Tag Archives: Wine

Music and wine choice

wine-music

If you plan to welcome the new year with a ritual libation, you might consider whether subliminal factors are at play.

In an experiment, French and German music was played on alternate days from an in-store display of French and German wines over a 2-week period. French music led to French wines outselling German ones, whereas German music led to the opposite effect on sales of French wine.

Responses to a questionnaire suggested that customers were unaware of these effects of music on their product choices. The results may be discussed in terms of their theoretical implications for research on music and consumer behavior and their ethical implications for the use of in-store music.

This according to “The influence of in-store music on wine selections” by Adrian C. North, David J, Hargreaves, and Jennifer McKendrick (Journal of applied psychology LXXXIV/2 [April 1999] pp. 271–76).

Below, what would you pair with the German-born French composer Jacques Offenbach’s GlouGlouJe suis le vin (Glug! Glug! I am the wine)?

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Filed under Curiosities, Food

Bach at the table

Bach food

The holdings of the Bachhaus in Eisenach include a polished goblet that was presented to J.S. Bach around 1735; the word VIVAT inscribed on it was meant as an invitation to enjoy a glass of wine.

Sources including letters, pay slips, stipends, and the 1750 catalog of his estate suggest that Bach’s life was sometimes cheerfully informal.  The table of this choral street-singer, organist, cantor, court musician, and municipal music director—whose salary as an employee was, throughout his life, paid not only in money but also in kind (grain, fish, beer, wine, wood)—was abundantly set for his large family and for the many welcome guests, and his comfortable standard of living was provided for on a corresponding scale.

This according to Zu Tisch bei Johann Sebastian Bach: Einnahmen und “Consumtionen” einer Musikerfamilie by Walter Salmen (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2009).

Below, Bach’s jovial Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet (“Bauernkantate”), BWV #212, which includes the encouraging words “Wave if you’re thirsty!”

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Filed under Baroque era, Food

Synesthesia with wine

wine-piano

In an experiment, 250 adults were offered a glass of wine in return for answering a few questions about its taste. After clearing their palates, each received a glass of either cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay and was taken to one of five rooms: four that each featured a different type of music playing in a continuous loop, and a silent one serving as a control. Participants were asked to spend about five minutes sipping the wine, and were told not to converse.

A smaller pilot study had determined the four types of music:

  • “powerful and heavy” (“O Fortuna” from Orff’s Carmina burana)
  • “subtle and refined” (“Вальс цветов” [Val’s cvetov/Waltz of the flowers] from Cajkovskij’s Щелкунчик [Ŝelkunčik/Nutcracker])
  • “zingy and refreshing” (Nouvelle Vague’s Just can’t get enough)
  • “mellow and soft” (Michael Brook’s Breakdown)

After drinking the wine and listening to the music, participants were asked to rate the wine’s taste on a scale from zero to ten in the categories represented by the music types. In each case, participants perceived the wine in a manner consistent with the music they had listened to while drinking it.

This according to “Wine & song: The effect of background music on the taste of wine” by Adrian C. North (Wineanorak, 2008). In an earlier experiment, documented in “The influence of in-store music on wine selections” (Journal of applied psychology LXXXIV/2 [April 1999] pp. 271–276), North and two colleagues demonstrated that playing music identified with a particular country in a wine shop had a positive influence on sales of wine from that country.

For a related post, see As bitter as a trombone. Below, Mario del Monaco shares observations on wine and synesthesia from Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana.

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Filed under Food, Science

Verdi’s gastromusicology

In opera, eating and drinking function largely as they do in society—they define social relationships. The antisocial act of refusing to share food or drink with merry people carries a negative connotation and implies an unfortunate result. Further gastromusicological laws may be deduced from Verdi’s operas:

  • A meal is never sad.
  • Hunger is never happy.
  • A shared meal or drink is a socially cohesive event.
  • The presence of food or drink precludes immediate catastrophe (unless poison is involved).
  • The act of feasting is a morally neutral event, but a feasting group or individual is morally negative when contrasted with a positive hungry group or individual.
  • The hero is a sober individual.
  • Music and text may lie, but the gastronomic sign never does.

The interaction between these gastronomic codes and other interweaving codes is often complex.

This according to “Feasting and fasting in Verdi’s operas” by Pierpaolo Polzonetti (Studi verdiani XIV [1999] pp. 69–106). Above, Placido Domingo and Teresa Stratas in Act 1 of La Traviata.

Related article: Verdi’s pigs

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Filed under Curiosities, Food, Opera, Romantic era

Wine for the organist

The organ built by Gebrüder Oberlinger Orgelbau in 1997 for St. Martin in Cochem includes an innovative stop called Riesling 2fach. Pulling the stop opens a small cabinet holding two bottles of Riesling wine.

This according to “Neue Orgel in der Pfarrkirche ‘St. Martin’ zu Cochem/Mosel” by Wilhelm Basten (Die Auslese 42/2 [1999], pp. 22–23).

(Thanks to Tina Frühauf!)

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Filed under Architecture, Food, Instruments