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Very Low Bass Induces Movement in a Live Concert Audience

Very Low Bass Induces Movement in a Live Concert Audience

Presenter Name:Daniel Cameron

School/Affiliation:McMaster University

Co-Authors:Dobri Dotov, Erica Flaten, Dan Bosnyak, Michael Hove, Laurel Trainor


Prior experiments show that low (bass) frequencies in music are associated with movement: tapping is more synchronous with low vs. high frequency sounds, bass-heavy music is rated as more groovy (elicitingĀ an urge to move), and bass instruments tend to convey the pulse to which listeners tend to synchronize. Anecdotally as well, bass is associated with dancing (e.g., “dropping the bass” in the electronic dance music genre). Here, we tested whether we could use bass to induce dancing in an audience at a real-world concert. At an electronic music concert, audience members were recruited to wear motion capture sensors. We manipulated bass frequencies using Very Low Frequency (VLF) speakers to add stimulation in the 10-35 Hz range, which is unusually low for music and includes inaudible frequencies. The VLF speakers were turned on/off every two minutes. Audience members moved roughly 8% more during the concert when VLF was on. Real-time and post-concert subjective ratings, as well as a follow-up perceptual experiment, together suggest that participants were unable to detect the presence of VLF sound.

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