An odyssey through the musical universe, presented by Tom Service
Is complicated music better than simple music?
Tom Service looks at complexity in music. From Bach fugues to contemporary pop production, musicians and composers love to elaborate ideas to the limits of their imaginations. But when we listen, we only have one chance to hear all that's going on in their music. According to physicist Marvin Minsky, the human brain can only register a maximum of three different musical ideas going on at the same time. So how do we manage to enjoy listening to the rich counterpoint of a Mozart symphony, a Beethoven string quartet, even a highly produced pop song by Janelle Monae? Tom wrestles with ideas of detail versus texture, emotion versus intellectual design and asks, can we hear the wood for the trees?
Why do babies love music?
Why do we seem to love music from the day we're born? Are we born musical or do we learn it along the way?
Whether it's melodies by Mozart, Queen, nursery rhymes or Baby Shark, music seems to captivate our babies - but what is it about these tunes that they're enjoying?
Tom is joined by infant psychology expert Dr Laurel Trainor to find out how babies really interact with music - what are they hearing in the womb? Do they have musical preferences? Does participating in music have any developmental benefits? And is there any truth in the so-called Mozart effect?
How do you go about writing music for tiny people? Andrew Davenport, creator and composer of iconic pre-school hit In the Night Garden and Moon and Me explains how babies and music go hand in hand.
And Tom finds out why we've sung lullabies to our infants all over the world since Babylonian times.
Hannah Thorne - producer
Better than background music?
From ancient Greek drama until today, music has often been an integral part of the theatre and it's where many concert hall staples - think Beethoven's Egmont... Schubert's Rosamunde... Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream.... Grieg's Peer Gynt - began life. But does the very act of collaboration make incidental music a sort of anaemic, second rate cousin to symphonies, string quartets and sonatas? To help find answers, Tom Service enlists the help of theatre director Elle While and Harrison Birtwistle, whose music was so vital to the 1983 landmark Peter Hall National Theatre production of Aeschylus's The Oresteia.
David Papp (producer)
Countertenors - classical rock gods!
From Frankie Valli and Jimmy Somerville to Andreas Scholl and Iestyn Davies - Tom Service celebrates the male singers hitting the high notes.
Why do they do it? How do they do it? And why is it so uniquely thrilling a sound? And it's not about singing like a woman!
With inside knowledge from countertenor Lawrence Zazzo.