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Subsonic Frequencies Intensify Emotions

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by wulf, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Here's a link I found to some interesting looking research. The claim is that subsonic (below the range of hearing) frequencies intensify the emotions of the listener.

    Thoughts? Comments? Experiments you've carried out on unsuspecting audiences? :meh:

  2. I've been a member of one.

    A while back, I went to an organ recital - the premier of a new-age composer's latest piece.

    One of the things about the concet was that he made use of the very low range of an organ, where it was subsonic. And it did actually work. As the piece progressed, my mood changed, sometimes to the opposite of what the rest of the music was like, but it was intentional, he told me later.

    So it did work on me. But maybe it only works if the person is open to this kind of thing? I mean, I believe it will happen, so it happens - if you don't believe in it happening at all, would it still happen?
  3. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Interesting stuff.

    There is of course the issue of harmonics. I don't know what kind of waveform they were using for the experiment, presumably a sine wave (seeing as it has no harmonics).

    With the organ, although the notes it's playing may be subsonic, you will hear some of the harmonics from the notes (presumably).

    In fact, with many instruments that play low, you don't hear very much of the fundamental note. For example the lowest notes of a piano (the real growly ones) - you're not really hearing the fundamental at all when you play those notes, you're hearing the harmonics. That's why they can sound out of tune when they're not.

    Some people claim that supersonic frequencies have some sort of effect on music, too. Which would be one justification for using mega sample rates like 96kHz.
  4. With the equipment they were using in the experiment - the 12m tube with the speaker feeding right into it - I'd imagine they'd just be using a pure sine wave, straight off a signal generator.

    A pure sine wave would be easier to produce as well, wouldn't it? The speaker would have a very simple movement, so it would be able to put all its energy into that one wave, yeah?

    Surely it has more of an effect on us, rather than on the music. It's more a case of generating the right frequency to make our mood suit the music that's being played.
  5. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yes, that's if supersonic sound does have an effect on us.

    I don't know if it does or not. I don't know if there's any evidence.
  6. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Doesn't really matter though as far as the effect (if there is an effect) is concerned. Yeah, you'll hear the harmonics but the subsonic note is still there so theoretically the same effect should occur.

    brad cook

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