Radiolab: Classical Music is a Riot

Radiolab is a science show which comes at some fundamental questions from an unusual perspective. From their website:

Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility.

One of the early episodes has science author Jonah Lehrer talking about the riots at the premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. While the exact cause of the riot is disputed, Lehrer presents a physiological explanation: the part of our brain which processes new sounds was simply overwhelmed in all the listeners, and they literally became temporarily insane.

The episode is a fascinating look at how we hear, and how what we hear affects us. If you enjoy this one, there’s a lot more at the Radiolab website.

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