductive listening position, listening for something, often a point or solution. Women, by contrast, typically adopt an expansive listening position, enjoying the journey, going with the flow. When unconscious, this mismatch causes a lot of arguments.

Compressed music makes you tired. However clever the technology and the psychoacoustic algorithms applied, there are many issues with data compression of music, as discussed in this excellent article  by Robert Harley back in 1991. My assertion that listening to highly compressed music makes people tired and irritable is based on personal and anecdotal experience – again it’s one that I hope will be tested by researchers.

Watch the full video of his presentation below:



Julian Treasure

CNN: “10 things you didn’t know about sound”

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