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How music affects the taste of food.

How Music Affects The Way You Taste Food


As you prepare your special holiday meal this season and seek to create the perfect sonic background for you and your guests, consider integrating some science into your music selection.


National Public Radio reports that research is being done on “sonic seasoning,” or how music affects the way people taste food. Yes, this is a field of study! As a general rule, higher-pitched music, such as flutes and pianos, brings out the flavor of sweet or sour foods. On the other end of the spectrum, lower-pitched sounds, including tubas and cellos, enhance bitter flavors.


Charles Spence, of the University of Oxford who is one of the leading thinkers on the sensory perception of food, told NPR:


“Flavor is probably one of the most multi-sensory of our experiences … because it does involve taste and more smell than we realize. But all of the senses come together to give us that one unified experience of flavor.”


In his study, Spence found that pairing drinks and food with the right music can positively alter the taste of the food by as much as 5 to 10 percent.


Of course, what makes great music so enjoyable is the complexity of sounds. For the most part, it is difficult to find a dinner song that is all high notes or all low notes, usually songs incorporate both elements. Still, this is interesting something to consider the next time you host a meal!

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