FRIDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Many of the greatest pieces
of music sound highly complex but can be reduced to simple patterns
by the brain, a new study shows.
The brain does this in much the same way that "lossless" music
compression formats reduce audio files to a smaller size -- by
removing redundant data and identifying patterns, explained study
author Nicholas Hudson.
It's believed that the subconscious mind recognizes patterns
within complex data and that our brains are hardwired to find
simple patterns pleasurable, he noted.
In this study, Hudson used lossless music compression programs
to mimic the brain's ability to compress audio information. He
compared the compressibility of random noise to a wide range of
music, including classical, techno, rock and pop.
Hudson found that random noise could only be compressed to 86
percent of its original "file size," compared with about 60 percent
for techno, rock and pop, and 40 percent for Beethoven's 3rd
Symphony, which is considered a highly complex piece of music.
The study appears in the journal
BMC Research Notes.
"Enduring musical masterpieces, despite apparent complexity, possess high compressibility," and it is this compressibility that appeals to listeners, Hudson concluded.
His advice for composers? "If you want immortality, write music
which sounds complex but that, in terms of its data, is reducible
to simple patterns."
The American Music Therapy Association explains how
is used to heal.