At work, music plays over the Tannoy to help break the monotony. However, it’s the same set of songs looped over and over, and it becomes so mind-numbing after a while that we just become inured to it.
But, music and sound affects the brain in more ways than we first realise, especially if it’s played in the background. It reprograms the mind in ways scientists have yet to fully understand. As an example, with the music playing in a continuous loop at work, it does seem to help overall productivity. I dislike some of the songs they play, but I can’t help but hum or sing along with them. In fact, now I probably know all the words to songs I never really cared for, and I still dislike those songs.
Even if I attempt to tune the music out, subliminally the song still enters into the brain. Within the workplace – such as a factory or a store – if the same music plays over and over, the brain will associate some of those songs with incidents at work outside working hours. For example, if you’re driving somewhere and a certain song plays, you’ll often think, “Oh, they play that song at work.” and the chances are you’ll recall an incident (or anecdote) that occurred during the time that song was playing at work.
Looping music has been played specifically for propagandistic and reprogramming purposes, especially in some of the (now former) Communist countries to desensitise the population. Or to insert messages subliminally.
It’s not so much the music itself that affects the brain, but the embedded and underlying frequencies and vibrations. Sounds resonate at different frequencies. Low frequencies affect our physical well-being as well as our emotions, influencing our procreative energy and personality (whether positively or negatively). High frequencies affect our minds and conscience, impacting our sense of individuality, co-operative energy, and internal power. And very high frequencies affect our higher consciousness, directly influencing our sense of purpose and engendering creative energy and "godness".
A few songs go globally viral within a very short time. They’re usually the dumb and mind-numbing ones, and the ones with monotonous beats. And it’s the background beat that plays an integral part in making the song go viral in the first place, where the brain reacts to the frequencies within the beat to directly influence emotions.
A prime example is Psy’s "Gungnam Style", which has attracted over 1.8 billion hits on YouTube, and has topped six categories on Billboard’s end-of-year charts for 2013, including "Rap Streaming Song", "World Digital Song" and "Dance/Electronic Sweeping Song". It’s stupid and mind-numbing, and I hate it, but it’s catchy and yet I can’t help but tap my foot or suddenly declaim "Oppa Gangnam Style" as the chorus is playing.
Another song whose beat affects the mind, emotions and possibly the soul is Ylvis’s "The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)". This isn’t mind-numbing; in fact, it’s fairly upbeat and I love to hate it or hate to love it. The beat is vibrant and, yes, I sing along to it, knowing most of the words by heart (sad but true). It has just under 280 million hits on YouTube and it’s been played over and over on many radio stations.
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On the surface, these might be good or bad songs, depending on personal music preferences, but subliminally they affect us systemically and our brains are automatically programmed (usually within the first few bars or the first or second times we hear them) to instantly recognize them. Maybe even to sing along to them.