Re: Mozart Effect (WAS RE: Quiet workplace)

Subject: Re: Mozart Effect (WAS RE: Quiet workplace)
From: "Stitzel, Ken" <kstitzel -at- itc -dot- nrcs -dot- usda -dot- gov>
To: " (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2004 15:34:34 -0700

Interesting comments about the 'Mozart' effect. Years ago, I heard a report
on NPR about a scientist who had managed to record the electrical portions
of human nerve impulses. He came up with the bright idea of feeding them
into a music synthesizer, and the result sounded something like Baroque
music in a major key. (Stands to reason if you think about the harmonic
intervals involved.)

More interesting comments about Meyers-Briggs, etc. Being a Johnson O'Connor
bigot, I usually analyze work habits in terms of aptitudes rather than
personality types. This leads to my hypothesis on music and writing in the

A) We are all born with natural aptitudes. Fortunately or unfortunately,
most of us don't have the perfect mix of aptitudes to be writers. Those of
us who don't just muddle through with whatever we've got.

B) Some of us have multiple strong aptitudes, with several measurable
musical aptitudes being quite common. These are some of the first to mature.
(Processing sounds must've had survival value in the Pleistocene era.)

C) You ignore strong aptitudes at your peril. Having a high aptitude you
don't use is like having a tool that is always in your hand: if you're not
using it, it's just getting in the way. This creates a natural distraction.

D) People try to minimize these natural distractions at work by such things
as listening to music (usually OK) or surfing or playing computer games
(frowned upon). Surfing and games may cater to other kinds of aptitudes like
an ability to work with (implied) three-dimensional objects. Much writing
and computer stuff is non-dimensional.

E) Some bosses tolerate music at work, understanding that it may actually
help some people work better. Others (probably lacking any musical aptitude)
don't get it and think that you're not working if you're listening to music.

F) Some people, such as musician (and ex-Monkee), Michael Nesmith, believe
that reading while listening to music combines to form a different kind of
entertainment than either of the two alone. (He created a couple of nice
compositions for this. Not sure what you get when you combine listening with
writing. The occasional mess cannot be ruled out.... ;-)

Of course, the type of music most suited to working varies immensely. I love
music that requires concentration, but it's not always the greatest to work
to. Short pop tunes--such as early Beatles stuff with its two-minute songs
and cheerful Mersey-beat attitude--cater well to the frequent interruptions
and frustrations of my job. (However much I prefer dark intense 20-minute
jazz jams full of odd shifting time signatures, intricate playing, and
bizarre instrumentation.)

Ken Stitzel
Rent-a-fed for ITC-NRCS-USDA
Fort Collins, CO

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