Getting Jiggy With Your Plants and Animals
Researches to herd headset-wearing cows from afar - August 5th, 2008 - U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher Dean M. Anderson, work to corral cattle remotely through a high-tech device that funnels sounds directly to the animals.
I was watching a programme on making good 'hot sauce' one day and one thing stuck like a fly to a sticky pie in my head, was what the tobasco chilli producer said in passing remark, "My chillis love Xylophone music". That really got my impish head a-cranking.
It appears that what makes a good hot sauce is, of course, the rich red tobasco chilli, but what caused the chillis to grow into healthy little crimson devils? - you guessed it, by turning on some funky Xylophone music! Apparently the rhythm of the xylophone promotes the chilli to bear more fruits and control pests. Hot sauce producer wins all around.
I don't know about you, but I found this crazily amusing (or maybe I'm just high on espresso). I mean, I've heard of this before but never used in such a mass scale and taken so seriously. Hmm, does this mean the peculiar old man living upstairs I see talking to his plants everyday could actually be a-"sophisticatedly-advanced"-but-still-peculiar-botanist?
And what about the culture of putting on a few classical music to dear Holstein cows for better production of milk?
Interestingly my reading of the study shows that chicken egg laying capability increases tremendously when a certain genre of music is played to them in the background. Strauss's Blue Danube is alright, its soft lilting orchestra increases production well around 30 eggs.
But I don't recommend reggae music on the little cuckoos though, because it was proven that the laid back style of the music actually made the chicken...uh, lazier.
However, the best kind of songs to put your chickens in an egg laying hyperdrive mode (sounds so wrong) is: Rock music! Just slap on those fluffy headphones on their feathery heads and switch on some Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' or Jon Bon Jovi and voila! ...33 eggs per day!
But a word of caution: Rock music do tend to stress the birds out by annoying them if it is was put on everyday...
There are also tests made to milking cows and the intelligence of rats (apparently playing Bach music to those critters made them think faster and they are also more attracted to houses that play classical music knowing that there are more better quality food than those kitchens that do not play music). As of now, I'm definitely playing the mega bag-pipe extrodinare in B-flat minor while cooking.
While study on the effect of music on greens reached a breakthrough in 1968, where a college student, Dorothy Rettallach (having nothing better to do) tested music on plants growth by using music styles of jazz, pop, classical, rock, east indian, acid rock and country.
The conclusion? It turns out that plants grew well for almost every type of music except rock and acid rock. So people, no Led Zeppelin or 30 Seconds to Mars for your ferns now.
Well, the upside for humans, other than really entertaining you and make most of us able to move in the most impossible way, provide one of the best stress relief and also can make us recall better, regain memory and process informations better. So obviously, it has a profound effect on the mind and the body.
So enough already and explain to me why...
Well without getting too technical, all organisms perceive and respond to music in different ways. Importantly, what effects all of us (is not the lyrics, go figure) but the rhythm in the music. Firstly, the actual hearing of the rhythm and secondly, the physical response to the rhythm.
Rhythm apparently helps to organize physical movements in time.
As an example, an autistic child who could not tie his shoe lace is able to learn it in seconds when he is taught while listening to a song.
Classical music soothes a chicken as the more common sound vibrations help to make it easier for egg layings.
While the heavy and noisy accoustics of rock music can make plants wither and die, whereas the rhythmic sitar of Ravi Shanker's music make them bloom better.
Music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it even if we so desire (boethius cited by Storr).
Whatever I have written here do not even scratch the surface of my forgotten apple pie, for the study of the effect of music on us, plants and animal are still premature and shrouded with psychological obscurity...*and cue music and end *