Volume 115, Number 6, September 2016
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology|
|Published online||04 November 2016|
Emergence of collective intonation in the musical performance of crowds
School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London - Mile End Road, E14NS London, UK
Received: 6 August 2016
Accepted: 12 October 2016
The average individual is typically a mediocre singer, with a rather restricted capacity to sing a melody in tune. Yet when many singers are assembled to perform collectively, the resulting melody of the crowd is suddenly perceived by an external listener as perfectly tuned —as if it was actually a choral performance— even if each individual singer is out of tune. This collective phenomenon is an example of a wisdom of crowds effect that can be routinely observed in music concerts or other social events, when a group of people spontaneously sings at unison. In this paper we rely on the psychoacoustic properties of pitch and provide a simple mechanistic explanation for the onset of this emergent behavior.
PACS: 89.75.-k – Complex systems / 43.66.Lj – Perceptual effects of sound
© EPLA, 2016
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