Tips & Tricks

10 Amazing Facts about Music and Musicians That You’ll Love

Have you ever been hanging out with your friends as they discuss interesting topics — only to realize you don't have any exciting facts to contribute to the conversation? We've all been there at some point. 

Luckily, we have just what you need to redeem yourself — interesting facts about music and famous musicians. Whether your crowd listens to pop stars like Beyonce or violinists like Lindsey Stirling, they're sure to enjoy some fun facts. 

After all, music is a universal language that transcends borders and cultures, creating connections and enriching lives. With these fun facts, you can all develop a better understanding and appreciation of all different types of music. 

1. Plants can grow faster if music is playing

Now, before you get your speakers out to test this theory, let's explain — it's not music specifically that makes plants grow, but rather sounds. 

Sound frequencies of 125 Hz and 250 Hz induce the production of fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolase (ald) and Rubisco small sub-unit (rbcS) genes, which are vital for photosynthesis. And, as you already know, photosynthesis results in energy, which translates to growth. 

Further, green music (sounds like rainfall and birds chirping) and classical music promote seed germination, increased stress tolerance, and higher yields. So, don't be surprised if you hear music playing in your neighbor's garden. 

2. The oldest known musical instrument is 50,000 years old

While it may come as a surprise, homosapiens weren’t the first species to play music. The proof is in the Neanderthal Flute made of cave bear bones, discovered in Slovenia in 1995

Experts believe it to be at least 50,000 years old, making it the oldest instrument ever found — so far, at least. So, while legendary violinists like David Oistrakh and famous composers like Mozart may have popularized music, it’s always been in our genes.

3. A Canadian astronaut released an album of songs all recorded in space

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield proved that you don't need a million-dollar studio to produce music by releasing an album of songs in space. The album — Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can — comprises original songs and a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." We can only describe it as “out of this world” (pun intended).

4. The Beatles didn't know how to read or write sheet music

Knowing how to read and write sheet music is great, but t's not entirely necessary — even if you want to make it in the music industry and produce number-one hit songs. In a 60 Minutes interview, Paul McCartney revealed that neither he nor his songwriting bandmates could read sheet music.

So how did the band amass such success without knowing how to read and write music? The answer lies in ear training

The bandmates would hum tunes, commit them to memory, and reproduce their pitch. As you can likely guess, many tunes didn't make it to the public stage. 

However, those that did had a catchy element that not only made it easy for the musicians to remember but also ingrained itself in listeners' minds, propelling the band to stardom. 

5. The world's longest musical performance is taking place right now

Do you think a five-hour concert is long? For John Cage fans, that’s nothing. They have been holding an "ORGAN2/ASLSP" performance since 2001 in Halberstadt, Germany. They expect to finish the eight-page score in 2640 — 639 years after the first chord was played. 

So why is an eight-page performance taking this long? John Cage left instructions to play the piece as slowly as possible, and his music fans accepted the challenge. So far, only a few tone changes have occurred, and there's a long way to go to complete the piece. 

6. Ludwig van Beethoven was almost completely deaf by the time he composed his most famous works

Ludwig van Beethoven's story is legendary. The piano virtuoso started to go deaf in his 20s and was almost completely deaf by age 44. Still, he composed numerous legendary concertos, including Symphony No. 5, Große Fuge, Op. 133, and Symphony No. 9. 

While Beethoven used the hearing aids available to him (like ear trumpets), he often used his "inner ears" and musical memory to assess how his compositions would sound, a fact that makes him one of the most iconic composers of all time. 

7. Metallica was the first band to play on all 7 continents

Metallica secured its place as the first band to play on all seven continents after performing in Antarctica in 2013. The "Freeze 'Em All" concert, which earned them a spot in the Guinness World Records, had 120 attendees — scientists and South American fans who had won a Coca-Cola contest. 

8. The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest musical composition

The ”Song of Seikilos” dates back to the 1st or 2nd century CE, making it the oldest musical composition ever discovered. Engraved on a tombstone in Turkey, it carries themes of life and death, encouraging listeners to live life fully as our time here is limited. 

Bonus fact: The tombstone with the song was missing for a time — until it was found serving as a pedestal for a flower pot. It’s now safely displayed in a museum in Denmark.

9. The Spice Girls didn't choose their own names

Who said stage names have to be carefully thought out to stick? Certainly not Peter Loraine, the Top of the Pops editor who gave the British dance-pop music stars the Spice Girls their iconic nicknames. The nicknames were based on each member's character or habits. Here's a breakdown:

  • Victoria Beckham became Posh because she always looked sophisticated. 
  • Melanie Brown became Scary Spice because of her loud personality. 
  • Geri Halliwell became Ginger because of her flaming red hair.
  • Emma Bunton became Baby Spice because she was the youngest member. 
  • Melanie Chisholm became Sporty because she was athletic and often wore tracksuits. 

10. Famous pianist Franz Liszt experienced rabid "Lisztomania" fandom

Modern-day musicians have certainly experienced their fair share of extreme obsession, with music fans going as far as to follow them wherever they go. But, contrary to common belief, excessive fandom isn't a new phenomenon. 

In fact, in the 19th century, Franz Liszt’s piano mastery elevated him to rock-star status. So much so that his infatuated fans would try to pluck a strand of his hair after performances, just to have a piece of him.

To prevent balding (and undoubtedly the pain that came with the hair plucking), the legendary pianist bought a dog with the same colored fur as his hair. Then he started handing out dog hairs instead of his own. Quite ingenious, right?

Discover more of music's wonders with Trala

These fun facts will undoubtedly make you a hit at your next music trivia night. The world of music is unbelievably vast, fascinating, and full of surprises.

With Trala, you can discover more intriguing wonders that help you develop your appreciation for the seemingly simple tunes you listen to daily. Trala makes music education accessible and enjoyable for everyone by providing easy access to professional music instructors and resources. 

Ready to explore the world that has captivated people for centuries? Sign up for your first lesson with Trala today.

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