We Like Music With High Compressibility

An interesting observation on music was published in BMS Research Notes, a BioMed Central’s journal. It states that the human brain simplifies the complex patterns of the music by removing the redundant and useless data and identifying the patterns. This was very much like the way ‘lossless’ music compression reduces the audio files.

According to a theory, the subconscious mind is able to recognise simple patterns in the complex data. We are programed to find the simple patterns more pleasurable than the complex ones. Dr. Nicholas Hudson used the ‘lossless’ music compression format to imitate the ability of the brain to compress the audio information. He compared the levels of compressibility of random noises and different kinds of music like techno, classic, pop and rock. He found out that random noises can be compressed to about 86% of the actual size. Techno, pop and rock can be compressed to around 60%. The complex 3rd Symphony by Beethoven can be compressed to 40%.

Dr. Hudson says that we respond to the compressibility of the music we hear. Despite the complex structure of the musical masterpieces, we tend to understand and like them because they possess high compressibility. Thus, we prefer a certain kind of music not just by listening to it but also by calculating the compressibility of that musical note.

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