Music & Cheese: Dr. Larry Burriss


Music & Cheese

By Dr. Larry Burriss

An ongoing social science debate asks about the impact music can have on our lives. Can it lead to violent behavior? Can it be calming? Do some kinds of music have some kinds of influence some of the time?
Well, scientists the Bern University of Arts in Switzerland have come up with what appears to be conclusive evidence: music can influence the growth and development of . . . cheese.
The scientists started with 9 22-pound wheels of cheese. For six months five were exposed non-stop to different kinds of music. Another three were exposed to high, medium and low frequency tones. One was used as a control.

Music included Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” Yello’s “Monolith,” A Tribe Called Quest’s “Jazz,” and Vril’s “UV.”
After six months, the cheeses were examined by food technologists and culinary experts, who concluded the cheese exposed to music had a milder flavor than the non-music cheese. Of the cheese exposed to music, the testers said the hip hop cheese had a stronger aroma and stronger flavor. Other researchers said the cheese exposed to hip hop had a slightly sweeter taste.

But, in case you think this is just crazy, there is, in fact, an entire science called sonochemistry that looks at how sound waves influence solid objects.
Further, numerous studies have found different kinds of music have different influences on plant growth. In fact, some studies have reportedly found some kinds of music can actually kill a plant.
And still other research has found a connection between music genre and fetal response in the womb.

Now, before you run out and put audio speakers in your refrigerator or greenhouse, or on your pregnant abdomen, we need to be careful and note there is a vast difference between saying there is a connection and saying music has this or that particular effect.
But if the results in Switzerland hold up, maybe someday you can buy a brick of Led Zeppelin or Lennon/McCartney mild or strong cheese.
I’m Larry Burriss.