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For as long as we've had toes to tap, society's great minds have tried to explain the inner workings of music, searching for what makes it "good."
The results of this search range from the most basic reductions like minor-key-sad/major-key-happy to sophisticated brain wave data analysis and dopamine measurements — all aimed at decoding how a composer's decisions impact the quality of a song.
So when Gizmodo asked a small group of neuroscientist and music enthusiasts for their take on science's role in determining what makes a song "good," the answers touched on every aspect of music interpretation from the most analytical to the most visceral.
"We can measure how people respond to a song in a bunch of ways, including brain scans," neuroscientist and Director of the Science Gallery at King’s College London Daniel Glaser explains. "Actually measuring foot tapping or the smile muscles is probably just as good as more 'scientific methods.'"
In the end, perhaps the most convincing argument is the impromptu tweetstorm that prompted Gizmodo's investigation to confirm that, indeed, GRAMMY-winning band Toto's "Africa" is the best song ever made. Just ask a scientist:
"Science says 'Africa' is the best song ever made," jokes David Poeppel, professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, after concurring with the sentiment on Twitter and pointing to Toto's respected musical credentials.
While we love this song too, somehow we think this is a case that is far from closed.
So it seems that just about everything Jones touches musically turns to gold. That's why we are excited about the announcement that he will be teaming with television producer and noted jazz patron Reza Ackbaraly to launch a brand-new subscription video on-demand service dedicated entirely to jazz and jazz-inspired music programming.
Qwest TV will debut in fall 2017, and is expected to be packed with a curated, personalized selection of exclusive original content encompassing live concerts, documentaries, interviews and archival footage.
The early plans for the network include a forward-thinking crowd-sourced pre-launch phase, which will open on Sept. 6 via Kickstarter. The first 1,500 users to sign up via the crowdfunding platform will be classed as "co-founding subscribers," and will receive a free year of premium access, as well as having a direct line of communication to the Qwest TV team to give consumer feedback, make specific feature requests, and a whole host of additional benefits only available through the Kickstarter promotion.
Sharing his excitement over the launch of the new platform, Jones explained, "The dream of Qwest TV is to let jazz and music lovers everywhere experience these incredibly rich and diverse musical traditions in a whole new way. …it is my hope that Qwest TV will serve to carry forth and build on the great legacy that is jazz for many generations to come."
As the star of USA Network's "Mr. Robot," Rami Malek has taken America through a digital dystopia where multiple versions of reality coexist. Now that Queen have announced the band's long-awaited biopic, aptly titled Bohemian Rhapsody, they've also confirmed that Malek will take us through the mind-bending talents of Freddie Mercury.
Born a British citizen, Mercury was transplanted from Zanzibar, Tanzania, to Middlesex, England, at 17. From London he soon exposed the world to his personal richness of over-the-top expression — a singer/songwriter whose theatricality onstage earned him a seat at the table of rock's ultimate frontmen.
Malek is no stranger to reality-warping narrative, but one indication of how big a space he has to fill is outlined by the fact that GRAMMY nominee Adam Lambert has been touring with Queen on lead vocals. "We Are The Champions" (GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, 2009) is a perfect feeling to embody, and legions of anxious fans are hopeful that Malek will nail the role.
Director Bryan Singer (X-Men 2, "House," "Legion") has been tapped to bring Bohemian Rhapsody from fantasy to real life. The film, which is scheduled to begin pre-production this week, will also feature Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor serving as executive music producers.