Music Around the World: Fun Facts you’ll Love! (Part 2)
Last week, we already gave you some amusing facts about music. But, oh boy, there is so much we could discuss! Like how Mozart outsold Adele and Beyoncé, or perhaps the origins of the word hipster and its relation with jazz! Here are more fun facts about music from all around the world that you’ll want to share with your friends to surprise them!
Surprises about slow music
Do you like relaxing on the couch while listening to a soft, slow ballad? So do all of us at Nabi Music. And apparently, cows agree as well! Two psychologists from the University of Leicester performed a curious study back in 2001 and tested the effect music has on milk production. The cows were divided into different groups, one remaining as the “control group”. The researchers played different music genres to the rest of the groups, such as rap, techno music, and slow songs (such as “Everybody hurts” by REM). And this last group of cows produced 3% more milk than the others, including the control group. Apparently, this is because a relaxed cow’s organism releases more oxytocin, one of the hormones needed for producing milk.
And speaking of slow music –really, really slow-, that same year 2001 marked the beginning of what will be a 639-year performance, due to finish in 2640. Wait, what? That’s right! The composer John Cage, the same who created “4’33’’” which is a completely silent piece, composed “As slow as possible” to be performed by an automat organ located in a church in Germany. If you visit it one day, don’t get too excited because it may take months for the chords to change!
Isn’t jazz a blast?
You don’t need a huge orchestra to play great jazz. The most basic formation is called a Piano Trio, and it consists of piano, bass, and drums. Jazz music generates both fans and detractors even today. But where does this name come from? No one is really sure! Some people claim it is derived from some 1910 slang gism, or jism which, by the way, had some steamy meaning… What we do know is that jazz players were called heps back in the 1930s, a slang term used for fashionable people! And this term gave origin to the word hipster we use nowadays.
In any case, jazz musicians don’t care so much about words when they are performing their standards: most of the times, they communicate through nonverbal signals, such as subtle nods of their heads, or pointing towards an instrument… they use these gestures to indicate beginnings and endings, or that another passage of the standard is about to start. Something basic when so much of your music depends on improvisation!
Whether you love jazz or prefer other kinds of music, you should know this genre has a great effect on your health! Some studies prove listening to jazz stimulates the brain to better solve problems and find creative solutions. Jazz also reduces anxiety and stress, although this applies to many different kinds of music.
Inequalities in today’s world
Every country has developed its own musical culture. Take Monaco, for example, known as the wealthiest country in the world if you consider how many of its few residents are multimillionaires. It is such a small, exclusive country than its military forces have just 82 soldiers. That makes its military orchestra, with 85 musicians, bigger than the army!
On the other side of the spectrum, in many, many countries people struggle every day to survive, and musicians aren’t the exception. Take Nairobi’s nightclubs, for instance, in which musicians would play gigs inside metal cages! At least in the 1980s, some club owners used to literally locked down the musicians so they could not steal their equipment, as so few musicians could actually afford their own instruments.
First-timers, best-selling albums, and other Guinness Records fun facts
We all know Mozart is one of the best-selling musicians in history, but did you know he got to beat Grammy awarded artists such as Adele, Drake, and Beyoncé, not throughout the years but in 2016 alone? This is because that year it was the 225th anniversary of Mozart’s death, and the Universal Music Group released a commemorative box set with 200 CDs that basically sold itself! If you count each individual CD instead of each purchase, then yes! Mozart sold more CDs than Queen-B that year, no matter how beautiful she sings and how great her videoclips look!
And speaking of videoclips, the first pop videoclip ever was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, released in 1975. It lasts 5’ 50’’, which was considered too long for a pop song back then. What would those people say about Pharrell Williams, then? The musician released in 2013 a 24-hour music video for his hit song Happy. The song only lasts 4 minutes but kept playing on a loop with random people dancing. This left the previous record way behind: it was Michael Jackson’s Ghosts, 39’32’’ long. Well, at least the King of Pop keeps the record of the best-sold album of all times with Thriller, right? Well… that was until The Eagles surpassed him last August 2019! Sorry, Michael!
What do Thriller and Happy have in common? The number of people who have watched their videos online: more than 600 million views on YouTube EACH! Impressive, right? Well… not to Latin artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee: their 2017 hit song Despacito is the most viewed online video, and as I write these lines, it has reached 10 times MORE views than the others! That’s right, 6,917,000,000 views and still counting! Despacito also holds the record of being the first YouTube video to surpass the 5 billion views. And it’s a great, fun song, but it’s not that the two Portorrican artists had to do something as weird as learning their song backward to record the video… Who would do such a thing? Coldplay’s Chris Martin, for The Scientist, by the way!
We hope you enjoy these fun facts about music!