Negative and positive attributes of musical vibration

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Part I – Exercise

 On the micro level- it’s all vibrations. Who would have thought that stimulating the ears, those tiny vestibules of sound, could morph the body into a machine of efficiency and pleasure.

It’s been a while since I started working out. Fitness is a huge aspect of my and many others lives and what’s got me to this point isn’t just the will to put myself through pain. Inevitably, it gets tough, and we all turn to different things, whether that be coffee, pre workouts, or a personal trainer, we eventually need that extra push to get through a gruelling challenge. A 2010 study revealed that songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute (bpm) have the maximum effect on moderate exercisers. Personally, I know that I couldn’t have gone more than a year had it not been for a solid playlist.

We’ve all been there, exhausted already from a long day of work, stuck in gyms with quiet music, stultifying pop-music, or even no music. You really notice that, and it sends users into atomised scenarios of ear and headphones. Now this can be good, as music has been shown time and time again to be scientifically proven to boost a workout. But what’s better is a big sound system and electronic music of the right BPM. Think structured techno, which aids in pace and rhythm and matches the heartbeat. I first discovered this in a gym in Basildon, Essex, where a local DJ stepped up to the decks in a warehouse. There was techno. There were no strobes or lasers, just dumbbells and squat racks.

Now this sounds strange, and it might be just that. But, what is demonstrates is the versatility of a genre, along with the positive effect of music upon areas outside of the dance scene. The focus on peoples faces was clear, and in different corners of the room those resting were nodding there head to the techno as it pulsated throughout the walls of the gym. It’s the buzz of this musical addition and its acoustic quality that has users going back. From it’s outside it feels like a club, and inside the rush felt whilst working out cuts out the need of stimulants and motivational words.

On the surface, it appears to be a matter of preference for bass. Yet, researchers at McGill University in Canada have observed the ability of music to profoundly affect our emotions, profoundly elevating our mood. Their findings revealed the affects of music in the right context is akin to having sex, taking MDMA or eating tasty food. Although a mass of research into the neural science behind music cognition has been undertaken over the years, relatively little is known about the neurochemical processes underlying musical pleasure, so these latest findings are truly noteworthy and a hint to all gym goers, managers and fitness fiends alike.

Try these tracks for an extra push:

  • Dustin Zahn – Stranger to Stability (Len Faki’s Podium Remix)
  • Thomas Schumacher – Apollo
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About Author

Daniel Hammond

After experiencing his first gigs in the scrapyards of Canning-town, London, Daniel has been hooked on the energy of music. A journey ensued, taking him through a plethora of genres, scenes and all manner of global venues. Daniel focuses his current writing on the distinctive power of house and techno. Expect to hear what’s fresh, where to be and what this means for music.

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