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BBC 6 minute English-Life without music

BBC 6 minute English-Life without music

BBC 6 minute English-Life without music


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Rob

Neil: … and I’m Neil. Hello

Rob: Hello, Neil! What tune are you humming, there

Neil: Was I humming? Oh, I woke up with it in my head. It’s that song –you know,hums some kind of pop song

Rob: No idea, what you’re talking about, Neil, but it’s very annoying, so could you just stop it please

Neil: But there’s my problem. I can stop humming it out loud, but it keeps on repeating in my head (more humming). Did you know there’s a name for that, Rob? When a song keeps repeating in your head

Rob: There’s a name? I don’t know what it is – but I’m sure you’re going to tell me

Neil: You’re right! It’s an earworm

Rob: Sounds nasty – is there a cure for that

Neil: I don’t think so! So let’s move on. In this programme we’re talking about music – and how it influences us

Rob: But first, Neil, can you answer this question: If a person has musical anhedonia, does it mean they

a) hate music

b) can’t enjoy music or

c) can’t hear music

Neil: Well, um, ‘anhedonia’ sounds like an illness, so I’m going to go for c) can’t hear music

Rob: We’ll find out if you’re wrong or right later on. But now let’s listen to Professor Charles Spence telling us how music affects what we choose to eat and drink

Charles Spence, Professor of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University

Imagine you’re going to the bar and thinking about a glass of wine. There’s French music playing behind the counter – more than likely you’ll go for a glass of French wine. German music behind the counter – your likelihood of choosing German wine goes way, way up. If they’re playing classical music you might be tempted to spend that little bit more

Neil: What’s the likelihood of you spending more, Rob

Rob: Quite likely, actually Neil – and likelihood means the chance of something happening. I love a good glass of wine

Neil: Me too. But why do we spend more when there’s classical music playing

Rob: Good question. It makes us feel a bit classy – that’s stylish and sophisticated

Neil: I’m guessing hip-hop doesn’t have the same effect. Am I right

Rob: You’re always right, Rob. So, the professor is saying that bars and restaurants use music to manipulate their customers

Neil: And that means to control or influence them. Argh! Earworms! They’re messing with our minds

Rob: I know, I know, and it doesn’t stop there. Restaurants also use the tempo – or speed – of the music to change people’s behaviour. A fast tempo gets customers in and out quickly at busy times. On the other hand, if there aren’t many customers, the restaurant might want to keep people in the place for longer. So they put on music with a slow tempo to create a more relaxed atmosphere

Neil: And atmosphere, in this context, means the mood or tone in a place or situation. Now music is also used to create atmosphere in films. So let’s hear Debbie Wiseman talking about music in the movies

Debbie Wiseman, Film/TV music composer

A director might come to me and say “look, can you help bring the romance to this scene with the music”, and so I might write something beautifully romantic and lyrical working with what I’ve got and suddenly the scene will feel much more romantic, much more tender, much more sexy, whatever it needs to feel, and the music has the power to do that, to achieve that effect

Neil: Sexy, tender, lyrical, romantic – that’s emotional stuff! And lyrical actually means expressing strong emotions. So what’s your favourite romantic moment in a film, Rob

Rob: Oh, there are so many. I’m a sucker for romance. Once the violins start playing, I start blubbing – and yes, Neil – that means I have a good cry

Neil: So sweet! Now, if you’re a sucker for something, for example romance, it means you can’t resist it. I’m more of a sucker for horror myself

Rob: And music is crucial – or extremely important – in creating atmosphere in horror films

Neil: That’s very true. Music is often used to create tension and suspense – or feelings of anxiety and excitement

Rob: Can you imagine Hitchcock’s Psycho without that violin music? Neil does an imitation of the violin sequence from Psycho

Rob: OK, let’s not have a shower scene here in the studio, Neil. You’ll give me nightmares! Now, remember at the beginning of the programme I asked you what musical anhedonia means. Is it someone who

a) hates music

b) can’t enjoy music or

c) can’t hear music

Neil: I said can’t hear music

Rob: And that’s the wrong answer. It’s actually b) can’t enjoy music

Neil: Not a great job for a DJ then. Anyway, Rob, before we go any further, how about those words again

Rob: OK, the words we heard today were

earworm musical anhedonia likelihood classy manipulate tempo atmosphere lyrical blubbing sucker for something crucial tension suspense

Neil: Well, that brings us to the end of today’s 6 Minute English. Try not to catch musical anhedonia and watch out for those earworms! We hope you enjoyed humming along to today’s programme. Please join us again soon

Both: Bye

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