Weedon’s Wanderings: 9th May 2019


If, like me, you listen to the radio throughout the night you may have come across the phenomenon of ‘dreamt reality’, where a news story works its way into your sleeping fantasy world. It amazes me how an item on the radio can hi-jack a dream I’m already having and join seamlessly into the tale in real time. It can have the odd effect of making me feel clairvoyant when I hear the next edition of the news after waking, and say “Wow, I dreamt that!”

Sometimes my dreams are so outlandish that I realise on waking that they can’t be reality. I had just such a dream last night. I dreamt that a team of scientists in Switzerland have been playing music to maturing Emmental cheeses. They found classics, rock and pop caused changes in the cheeses - and the changes were radically different. Then I woke up - and found it was true. Apparently Mozart’s Magic Flute produces a soft mild cheese with a close texture, whilst hip-hop produces a much stronger flavour with bigger holes. If you don’t believe me, click here.

Of course, music is nothing more or less than a series of vibrations in the air. When these vibrations reach our ear drums and rattle them, the shaking is ‘read’ by nerves and impulses are directed to the brain; the brain brilliantly converts them back into sound for our enjoyment (or otherwise). 

Vibration can be used for other purposes. It’s an important tool in dispelling the bubbles from poured concrete. On that basis, it seems reasonable that certain vibrations (higher frequency ones like Mozart) will help dispel bubbles from Emmental. Conversely, heavy bass such as you hear in rock and hip-hop may actually make bubbles form. That would explain the texture differences. But what about the flavour?

Apparently, bacteria are part of the story in cheese maturation. I can only guess that cheese with more holes in (and thus more air) gives bacteria an aerobic environment and they do their maturation job with more vim and vigour. Or maybe the action of those air bubbles on the cheese makes it mature. Who knows? Certainly not me. But it suggests music has powers that we’ve so far only dreamt of...