General Question

Myusernamenotyours's avatar

Why does music sound weird after you slow it down and then speed it back up to normal?

Asked by Myusernamenotyours (177points) June 14th, 2017

It feels weird listening to the music at normal speed after hearing it at 33% tempo…

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3 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ya. Also, slow it down and play it backward. You will hear Satin talking.

Soubresaut's avatar

I assume it’s because our brains are very good at adjusting to the new “norm.” You’ll probably notice that the 33% tempo started to seem “normal” before you switched back to normal speed.

… I increase YouTube videos’ speed frequently. When I slow them down, or sometimes even just return my focus to normal life, everything seems to be moving in slight slow motion.

I can almost remember a study I heard about. It involved participants, a button, and some sort of event caused by the button. The closest mention I could find of it (in a brief and incomprehensive internet search) was a seemingly relevant, although uncited, sentence in a Wikipedia article: ”. . . subjects turning a light on with a button were conditioned to experience the light before the button press.” If it’s the study I’m thinking of, I’m not really sure it’s directly related to the rest of the content in that section, but I suppose I don’t know much about the topic one way or another.

From what I recall, participants were given a button that caused some sort of event. In the first version, the speed of the causal reaction was seemingly instantaneous (the power of electricity!). In a second iteration, the reaction time between the button being pressed and the “event” was deliberately delayed a second or two. However, participants, after some time of adjusting to the delay in the cause-effect, began to believe that it was happening instantaneously (I don’t remember how they assessed that sort of perception). In a third iteration, the speed of the reaction was returned to normal. Participants, however, still accustomed to the time delay between their pressing the button and the “event” occurring, experienced the “event” as occurring before they pressed the button before they gradually recalibrated their perception again.

I think I heard about the study in the context of how humans construct a sense of reality, and especially temporality. It might have been on a podcast. (I might try to find it again later… I just don’t have that kind of digging-through-sources patience right now. If anyone else has an idea of what I might be remembering, please share! :)

Zaku's avatar

Because the music is very strange, but messing with it gets your brain to actually pay awake attention to it instead of just recognizing it and not paying much attention because it’s heard it before and filed it under “normal/expected”.

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