Patriotism is expressed in musical speech rhythms

Press/Media: Press / Media

New research from Center for Music in the Brain shows that patriotism in music is expressed through use of speech rhythms from the composer’s native language.

Together with colleagues from London and Amsterdam, MIB postdoc Niels Chr. Hansen, analysed thousands of musical themes composed by French, Italian, and Austro-German composers living in 1600-1950.

During these years, rhythmic variability in French music was initially low – just like in Italian music and language. Later on, it increased towards the natural equilibrium for Austro-German music and language before the rhythms of French music finally diverged into two separate stylistic schools of composition.

Niels Chr. Hansen’s research provides the first quantitative test of key assumptions in historical musicology regarding national influences on European. Specifically, the findings support that (North-)Italian music culture dominated Europe throughout the Baroque Era, followed by increasing influence from Austria and Germany in the Classical Era. In the (National-)Romantic Era, European music culture became more decentralised. The analysis also disproves recurring claims that French composers stubbornly resist foreign influence.


  • Patriotism is expressed in musical speech rhythms

    Lise Søgaard

    Kristeligt Dagblad


TitlePatriotism is expressed in musical speech rhythms
Media name/outletKristeligt Dagblad
Media typePrint
Producer/AuthorLise Søgaard
PersonsNiels Chr. Hansen
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