NPR's On The Media

NPR Week 3- Adele


Daniel Levitan, a professor of music, was featured on this week’s On the Media podcast speaking about Adele’s music. He said that in music companies’ research labs, listeners sat down with a track and moved knobs to symbolize when they felt emotionally moved by the music. I never knew that this research method existed. Music is really best when you have some sort of emotional connection with it. I would love to experience being a part of a test like this. The man said that in Adele’s “Someone Like You”, the notes were taken from “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven. Instead of playing the notes on top of one another, like Beethoven’s piece, Adele’s music played them separately. The man was able to pinpoint the exact moment where most listeners’ interest spiked. Also, he discussed the patterns of music that we typically feel connected to. He also said that Adele’s music will hold our interest for years to come because “there is enough nuance and power” in her songs and in her performances.

I think this interested me most because of tap dance. I rhythm tap, which has made me more aware of notes and beats and rhythms, more than any other type of tap or dance in general. The man in the podcast discussed the use of “violating repetition” which is used in Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”. Repetition is a big component of rhythm tap. We typically repeat a step, through variation three times to let the pattern sink into the listener, which sounds similar to why the music industry uses repetition. As listeners we try to make patterns out of what we hear. Adele has definitely taken listeners by storm and it was interesting hearing Levitan’s take on why we are so enthralled by her voice and having the ability to pinpoint the moment when we all typically feel an emotional spike in her song “Someone Like You”.

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