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Why Music? Live from Wellcome Collection

Tom Service discovers how music is used to manipulate and control, from music as a tool to subdue or intimidate, to the subconscious role music plays in our daily lives.

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58 minutes

Chapters

  • Panel discussion

    Duration: 03:02

  • Music and pain relief

    Duration: 08:40

  • Panel discussion

    Duration: 05:30

  • Music under dictatorships

    Duration: 09:35

  • Panel discussion

    Duration: 05:06

  • Music in torture

    Duration: 10:42

  • Panel discussion

    Duration: 12:50

  • Power of meditative music

    Duration: 09:54

  • Panel discussion

    Duration: 01:14

Why Music?: Live from the Wellcome Collection: Manipulating the Mind

In a special live edition of Music Matters from Radio 3's pop-up studio at Wellcome Collection, Tom Service discovers how music can be used to manipulate or control patterns of behaviour. He is joined by Professor Paul Robertson, composer Claudia Molitor and music therapist Dr Simon Procter, who discuss new research into how music can be used to control pain during surgery, the controversial use of music in torture, how music can affect our shopping choices, how music can increase our levels of empathy and how it can be used in dictatorships.

From music as a tool to control physical pain, or as a means to intimidate, to the subconscious role music plays in our daily lives, the programme will look at historical and present-day examples and delve into the science behind music's manipulative effect on the brain.

Music as Pain Relief

Music as Pain Relief

Dr Catherine Meads (pictured) of Brunel University, Elizabeth Ball, surgeon at the Royal London Hospital and Daisy Fancourt, researcher at the Centre for Performance Science at the Royal College of Music, explain the findings in recent trials into the healing power of music, and particularly how music can be used to aid patients before, during and after surgical procedures.

Music under dictatorships

Music under dictatorships
Jang Jin-sung is the one-time poet laureate of Kim Jong-il but defected to South Korea in 2004.  As a child, his mother had hoped for him to become a concert pianist.  Through his translator, Shirley Lee, Jang Jin-sung gives Music Matters a revealing account of how music is used to control a whole people under dictatorship in North Korea. 

Music in torture

Music in torture
With historical and contemporary accounts of music used in torture, musicologists Suzanne Cusick and Morag Grant explain the far-reaching psychological and physical effects of music on those who have survived torture to tell their tales: from the torture practices of the Middles Ages to the current War on Terror, and from South America to the Nazi Concentration Camps.

Power of Meditative Music

Power of Meditative Music
Visiting the Buddhapadipa Temple in South West London, we experience the use of chanting in Buddhist ceremonies, and Professor Keith Howard and composer Rolf Hind explores the effects that meditative and religious music has on mind and body.  

Music and empathy

Music and empathy

Psychologist of music, Professor Eric Clarke, talks to Tom Service about his current research trials to explore how music can increase our levels of empathy towards others.

Credit

Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Service

Broadcasts

Music and Empathy - Professor Eric Clarke

Music and Empathy - Professor Eric Clarke

Prof. Eric Clarke talks to Tom Service about how music can increase our levels of empathy

Knock on wood – six stunning wooden concert halls around the world

Knock on wood – six stunning wooden concert halls around the world

Steel and concrete can't beat good old wood to produce the best sounds for music.

The evolution of video game music

The evolution of video game music

Tom Service traces the rise of an exciting new genre, from bleeps to responsive scores.

Why music can literally make us lose track of time

Why music can literally make us lose track of time

Try our psychoacoustic experiment to see how tempo can affect your timekeeping abilities.

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