World’s Strangest

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“Moonlight Sonata” in a Bus Station

Can you play Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on piano? If you’re a random bus commuter in Newcastle, UK, the answer apparently is “yes” — with a little help from your friends. In this video, Andy Jackson of the Cobweb Orchestra plays the majority of the piece, leaving the high melodic lines for passersby. He coaches [...]

10,000 Singers Belt Out “Ode to Joy”

In Japan, it’s an end-of-year tradition to sing “Ode to Joy,” the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The song is so well-known in Japan that it’s known simply as daiku, literally “number nine.” In Osaka, a 10,000-person-strong “Number Nine Chorus” of amateur singers performs daiku every December, to thundering effect. While [...]

The Quick 10: Happy Birthday, Beethoven!

Happy Birthday to Beethoven! At least, we think it’s his birthday (see #1). To celebrate, let’s all bash someone over the head with a chair, stop washing our clothes and drink way too much coffee. Read on to read about those habits and seven more unusual facts about the great composer. 1. There’s no official documentation to [...]

A Short History of Long-Haired Music: The Classical Era, part 3

If you missed our previous installments, check out A Short History of Long-Haired Music archives Some people refer to it as the “Viennese Style.” Others, the “Viennese Classical School.” Whatever you call it, by the late 1700s, the Austrian capital of Vienna had clearly become the hot musical spot in Europe. It was in Vienna that [...]

Inside Oliver Sacks’s Brain (As He Listens to Music)

Neurologist Oliver Sacks prefers Bach to Beethoven — I’m just the opposite. But enough about me, let’s talk Sacks. Dr. Sacks volunteered to have his brain scanned while listening to each composer’s music. What’s interesting is that listening to Bach has a visible effect on his brain, which isn’t present when listening to Beethoven — [...]

Beethoven’s 5th Completely Visualized

Hit Play or go to Link. Here’s a hypnotizingly apt way of visualizing music. There’s a bunch of these on You Tube, but Beethoven’s 5th is decidedly the best. If you’re curious as to which instrument is represented by each color bar, well…here you go.