I recently read a guardian article discussing how the taste of food can be influenced by music, amongst other things such as the weight of cutlery and colours. It was entitled: Melody on the menu: how a sprinkle of Mozart might give your meal zing”. I found this fascinating and was also very pleased to have found the article since it links to one of my major projects. The information for this article can be found on this URL:
The following are some excerpts from the article which I found interesting.
As Charles Spence, a behavioural psychologist states within this article:
“Play the right music to diners and the pleasure they derive from drinking and eating can be greatly enhanced” and, in relation to wine, he states that ” Combine Tchaikovsky or Bryan Ferry with the right bottle and you will have a much better night out.”
“Humans tend to match the same sounds to the same tastes. Sourness is high-pitched, while sweetness is associated with richer, more rounded sounds. Bitterness is expressed in deeper, more mordant tones. Salty, however, is tricky. Spence and his team think it’s something like a throbbing sound, but the version they use in tests doesn’t convince.”
“To demonstrate how musical tones influences taste, Spence stages a test in Berlin. People are given chocolate to eat and two pieces of classical music are played – one sombre, one lighter. Most of those tested reported that the chocolate eaten during the sombre music was more bitter, while that consumed during the lighter music tasted sweeter.”
“Music cannot create tastes or flavours that are not there in your mouth, but it can draw attention to certain notes in a wine or food that are competing in your mind.”
Spence also gives a list of certain foods which pair up to certain music in order to be enjoyed:
“Fish and chips:
Shanghai restaurant Ultraviolet serves its version against a backdrop of Beatles music as a union flag is projected on to the surface of the table.
With a pismo clam cocktail, the fast tempo and high pitch of Maroon 5’s One More Night brings out the bright citrus flavours.
El Celler de Can Roca, the fabled three Michelin stars restaurant in Girona, Spain, serves its version of the dessert together with a commentary of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi weaving past Real Madrid players (known as ‘Meringues’) to score a goal. Brings out the bright citrus flavours.
Dark chocolate mousse, or coffee with a little sugar
Nessun Dorma, performed by Luciano Pavarotti, brings out the intensity/bitterness in the coffee.
Pumpkin crème brûlée
Autumn in New York sung by Billie Holiday, with its high-pitched piano notes and Holiday’s lower-pitched, plaintive voice, emphasises the autumn flavour of cinnamon and pumpkin in the dish.
And with your wine, try …
Château Margaux 2004: Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No 1 in D Major.
Pouilly-Fumé: Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D Major, K285.
Cabernet Sauvignon: 60% more robust when consumed to the sound of Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Chardonnay: 40% more zingy and refreshing when accompanied by Just Can’t Get Enough by Nouvelle Vague.
Dessert wine: Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.”
— This article is intriguing and is something which I had never come across before. I had already understood that food is a powerful topic as the action of cooking can become an art, sometimes in an unusual way such as the methods of Hesten Blumental which conceive ways of cooking in a scientific manner, yet before reading this article I had never thought that tastes could be manipulated. Moreover, this article also ties in heavily with music and health since, of course, “we are what we eat” and thus, ascertaining to this article, music has a direct impact on our health and can perhaps improve our enjoyment and standard of living.
A similar article which provides equal insight into how music can affect food is one found in the FT Weekend magazine, following the activities of the artist Judith Wang who is one of Charles Spence’s students at Oxford. (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5f109c1a-6d44-11e5-8171-ba1968cf791a.html)
In this article she states:
” As well as taste, I’m interested in how sound can change the mouth-feel: does it make the food feel more creamy or the drink feel more astringent?”
” I always come back to my real fascination: wine. It has complex tastes and aromas that change over time, which is also characteristic of music. I really want to compose music which expresses how a wine might unfold in a glass.”