Live music is lived differently, and why science has it

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The music industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. Two years of intermittent activity between wave and wave that limited activity at all scales, from the smallest theaters to the macrofestivals. the pandemic affected how we enjoy music but it did not take away our desire to enjoy it live. This leads us to ask ourselves what it is about live music that we cannot give up on it.


Synchronized dance.
The human being is an animal mostly social. That is why it is not surprising that the collective listening to music affects us in the deepest. Lucía Vaquero Zamora, a neuroscientist at the Complutense University of Madrid, recently compiled in an article some studies that pointed out the importance of the social component of live music, in order to give context to this relationship.

One of the conclusions that can be drawn from this text is that our environment affects how we perceive music, and the environment of a concert or festival can be conducive thanks to this social component. In this context, how danceable the music is will also have an effect on how we perceive it and how we relate to our surroundings.

The key can be in sync. Music makes it easy for entire groups of people to move around sharing the same rhythm. This synchrony would have a psychological effect, and would be able to foster trust between people, the feeling of affiliation and cooperation. Come on, let’s listen to music together brings us even closer.

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evolutionary question.
The music would act as a “facilitating element that invites us to move to its beat and interact with our peers” says Vaquero Zamora. It is not clear what the origin of music is, but it is clear that it has been accompanying us for millennia (at least 40), and for most of history, listening to music has been a collective act. Sometimes ritual (let’s think of sacred music) and sometimes purely social (like opera in its golden age).

It would not be until playback devices became popular that music entered our homes and could become one more element of our private life. And yet the live music never went out. Perhaps because, as Vaquero Zamora points out, speaking of the festivals, it could be seen “as [un rito moderno] where the music returns to occupy its original role”.

The neurochemistry of music.
Not only external conditions affect our musical experience. Neurochemistry has a lot to do with how music reaches us. Music has been linked to hormone levels related to our well-being. An example of this is the decrease in cortisol levels detected in participants in a study conducted in 2013. This decrease occurred regardless of the declared taste for music, that is, whether or not the theme corresponded to the musical tastes of the participants.

A 2012 study studied the relationship between the secretion of oxytocin and vasopressin in individuals with Williams syndrome, a condition that, among other behavioral effects, causes a singular affinity for music in those who suffer from it.

Noise.
Not all are advantages in concerts. As much as we are adapted to listening to music, our ears have limits on the volume at which we can hear it. Hearing loss is known as hearing loss, and can be caused by repeated exposure to sounds at excessive volumes. This exposure can also cause tinnitusa prolonged and uncomfortable ringing in the ears.

Energy consumption.
Music festivals have become another feature of summer, like the beach, beach bars and popular festivals. But this way of listening to live music also has its problems, and that is that music festivals have become fairs where music occupies a main place, but is accompanied by a multitude of entertainment. And all this set involves a large energy consumption.

In the current context, the impact of high energy demand may worry us, but in the long term, it is perhaps the carbon footprint of these events the variable to monitor. It is evident that the electrical consumption of the lighting and sound equipment is high, but to this must be added the consumption made in displacement, assembly and disassembly, waste treatment, etc. In any case it seems that we will have to wait to find out the carbon footprint left by this season’s festivals.

The economics of live music.
Modern music festivals have millionaire budgets and can also have a millionaire impact on the economy of the area. The festival economics Music is complex, and ranges from the subsidies they receive, to the price of tickets, the salary of artists and workers, collateral effects on the tourism and environmental sectors… as well as the underground economy that can appear in their environment.

However, small-scale live music has its own economy, which affects concert halls, public entities, consumers and artists. Only cities with vibrant scenes can attract tourism thanks to music on a small scale (surely the example of this would be New Orleans), many other aspects of the economy are closely linked to the local economy.

Image | Wendy Wei

The music industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. Two years of intermittent activity between wave and…

The music industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. Two years of intermittent activity between wave and…

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