05 October 2007

music for bicycling

for a good while now, a series of horrendously unethical experiments have been committed whilst on the workday commute. namely, the listening to music ... on a bicycle! tsk-tsk, yes, but our foolhardy lad has done it for science, namely the science of musical propulsion. that is, do certain musics help propel a cyclist forward? do others decelerate the noble rider? Studies were done with a small flash-memory media player and a pair of hanging-in-the-pinna "earbuds" (not to be confused with "earbuds" that have some sort of inserted rubber coupler that creates a seal).

notice: there is terrible bass response in earbuds, as there is rampant leakage, along with large amounts of wind noise masking the desired input. This is of great consequence in the effectiveness of the music by way of its fidelity: my spine may be the bass line, but these cotton-pickin' headphones aren't cutting it (though they sure are cutting out the bass). that is, if the music relies on low-frequency communication, it ain't going to cut it. so much with cuts, on to the results!

so early in the race, a surprise
kraftwerk, despite rolf & florian's love of all things pedal-powered, doesn't make for great cycling. how could this be? they even wrote some music for the tour de france! methinks the answer is twofold: teutonic beats aren't as great as they might seem for the rhythm of cycling, and a lot of kraftwerk's bass lines are narrowband signals (read: pseudo-sine waves) that get lost in the wind-trashed morass. all of man-machine, autobahn & computer love were tried. the audibility issue was supported by further attempts with selections from their live collection minimum/maximum, which gave a bit more propulsion thanks to the live-sound compression, but still not enough to call kraftwerk cyclable. perish the thought!

1 comment:

Lynndi Lauper said...

Hey, maybe we'll run into each other one of these days. You'll be humming along, listening to music on your bicycle, and I'll be driving a cargo van to work, reading blogs on my iphone and sipping coffee. I don't brush my hair until I get to a stop sign though because of the obvious danger.