Fans of electronic music know the drill: As soon as the DJ turns up the bass, the crowd goes wild and dances wildly. But to what extent is this a conscious response?
Researchers have taken a closer look at the relationship between bass frequencies and dancing, thanks to an experiment conducted during a real-life electronic music concert.
The results, published in the journal Peer Current Biologyshowed that participants danced about 12 percent longer when the researchers introduced a very low-frequency bass—one that the dancers couldn’t hear.
“They couldn’t tell when these changes happened, but it was driving their movements,” McMaster University neuroscientist David Cameron, who led the study, told AFP.
The results confirm a special relationship between bass and dance, which has never been scientifically proven.
The pulse of music
Cameron, a trained drummer, notes that people attending electronic music concerts “love when they feel the bass is strong” and turn it up very loud.
But they are not alone.
In many cultures and traditions around the world, “it’s low-frequency instruments like bass guitars or bass drums that provide the musical pulse” that moves humans.
“What we don’t know is, can you actually make people dance more with bass?” Cameron said.
The experiment was conducted in Canada, in a building known as LIVElab, which served as both a concert hall and a research laboratory.
About 60 of the 130 people who attended the concert by electronic music duo Orphyx were fitted with motion-sensing headbands to monitor their dance moves.
During the concert, the researchers intermittently turned on and off very low bass-playing speakers.
Questionnaires filled out by concert-goers confirmed that the sound was unrecognizable. This allowed the researchers to isolate the effect of the bass and avoid other factors, such as the dancers’ reaction to a popular part of a song.
Below the level of consciousness
“I was impressed with the impact,” Cameron said.
His theory is that although undetected, bass stimulates sensory systems in the body, such as the skin and the vestibular system—more commonly known as the inner ear.
These systems are very closely related to the motor system – responsible for movement – but in an intuitive way that bypasses the frontal cortex.
He likens it to the way the body keeps the lungs breathing and the heart beating.
“It’s below the level of consciousness.”
Cameron said the research team believes that stimulation of these systems “gives your motor system a little boost. And that adds a little energy and power to your real-world movements.”
He hopes to confirm this hypothesis in future experiments.
As for why humans dance, it remains a mystery.
“I’ve always been interested in rhythm, and especially what it is about rhythm that makes us want to move,” in the absence of a specific function of dance.
Most theories revolve around the idea of social cohesion.
“When you interact with people, you feel a bond with them after a while. You feel good afterwards,” Cameron said.
“By making music together, it allows us to feel better together as a group, and then we can work better as a group, and we can be more efficient, and we have more peace. We can.”
Daniel J. Cameron, Unidentified Very Low-Frequency Sound Enhances Dance in Live Concerts, Current Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.09.035. www.cell.com/current-biology/f … 0960-9822(22)01535-4
© 2022 AFP
reference: Science Confirms: To Light Up the Dance Floor, Turn Up the Bass (2022, November 8) Retrieved November 8, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-science-floor-bass.html
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