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Music and wine
Posted: 09 June 2011 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]
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HERE‘s a good one: aging wine to music makes for better wine. I’ve heard some winemakers in Spain do the same thing. Interesting to hear Pasquale Petrera’s transparently pseudoscientific justification of the practice.

A wine retailer I know also tweeted that some people play music to their vines. That’s akin to the so-called “Plant perception” nonsense from back in the 70s. But it’s one thing to play music to plants and another to play it to barrels of wine.

(I suppose in either case you’re really playing it for the workers and winemakers).

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Posted: 09 June 2011 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yeah, just make sure you play Bach’s harpsichord versions. Vines hate piano. Some people are unbelievable.

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Posted: 10 June 2011 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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George - 09 June 2011 07:50 PM

Yeah, just make sure you play Bach’s harpsichord versions. Vines hate piano. Some people are unbelievable.

My wife and I were judges in a high school science fair a few years back. One of the students had three sets of plants - one in silence, one with rock music, and one with classical music. The student took great care in making all other factors even (soil, water, sun…). The classical music plants grew the best. Her conclusion was obvious. My wife and I congratulated her on the project but we also discussed with her that an important part of science is repeatability. After that discussion, she understood that a single experiment provides valid data but not a conclusion.

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Posted: 10 June 2011 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yes, I have heard about these kind of experiments before. Who knows, maybe people while listening to classical music perform better—that is taking care of plants—than those who get distracted by “Welcome to the Jungle” and other such garbage.

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Posted: 10 June 2011 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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traveler - 10 June 2011 05:27 AM
George - 09 June 2011 07:50 PM

Yeah, just make sure you play Bach’s harpsichord versions. Vines hate piano. Some people are unbelievable.

My wife and I were judges in a high school science fair a few years back. One of the students had three sets of plants - one in silence, one with rock music, and one with classical music. The student took great care in making all other factors even (soil, water, sun…). The classical music plants grew the best. Her conclusion was obvious. My wife and I congratulated her on the project but we also discussed with her that an important part of science is repeatability. After that discussion, she understood that a single experiment provides valid data but not a conclusion.

Exactly. A related problem here is the ‘file drawer’ effect. When someone does an experiment that shows classical music seems to work, it gets airtime. If they’d shown the opposite (by chance, of course), the experiment would probably get left in the file drawer and not publicized.

This is why any experimental results must be taken with a grain of salt, particularly when they are close to statistical insignificance.

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Posted: 10 June 2011 06:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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George - 10 June 2011 06:07 AM

Yes, I have heard about these kind of experiments before. Who knows, maybe people while listening to classical music perform better—that is taking care of plants—than those who get distracted by “Welcome to the Jungle” and other such garbage.

Sure, and it’s also possible that the student spent more time in the relaxing classical environment. During that time, her respiration increased CO2 levels in that environment and helped the plant’s respiration.  smile

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Posted: 10 June 2011 07:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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traveler - 10 June 2011 06:28 AM
George - 10 June 2011 06:07 AM

Yes, I have heard about these kind of experiments before. Who knows, maybe people while listening to classical music perform better—that is taking care of plants—than those who get distracted by “Welcome to the Jungle” and other such garbage.

Sure, and it’s also possible that the student spent more time in the relaxing classical environment. During that time, her respiration increased CO2 levels in that environment and helped the plant’s respiration.  smile

Sure, why not? Any of these possible explanations sound more plausible than the plants preferring Bach. Maybe I am wrong about people outgrowing magic…

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Posted: 14 June 2011 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I loved when they tested the plants & music thing on Mythbusters and the ones that had speed metal played for them grew the most.

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Posted: 15 June 2011 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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dougsmith - 09 June 2011 02:07 PM

a good one: aging wine to music makes for better wine.

I thought it was: aging with wine and music makes people better.

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Posted: 15 June 2011 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 15 June 2011 11:04 AM
dougsmith - 09 June 2011 02:07 PM

a good one: aging wine to music makes for better wine.

I thought it was: aging with wine and music makes people better.

With that I agree!  LOL

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Posted: 16 June 2011 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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traveler - 10 June 2011 05:27 AM
George - 09 June 2011 07:50 PM

Yeah, just make sure you play Bach’s harpsichord versions. Vines hate piano. Some people are unbelievable.

My wife and I were judges in a high school science fair a few years back. One of the students had three sets of plants - one in silence, one with rock music, and one with classical music. The student took great care in making all other factors even (soil, water, sun…). The classical music plants grew the best. Her conclusion was obvious. My wife and I congratulated her on the project but we also discussed with her that an important part of science is repeatability. After that discussion, she understood that a single experiment provides valid data but not a conclusion.

Actually there was a controlled experiment conducted by a university some years ago.
Two rooms, insulated from each other, with controlled temperature, same lighting, same precise location, same soil, and seeds from the same parent.
In one room they continuously played heavy metal rock and in the other light classical music at the same db volume.

They found that the plant exposed to the dissonant rock sounds exhibited stunted growth and its leaves grew away from the speakers.
But the plant exposed to the classical harmonic sounds grew larger and most amazingly its leaves actually grew toward the speakers and some leaves did in fact touch the speakers as if to absorb as much of the soundwaves as possible.

The conclusion was that sound waves were in fact instrumental in the growth and size of the plant and direction of growth toward or away from the origin. After all trees do “see or feel” electromagnetic radiation waves and try to grow towards the sunlight.
I see no reason to dismiss the influence of harmonious sound waves on growth of living organisms as woo. Why should pleasing harmonics be the exclusive domain of humans? Birds, wolves, whales, all sing to attract, other animals growl to warn. Trees rustle in a gentle breeze and plants like harmonious music. Seems entirely reasonable to me.

I read about another experiment, where trees seem to be able to communicate with warning each other about attacks by caterpillars.
Two healthy trees some distance apart from each other so that there was no possible physical contact were selected. They introduced caterpillars on one tree but made sure the other was free from disease or other insects.

The infected tree immediately began to produce tannin (which forces a caterpillar to switch its digestive system).  Interestingly, they found that a tree produces tanning in a random manner among its leaves. Some leaves have tannin, other leaves on the same branch do not. This forces the caterpillar to switch its digestive system back and forth. This uses an enormous amount of energy and inhibits the growth and metamorphosis of caterpillars. An effective defense mechanism.

The amazing part was that the tree which was not infected also began to produce tannin as a preventive measure against infestation. The researchers came to the conclusion that there must have been some sort of communication between the infected tree and the healthy tree, though they could not identify a specific method.

[ Edited: 16 June 2011 05:42 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 16 June 2011 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Do you have any links to these experiments?

Re. the first, sound waves have nothing whatever to do with electromagnetic radiation. And yes, the notion that plants can hear and respond to music is classic woo, something that’s been debunked for decades. Birds, wolves and whales all have ears and auditory nervous systems that exist to receive and interpret sound waves. The fact that plants make sounds that are pleasant to you by being randomly buffeted by the wind is of no experimental consequence.

Re. the second, an injured tree could, for example, be giving off some form of airborne signal, or a gas produced by injury. I’m not sure what it means that they could be so far apart that “there was no possible physical contact”. Were they sealed in airtight containers?

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Posted: 16 June 2011 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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dougsmith - 16 June 2011 05:33 AM

Do you have any links to these experiments?

Re. the first, sound waves have nothing whatever to do with electromagnetic radiation. And yes, the notion that plants can hear and respond to music is classic woo, something that’s been debunked for decades. Birds, wolves and whales all have ears and auditory nervous systems that exist to receive and interpret sound waves. The fact that plants make sounds that are pleasant to you by being randomly buffeted by the wind is of no experimental consequence.

Re. the second, an injured tree could, for example, be giving off some form of airborne signal, or a gas produced by injury. I’m not sure what it means that they could be so far apart that “there was no possible physical contact”. Were they sealed in airtight containers?

Unfortunately I do not have the reference. I do recall it was a magazine on biology.

However, vibrations (soundwaves) can induce harmonic responses in inanimate objects, both destructive as in bridges or conducive as in the soundboard of an instrument. Why should living organisms not respond positively or negatively to vibration at a molecular level? Is that not were growth occurs? I am not saying that a plant can consciously perceive and process sounds, but I also cannot dismiss physical harmonic responses. Do we not feel a physical response to subsonic vibration? I have read that cats and dogs can physically detect subsonic vibrations, such as earthquakes even before they are measurable by seismic detectors.

When we listen to a particularly beautiful composition, do we not involuntarily lean toward the origin to maximize our reception? Is that peculiar to humans only?
 
The trees were out in the open but some distance apart from each other, so that the branches or roots could not touch each other.
I agree that this communication could have been airborne chemicals, perhaps tannin emits a chemical which is released and carried to other trees, where it triggers a response. The researchers were unable to detect a measurable means.

You are right the “rustling leaves” was a poetic license…. cheese

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Posted: 16 June 2011 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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A vibration that causes a physical resonance in an inanimate object has nothing to do with hearing music. Rocks have physical resonance. Rocks don’t hear music.

Showing that plants can hear music isn’t the same thing as showing that plants respond physically to physical vibrations. This is classic woo reasoning, which is to say it’s completely muddled. Music isn’t simply vibration, otherwise every sound would be music, and the plant would show no preferential growth for one sort of sound than another.

In order to show that plants hear music you have to show that they have some way to differentiate music from other sorts of sounds and respond to it specifically: some manner of receiving and processing sound, isolating music from other sorts of sound, and then changing behavior in response to certain sorts of music in particular. Nothing of the sort has ever been demonstrated.

Of course, animals can and do respond to some sounds that humans cannot hear: dogs can hear some notes that are outside (normal) human ranges of hearing. So what? Dogs have ears and auditory cortexes. Plants don’t.

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Posted: 16 June 2011 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Write4U - 16 June 2011 04:44 AM
traveler - 10 June 2011 05:27 AM
George - 09 June 2011 07:50 PM

Yeah, just make sure you play Bach’s harpsichord versions. Vines hate piano. Some people are unbelievable.

My wife and I were judges in a high school science fair a few years back. One of the students had three sets of plants - one in silence, one with rock music, and one with classical music. The student took great care in making all other factors even (soil, water, sun…). The classical music plants grew the best. Her conclusion was obvious. My wife and I congratulated her on the project but we also discussed with her that an important part of science is repeatability. After that discussion, she understood that a single experiment provides valid data but not a conclusion.

Actually there was a controlled experiment conducted by a university some years ago.
Two rooms, insulated from each other, with controlled temperature, same lighting, same precise location, same soil, and seeds from the same parent.
In one room they continuously played heavy metal rock and in the other light classical music at the same db volume.

They found that the plant exposed to the dissonant rock sounds exhibited stunted growth and its leaves grew away from the speakers.
But the plant exposed to the classical harmonic sounds grew larger and most amazingly its leaves actually grew toward the speakers and some leaves did in fact touch the speakers as if to absorb as much of the soundwaves as possible.

The conclusion was that sound waves were in fact instrumental in the growth and size of the plant and direction of growth toward or away from the origin. After all trees do “see or feel” electromagnetic radiation waves and try to grow towards the sunlight.

The point I was trying to make to the high school student was that her experiment could provide a data point, but not a conclusion. The same can be said of the controlled experiment to which you refer (which had different results, not surprisingly, than my student’s). Just because a typical thesis or dissertation offers a “conclusion” section does not mean that any real conclusions are reachable.  wink

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Posted: 18 June 2011 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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dougsmith - 16 June 2011 09:31 AM

A vibration that causes a physical resonance in an inanimate object has nothing to do with hearing music. Rocks have physical resonance. Rocks don’t hear music.

Talking about woo,
sitting on rocks up a valley, with a small airport below and feeling the engines resonating through the rocks.
Them throbbing prop-engines gaining speed and elevation.  The motors physical vibration transmitting energy through the air into the cliff rock then tingling up my arrears.  Or the thrum of a distant highway, through the ground rather than sound.

As for plants don’t know about them, but the chickens just won’t lay without a steady stream of Grateful Dead.
And me, I won’t work with some heavy metal screaming punk yelling at me… no sir…

cheese
cheers

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