Thursday, May 15, 2008

If Music be the Food of Love...

Apparently wine actually tastes better with music. That's somewhat interesting in itself, because while I'd say many experiences are more pleasurable with music, this claim is actually stronger - that you have the pleasure of the music and more pleasure from the wine. It could thus be an example of something like G. E. Moore's organic unities (the whole being more than the sum of the parts).

A sceptic might wonder whether this kind of claim could be true. Can the wine really taste better? Surely its taste isn't affected by music, even if people's perceptions are somehow tricked. This is a case though where there doesn't appear much room for scepticism since, intuitively, what you taste is what you taste (if you get my drift). If it seem to taste good to you, then it tastes good, irrespective of 'objective quality' of the wine. In this respect, it's like pain - if you feel like you're in pain, you are.

I'd like to know more about what music might complement what wine. The report claims "cabernet sauvignon was most affected by "powerful and heavy" music", but it seems that they deduce this from Carmina Burana by Orff and go on to recommend All Along The Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix), Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones), Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney and Wings), and Won't Get Fooled Again (The Who) - that seems slightly odd in itself to me, but I don't know the full details of the study.

In any case, I wonder what wine would suit my listening habits. Thom Brooks also picks up on the story, but has nothing to add about wine for Rammstein or Metallica.

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At 7:10 pm, Blogger Nick said...

What if the music somehow stimulates parts of the brain, say, related to perception and discrimination between different sensations? So individuals would have a more complex, and possibly qualitatively superior, experience when drinking wine.

I've no idea if this is true or even scientifically plausible. But if it is what is going on, it would seem that the taste of the wine really could be objectively better.

At 11:31 am, Blogger The Brooks Blog said...

A point well taken --- the main reason may well be my preference for anything but wine . . .


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