Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bigger Than The Sound

Robin at Snarkmarket loves Radio Lab. Chris Dahlen at Pitchfork loves Radio Lab. And I love Radio Lab. Won't you love Radio Lab, too?

All WNYC's Nova-meets-This American Life radio show on the vagaries and mysteries of science, for a more-philosophical-than-scientific audience, wants to do is inform and entertain you to within an inch of your life.

This week's podcast installation (from an April 2006 broadcast), on Musical Language, is the best I've heard from Jad and Robert. The topic lets the show's producers completely flex and stretch their audio muscles. And the content gives the most consistent material yet.

From the way repetition can turn ordinary language to a musical phrase, why speakers of nontonal languages can lose perfect pitch, and the physics and psychology of sound, to a thoroughly entertaining account of the reception to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, Radio Lab brings the goods, sounding like nothing else on the radio (but feeling a little bit like everything you already love). Check it out.

3 comments:

rachel said...

the radiolab piece is great, though having never listened to their podcast before, the production style totally spun me out for a while. anyway, what I wanted to say was, a music psychology team at san diego contacted me a couple of years ago, asking if I were willing to offer any thoughts or insights on mandarin-speaking and perfect pitch, as I have both. since my three sisters and I all speak mandarin and all have perfect pitch, she was hugely interested in the correlation, though I didn't know then if she wanted to stress the genetic rather than linguistic dimension. I wonder if it's the same research team? :)

Tim said...

How many music psychology research teams can there really be? :)

kelly said...

i've had, "sometimes behave so strangely," in my head all week! love that show.