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The science song is a strange beast; people have surely converted information to rhythms or rhymes as a mnemonic device for millennia, though the idea of “educational music” as a genre has only recently crystallized. Its target audience has oscillated since then; while Tom Lehrer was playing for adults in the 50s and 60s, a renaissance of children’s television in the 70s, from Sesame Street to Schoolhouse Rock!, marked the style as child’s play. Those children are now grown up and making music of their own. Frank Swain of SciencePunk provides two video examples: Amoeba to Zebra’s “Shake your Backbone” (on the evolution of vertebrates) and One Ring Zero’s “Venus” (from their concept album PLANETS, where every track is a celestial body). Over at Seed Magazine, editor Lee Billings has an interview with One Ring Zero’s Michael Hearst and Joshua Camp about their influences, ranging from Francisco Goya to (naturally) Gustav Holst. Their near-centennial revisiting of the latter’s most famous work may be a harbinger of things to come; legendary hip-hop producer Dr. Dre is looking to get into the act with an instrumental album about the planets.

Amoeba to Zebra: pop songs about natural history

Sciencepunk August 16, 2010

“‘As a band, we all share a fascination with the wonders of the natural world and the evolutionary processes that have shaped the flora and fauna of our planet. We decided to use our combined creative talents to do something truly worthwhile – to tell an incredible story that will stimulate the imagination of young people and leave a lasting impression’”

Indie band sings about the solar system

Sciencepunk August 15, 2010

“The album features guest performances by Mark Feldman (Masada), Hamilton Berry (Vampire Weekend), Curtis Hasselbring (Slavic Soul Party), and guest lyrics by Rick Moody (The Ice Storm). Here’s the video to “Venus”.”

Music of the Spheres

Seed MagazineAugust 17, 2010

“When they began their musical collaboration in 1999, Michael Hearst and Joshua Camp were both college students working part-time as instrument-repair technicians in Virginia. Now, more than a decade later, they live and work in New York City, and their ensemble band, One Ring Zero, has become a celebrated fixture of thoughtful, eclectic ethno-pop music. The band’s latest album, PLANETS, is a paean to the solar system and the scientists and spacecraft that have helped explore it.”

Comments

  1. I’m really glad to see that music is being used in such creative ways. I’ve always heard about music being used for learning but this seems a more scientific approach of actually teaching something at the same time.

    I’m not sure it can be proven, but I would guess that something like classical music could be used to help one learn math. I know a lot of studies have been made on this and it’s nothing new.

    It’s good that science is getting some recognition by musicians.

    After all, science plays a determining role in how any music will sound; as all musical instruments are comprised of different compounds and materials to begin with. Not to mention the loudspeakers and playback equipment that we listen with.

    Interesting!

  2. #2 Abe- Jewish Musician
    January 30, 2011

    Don’t forget Billy Joel’s: we didn’t start the fire.

  3. #3 Improve Your Memory
    March 29, 2011

    It has been show that you can actually increase the memory when you put data to music. Science and music pairing together is great!