Why Repetition is So Important to Making Music Popular

John passes along this article from NPR that explains so much about (a) the nature of today’s music; and (b) why we need to give a song more than once chance before we deliver judgement on it.

A couple of years ago, music psychologist Elizabeth Margulis decided to make some alterations to the music of Luciano Berio. Berio was one of the most famous classical composers of the 20th century, a man internationally recognized for the dramatic power of his compositions. But Margulis didn’t worry much about disrupting Berio’s finely crafted music. After loading his most famous piece into a computer editing program, she just randomly started cutting.”I just went in and whenever there was a little pause on either side of something, I grabbed that out and then I’d stick it back in — truly without regard to aesthetic intent,” she says. “I wasn’t trying to craft anything compelling.”

The idea behind this vandalism was simple: Margulis wanted to see if she could make people like Berio’s music more by making it more repetitive.

What happened is quite fascinating.  Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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