Another Urban Legend

A new report now says that the Mozart effect is a fraud (via Terry Teachout). For you hip urban professionals: no, playing Mozart for your designer baby will not improve his IQ or help him get into that exclusive pre-school. He’ll just have to be admitted into Harvard some other way.

Of course, we’re all better off for listening to Mozart purely for the pleasure of it. However, one wonders that if playing Mozart sonatas for little Hillary or Jason could boost their intelligence, what would happen if other composers were played in their developmental time?

  • Liszt effect: Child speaks rapidly and extravagantly, but never really says anything important.
  • Raff effect: Child becomes a bore.
  • Bruckner effect: Child speaks very slowly and repeats himself frequently. Gains reputation for profundity.
  • Wagner effect: Child becomes a megalomaniac. May eventually marry his sister.
  • Mahler effect: Child continually screams – at great length and volume – that he’s dying.
  • Schoenberg effect: Child never repeats a word until he’s used all the other words in his vocabulary. Sometimes talks backwards. Eventually, people stop listening to him. Child blames them for their inability to understand him.
  • Babbitt effect: Child gibbers nonsense all the time. Eventually, people stop listening to him. Child doesn’t care because all his playmates think he’s cool.
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