Fun Facts About Music That’ll Blow Your Mind

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Music is a universal language. No matter who we are and where we live, music speaks to us. But what is it about music that we find so appealing? Perhaps these weird music facts will help shed some light on these questions. Here are 57 fun music facts sure to blow your mind.

57 Fun Facts About Music

  1. Music has over 1,300 genres. The most common genres that we’re familiar with are: hip-hop, pop, rock, alternative rock, jazz, blues, country, pop, folk, and electronic. However, there are rare, unheard of genres, such as: lowercase, stomp and flutter, deep psychobilly, vegan straight edge, and more. Each country has its own type of musical culture that their citizens listen to/play. 
  1. The first completed musical piece [to be discovered] dates back to the 1st Century. The piece is called “Seikilos Epitaph”, and it was written on a tombstone near Aydin, Turkey, by the ancient Greeks. Although the epitaph is written with clear musical notations, the melody and rhythm was not concise enough. The original epitaph now lies at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. 
  1. The first instrument that was ever discovered was the flute. Unlike modern day flutes, the prehistoric flutes were created out of man made materials — such as ivory and bird bones. Neanderthals were the primary inventors of the instrument that is so widely used in today’s society. The flute has been altered many times, and has gone through many different variations. The pan flute, recorder, c flute, piccolo, and bass flute are just five of the many that have been recorded throughout history. 
  1. Frank Sinatra was the first modern pop star. Between his Rat Pack posse and his ‘bobby-soxers’ (female teenagers who idolized the popular singer), Sinatra paved the way for male pop stars today. Although women no longer wear ‘bobby socks’ today, early 2000s bands like One Direction and NSync were similar to Sinatra. Their music spoke to thousands of female teens, and they were always hanging out within their own group (or ‘Rat Pack’). Sinatra was also a civil rights advocate, who constantly treated African Americans with the utmost respect. According to Quincy Jones, when he worked with Sinatra in the late 1900s, discrimination towards people of color was still very much encouraged. Fortunately for Jones, Sinatra hired two bodyguards for him and Basie’s orchestra. Sinatra ensured the protection of his friends, and allegedly never discriminated, based on race.
  1. Autotune wasn’t created until 1990. This meant that any song that an artist performed [prior to] was their own authentic voice. Antares Technologies was the first company to develop the feature — with their intent being to correct an artist’s pitch with ease. Oftentimes, either an artist is unable to reach a certain note in their song, or their vocal chords are tired from spending all day in a recording booth. Auto tune makes it easier for both the artist and the record label. It allows for the artist to lessen the strain on their voices, and provides the record label producers with a new editing technique. Cher was the first artist to test out auto tune, with her hit single, “Do You Believe In Life After Love?”.
  1. The first record player was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877, but it’s not the type that you’re thinking of. Edison invented a phonograph, which was the first type of record player. Alexander Graham Bell modified Edison’s invention and created the Graphophone, but it still had its electronic faults. Well, nearly a decade later, Emile Berliner took a shot and created the new and improved ‘gramophone’, using a disk and a needle. He then sold the rights to The Victor Talking Machine Company (the company that has the dog staring into a phonograph). From there, the gramophone was modernized even more — becoming what we know today as the record player. 
  1. The dance scene in the 1920’s were vibrant and full of life. These were the times when flappers would wear their short dresses and feathered headbands, and perform a synchronized dance routine. Musicians like Willy Smith, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Rudy Vallee ruled the 1920’s. If you’ve ever read The Great Gatsby, then this all sounds very familiar. F Scott Fitzgerald captured the true essence of the 1920’s — especially when describing Daisy Buchanan. 
  1. The first ever Grammy Awards premiered on May 4, 1959. While today, there are 4 major Grammy categories (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist), the “Best New Artist” category didn’t exist until the following year. Singer, Domenico Modugno, took home Grammy awards for ⅔ of the major categories (Record of the Year and Song of the Year). Henry Mancini won Album of the Year, for his album, “The Music From Peter Gunn”.
  1. Different genres of music can influence the way that dogs react. Just as we feel different types of emotions from different genres, dogs react the same way. While you may be bumping your head to heavy metal music, your dog may be hiding under the couch in a different room. The louder and more aggressive a song is, the more sensitive it is to your dog’s ears. On the contrary, if you play classical music in the background, your dog may go from being playful, to calming down. There are many types of sounds on YouTube to help your restless pup get a good night’s sleep. Almost all of the sounds contain a soothing ambience (hence, classical or tropical music). 
Can You Hear the Full Spectrum from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz?
  1. Humans can hear frequencies, ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. However, the human eardrum has the capability to withstand a frequency as high as 28 kHZ. The standard pop song plays at an average frequency of 440 Hz. Songs that play at 432 Hz have been theorized to provide more of an emotional effect on the human psyche, but that theory has yet to be confirmed. Dogs can hear frequencies between 67 Hz to 45,000 Hz. The higher a frequency is, the more painful it is to a dog’s ears. If you think that your ears hurt after hearing your smoke detector go off, imagine how your dog’s ears must feel. You may find them either hiding under surfaces, or crying/barking in distress. 
  1. Greenwich Village, NYC was home to folk music in the 1960s. The village is where stars like Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Neil Young, and Judy Collins got their start. There were available venues all around the Greenwich Village area, where folk artists would play their songs that stood against inequality, discrimination, and injustice. A majority of folk artists stood up for what they believed in, and the Beats despised them for it. In April of 1961, the Beatnik Riots ensued. Hundreds of folk artists gathered in Washington Square Park to play music, and the NYPD showed up, preparing to arrest and detain them. The day went down in history, and as of today, if you walk through Washington Square Park, you’ll be greeted by the sound of someone playing music in the park. 
  1. On September 12, 1866, The Black Crook premiered on Broadway, in Niblo’s Garden. Originally written as a novel by Charles M. Barra, the storyline was adapted by Thomas Baker, and transformed into a musical. The musical was categorized as a romantic comedy, and followed the story of Count Wolfenstein, as he plots to win the heart of an innocent, engaged woman named Amina. Since Amina is engaged to be married, her mother works with Count Wolfenstein to have Amina’s fiance killed. There are numerous conflicts that ultimately result in Count Wolfenstein’s failure. The Black Crook is considered to be the first Broadway Musical, and went on to produce almost 500 total performances. 
  1. The soundtrack process in film consists of numerous components. Firstly, the music supervisor must work with the director to determine the theme of music that they’d like to do. Next, the music supervisor spends countless hours sorting through relevant songs that could fit the ambiance of the film, and propel the storyline further along. Although the writing and acting are essentially towards making a movie ‘successful’, music is a key factor in securing the director’s vision. For example, “A Fault In Our Stars” was heartfelt, sad, and towards the end, thousands of people were left in tears. The writing was beautiful, but the slow, emotional ballad during Hazel’s eulogy to Gus was an automatic  tear jerker. After selecting the right song for production, the music supervisor works with the artist to secure the rights to the song. 
  1. Each genre of music contains its own song structure. The typical structure for a pop song will include two verses, two pre choruses, 2-3 choruses, and one bridge. You’d find that type of structure if you listened to artists like: Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and Justin Bieber. As for rap/hip hop, there’s the intro, hook, and verses. As for jazz, there is no set song structure. There’s the typical melody that plays for the duration of the song, and in place of the “bridge”, there are ‘improved solos’. This part would normally include a saxophone, horn or bass. 
  1. Electric guitars were invented in 1936, by George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker. Rickenbacker was an electrical engineer, and Beauchamp was an inventor of musical instruments. Together, the two had created the first electric guitar, and they even went on to co-found a company, called the Rickenbacker Guitar Company. They retailed the first Rickenbacker guitar/amp set for $175. George Barnes became the first musician to record a song with the electric guitar in the background. Barnes’ singles, “Sweetheart Land” and “It’s a Lowdown Dirty Shame” were recorded on March 1, 1938. 
  1. Typically, a professional songwriting session can last up to 24 hours. It typically doesn’t take longer than that to write the lyrics for a hit song. Charlie Puth wrote “See You Again” in 10 minutes. Meaghan Trainor co-wrote “All About That Bass” in 40 minutes. Taylor Swift wrote “Love Story” in 20 minutes. The reason why musicians take longer to release their single is due to the production and execution of the song. This includes adding harmonies, instrumentals, correcting their pitches, and audio mixing. It can also take a lot of re-listening and fine tuning the song. One minute, the artist can love the song, and the next, they can decide that the song needs an extra harmony, or that they’re not fond of the second guitar. This is why it’s so important for the artist to be creatively involved with the producer’s every decision. 
  1. Although there are numerous ways that an artist can categorize the genre of their music, the most common way is by calculating the “beats per minute”, or BPM. The BPM of a song will guide musicians into narrowing down the list of over 1,000 possible genres that their song could fit into. For example, the standard BPM of pop music is approximately 100-130 BPM. “Break Free” by Ariana Grande has a BPM of 130. When looking into the genre of rock, the range is a bit higher — 110-140 BPM. “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n’ Roses is calculated at 123 BPM. 
  1. Jingles don’t have to contain an original soundtrack to be chosen for a commercial. All you have to do is write a catchy set of lyrics, relating to the product/service that’s being advertised. Although production would love to showcase an original tune, it’s not necessary. For example, during the old Reese’s Puffs commercials, there were different scripts surrounded by the same jingle. On the contrary, coca cola has switched up the instrumentals of its jingles over the years — going from a recycled tune, to original masterpieces. 
Calypso Music
  1. Calypso songs are a type of Afro-Carribean that was primarily popular in the Carribean islands. West-African slaves used Calypso as a means of communication towards one another. Slave-owners prohibited their slaves from engaging in verbal communication. So, they improvised and sang towards one another. The tone of their voice and their body language expressed the different types of emotions that they were feeling.
  1. Bob Marley was the first well known, third world musician. Marley was born in Nine Mile, Jamaica, and released a total of thirteen studio albums throughout his career (two additional live albums were also released). He was known for writing all of his songs, and kick started his career by starting Bob Marley and the Wailers. 
  1. The first Woodstock Festival began on August 15, 1969. 500,000 fans showed up at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, where artists such as: Jimi Hendrix, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and Joan Baez headlined. Hendrix was paid the most to perform at Woodstock — a whopping $18,000. The Woodstock Festival shaped the way that modern day festivals/concerts are structured. 
  1. Baladi is the standard soundtrack for belly dancers. The music originated in Egypt, in the late 1800s, and was an ode to feminism. The female dancers utilized belly dancing to take back control of their bodies and feel empowered. 
  1. Selena Quintanilla broke the record for being the first Latin music artist to achieve four chart topping hits. Quintanilla was initially known for being a ‘Tejano’ music artist. This title came in handy at the 1994 Grammy Awards, when Quintanilla was crowned the first Tejano artist to win a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Album.
  1. The first set of maracas were created from the higuera fruit. Higueras are small and round in shape. The Tainos were the first indigenous people to turn the fruit into the musical instrument that we know today. They cleared the ‘meat’ of the fruit by making two tiny incisions on both the top and bottom layers. After, they inserted tiny seeds into the holes, and they finished it off by attaching a handle — commonly made out of wood. 
  1. Throat-singing (also known as overtone singing) originated in Southwestern Mongolia, and was created by the indigenous folk. It’s primarily led by females — one acting as the leader, and the other following along. While standing parallel to one another, the leader begins to ‘sing’ — though it’s more like a rhythmic tone. She holds the note for a while, which signals that it’s time for her partner to chime in with a different tone. Overtone singing is still practiced, internationally. 
  1. Beat-boxing first rose to fruition in the 1980s, when hip-hop and rap were gaining popularity. As more rappers hired beatboxers to assist them with a fuller sound, New York became a beatboxing hot spot. Doug E. Fresh was the first well known beatboxer. The former bandmate of The Roots not only knew how to beatbox, but his multitasking abilities were out of this world. He was able to sing and beatbox at the same time. Fresh paved the way for the ever-so-talented Pentatonix beatboxer, Kevin Olusola. The first beatboxer to release their first all-beatbox album was NaPoM. NaPoM has been beatboxing since 2011, and now utilizes his own special beatboxing talent: the lip roll. 
  1. Silent films contained music, so that the external sounds would not be heard by the audience. Since silent films required constant attention towards facial expressions, the music that was chosen for each silent film, aided in pushing the storyline along. For example, Charlie Chaplin’s silent films were comedic and full of life. Therefore, the music that was typically associated with Chaplin’s films were that of an upbeat sound. During chase scenes, the music would get faster — associating the quick tempo with a suspenseful storyline. 
  1. Big Audio Dynamite was the first band to engage in sampling a song. Their album, “This Is Big Audio Dynamite” (released in 1985) contained samples from The Who, The Clash, Lionel Richie, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, & more. “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons holds the record for the song that’s been sampled the most (over 2,000 times).
  1. Haunted attractions and horror movies use infrasound to create that fear-induced anxiety within us. Infrasound can not be audibly heard by humans, as the sound is too low, but the effects of the sound are just as powerful. 
  1. Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, CA is the home of rock music. In the 60’s, Jim Morrison, The Byrds, the Beach Boys, and Joni Mitchell (amongst others) lived in the area. In 2018, a documentary was released that showcased the history of Laurel Canyon’s most legendary rock musicians. The documentary is called, “Echo In The Canyon”, and can be streamed on either Netflix or Amazon Prime. 
  1. Lowell Mason was the first music teacher. In 1837, he taught a music class at the Hawes School in Boston, Massachusetts. Mason’s class paved the way for music classes to be implemented in public schools. 
  1. The first drum was discovered in 5000 B.C., and it was located in China. Although in today’s society, drums are made out of plastic, wood and metal, in the early years, those resources weren’t readily available. So, the Chinese built drums out of thick reptile skin, and mammal bones. 
  1. The first CD player was created by SONY in 1982, and initially sold at over $1,000. Today, you can find a CD player online, for as low as $15. The headphones associated with the CD player may not be comfortable on your ears, but it can now be considered as a modern day ‘antique’.
  1. Marc Hirsh — journalist at the Boston Globe — first discovered that the I-V-vi-IV chord progression was a common pattern, amongst popular songs. Some examples of modern songs that use the I-V-vi-IV chord progression, include: “All Too Well” by Taylor Swift, “Born To Be Yours” by Kygo ft. Imagine Dragons, “California King Bed” by Rihanna, and more. 
  1. Since the early 2000s, artists have decreased the duration of their songs by 16%. “My Happy Ending” by Avril Lavigne was released in 2004, and had a duration of 4 minutes — whereas Ariana Grande’s hit single, “Positions”, is only 3 minutes and 22 seconds long. 
  1. The first pair of headphones were used by telephone operators in the early 1900s, and weighed approximately 10 lbs. The headphones were so heavy that the above-piece had to sit on the operator’s shoulders. Today, Apple headphones weigh 0.14 oz, and fit comfortably in our ears. 
  1. The average pay per stream on Spotify ranges from $0.00331-$0.00437. This means that artists can expect to receive anywhere between $3-$5 per 1,000 streams. On Apple Music, the pay per stream is significantly higher. As of 2020, Apple Music will pay its musicians $0.00783 per stream. For every 1000 streams that an artist receives, they’ll be paid approximately $7. As for YouTube, the artist’s revenue is calculated by the amount of times an ad is watched. 
  1. Nathaniel Baldwin created the first public set of headphones in 1910. After making a few alterations, his invention became a success. They were much more comfortable than the headphones that the operators had used, and Baldwin was rushing to make more for the U.S. Navy officers. 
  1. In the 1940s/1950s era, the British parliament banned American imports — including all types of American instruments. Although some people were able to smuggle in guitars (such as George Harrison from The Beatles), it was tough for aspiring musicians to acquire the finances to privately import instruments from America. The British government imposed this law, so that Britain’s economy would strengthen. 
  1. Although today, jazz is considered to be relaxing and enjoyable, in the 1920s, the musical genre was perceived as the “Devil’s music” by a wide variety of people. Jazz was unlike previous forms of music. There was no concrete song structure. Jazz musicians always improvised their solos during their sets, and the public was initially burdened by that. 
  1. While we now know the term as “music”, it was originally called “mousike”. The Greeks used “mousike” to describe the various types of art that their muses created — poetry, art, music, etc. 
  1. In order to become proficient at playing an instrument, you must practice your craft for 10,000 hours. According to his novel, “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell notes that “10,000 hours is the magic number of greatness”.
  1. The violin is the most difficult instrument to play. In order for one to learn the violin, not only do you need to angle the bow correctly, but maintaining a good posture is key. You also need to know the right bow pressure. If you play too lightly, the right amount of volume may not be audible. However, if you apply too much force onto the bow, the violin will emit a ‘screechy’ sound. 
  1. Musician, Mike Patton, has a vocal range of six octaves — the widest vocal range of any well known musician. Patton is best known for his vocals in Faith No More, and Tomahawk. Aside from singing, Patton has also used his wide vocal range talent to pursue a career in voice acting. 
  1. In the early-mid 2000s, the Recording Industry Association of America sued over 35,000 people for illegally downloading music off of the internet. This was around the time when Limewire was widely used. Hundreds of thousands of people across the world would illegally pirate audio files from Limewire, and transfer them to their iPods. 
  1. After the release of Lady GaGa’s 2011 hit single, “Judas”, the song was banned in Lebanon for being ‘offensive’ to the Christianity community. Government officials stopped the influx of Lady GaGa albums at the Beirut airport and confiscated them. 
  1. In 2020, Billie Eilish broke the record for the youngest artist and first woman to win four of the biggest categories on the Grammys. At only 18, Eilish won Grammy awards for “Album of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, “Best New Artist”, and “Record of the Year”. She also won an award for “Best Pop Vocal Album”. 
The Original Gangum Style Video
  1. The first music video to have reached one billion views on YouTube is the 2012 hit, “Gangnam Style” by Psy. The video was initially uploaded on July 15, 2012, and by December, the music video reached one billion views by December. 
  1. “Macarena” by Los del Rio is the biggest selling one hit wonder of all time. The song was released in 1993, but didn’t gain immense popularity until 1996 — when the Bayside Boys created a “Macarena” remix. 
  1. Ed Sheeran holds the world record title for the most amount earned during a concert tour. After his Divide tour (which lasted from 2017 to 2019), Sheeran earned a total of $775 million in concert ticket sales. 
  1. In 1859, New York City held their first free public concert in Central Park. This would be the first of many — as part of their ‘Free Saturday Concert’ promotion. Since then, they’ve expanded to music venues across all five boroughs. 
  1. The armonica is considered to be the world’s most dangerous instrument. The armonica was invented in 1761 by Benjamin Franklin, and could be used by wetting your fingers and applying a back and forth friction around the rings. Unfortunately, the rings were made of lead — making it easy for the human skin to absorb, and eventually leading to numerous deaths. The armonica received a bad reputation, and thus, the harmonica was created in 1821.
  1. Elvis Presley had never partaken in formal classes or music composition training. Every song that he learned how to play on the guitar, piano and bass were all self-taught. 
  1. Listening to music while exercising has been scientifically proven to increase your determination, towards finishing your workout. It increases your stamina and provides a temporary distraction for a standard exercise routine. 
  1. The music video for “Baby Shark” by Pinkfong! currently sits at 7.6 billion views on YouTube — the most viewed music video on the popular streaming platform. 
  1. “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles is rumored to have been written about LSD. However, in a live interview with Dick Cavett in 1971, John Lennon debunked the rumor. According to the lead singer/guitarist, the inspiration for the song came from a drawing that his three year old son, Julian, had made. 
  1. The original Star Spangled Banner (which later became the USA’s national anthem) was written by a slave owner from the 1800s, named Francis Scott Key. He was an up and coming poet, who wrote the Star Spangled Banner after the American flag signified America’s war victory against Britain. 

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