Music to Move the Masses

A look at how politicians, motivational speakers and sports coaches use music to energize their audiences.

Functional Music Comes of Age

From beating drums to enter a trance, to calling troops into battle with a trumpet cry – music has long ushered communities to a common purpose. These days, the study of its function is centered on the workplace, where music can be used to boost productivity by aiding concentration, fostering team spirit and improving employee morale. The Sync Project looks at how functional music is finally coming of age.

What Makes Horror Movie Music So Scary?

From the high-pitched screeching of the famous “shower scene” in Hitchcock’s Psycho, to the ominous and repetitive “dun dun dun dun” as a gigantic shark lurks beneath a swimmer in Jaws, directors have long used music as a powerful tool for scaring the audience. But what is it exactly that makes some music so scary? And is our reaction to it down to nature? Or is it influenced by our environment and prior experiences?

Tuning In As A Team

It’s become the norm to wear headphones at work, as much to enjoy our own music as to tune out the distractions of being in an open office. But what if there were a way to use music as an aid to teamwork, so we could take those headphones off and start tuning in together with our colleagues?

All the Way Up: Time To Change Our Tune Towards Elevator Music?

“Elevator music” or “muzak”: two different names for the same cheesy background tracks we all love to say we hate. But have you ever wondered where the names come from? The Sync Blog explores the history of functional music and where music companies, powered by the latest research, may take this idea far beyond its origins

A Quick Look at Music Recommendation Technology

Chances are your digital music service of choice uses some form of technology for the new tracks it recommends to you. But just how does this technology work? And how effective is it? The Sync Project takes a quick look.

Where To Next For Functional Music?

Music classification is now less about genre and more about mood, with listeners often building their digital playlists for a specific occasion or activity. It’s music with a purpose – or functional music – and it promises to get even more interesting as scientific inquiry comes into play. The Sync Project muses on what could happen next… 

Music Enriches The Language Learning Environment

Familiar with the so-called "Mozart effect" study, which showed evidence of children having improved performance in a cognitive task after listening to Mozart? Later studies have confirmed that music can in fact enhance cognitive functioning, and that these effects are by no means restricted to Mozart, or even to classical music for that matter. But how early on in children’s lives we can start to see these benefits? Recently, a group of researchers arranged a music intervention for nine-months-olds to see whether music training might support language learning in babies. Read more about the fascinating findings of the study in this post.

Sync With Others to Feel Closer

Music automatically moves us. Even if you are sitting absolutely still, your motor cortex is still active when you listen to music. This special link between movement and sound is thought to have been around since music began. It has been proposed that through its capacity to synchronize movements of individuals, music made it possible for us to cooperate more efficiently and thereby survive as a species. Music can therefore be thought of as an inherently social phenomenon, and as something that exists to move us in synchrony, in order to help us bond.