In this article, Jo Lauder discusses PhD candidate Kiralee Musgrove's theory on why we crave bass drops in electronic music.

You know the feeling: you’re on the dance floor and the music cuts back, then starts to build slowly.

As it grows a tingling sensation trickles down your spine. Your heart drums with anticipation.

Breathing gets faster.

The music climaxes… then, the bass drops!

It’s a dizzying, ecstatic moment, but have you ever thought about what is going on in your brain to provoke that physiological reaction?

It’s a question music neuroscience student Kiralee Musgrove is exploring with her PhD on craving the drop.

First, here’s the scientific explanation of “a drop”.

“It tends to follow the breakdown of the music, and then the buildup," Kiralee tells Hack.

“The buildup is where the dj is adding layer upon layer of instrument, the rhythms sound compressed, the volume’s going up and finally you get to the point where the dj drops the bass back into the music.”

Kiralee’s study is looking closely at the relationship between the anticipation of this build-up and the reward we get at the resolution when the bass kicks in. She's focusing on electronic dance music (EDM) because of its formulaic structure.


Read the full story by Jo Lauder at Triple J Hack

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