New research shows that the music played in curry houses could be having a remarkable effect on how their curries are tasted.
Scientists at the University of Oxfordshire have found that traditional music played in curry houses may not be in order to “set an atmosphere”. Research has shown that music which include fast beats and high-pitched sounds can affect the sensation of taste on diner’s tongues.
Tests that have been carried out in the University show certain sounds enhance heat and seasoning so the food is seemingly spicier by approximately 10%. The violin and fast Sambuca music were amongst many that participated in the research collection.
Charles Spence, an experimental food psychologist, has said, “Some of qualities we identify for spicy music in our study are also reminiscent of Indian music. We are looking at a 5-10pc change normally.”
Originally the experiment was meant to identify sounds in music that may be associated with spicy foods.
In order to get an accurate data collection, the volunteers listened to 36 different tracks and sounds. While doing this they were asked to eat a butternut squash with ancho chilli.
The individuals that listened to the fast tempo songs stated that their dishes were spicier and contained higher levels of intense flavour.
A psychologist at the University of Oxford, Janice Wang, has commented on the study, “We hypothesise this is because the spicy soundtrack primes people’s expectation of spiciness in the food.
“We are not sure whether it’s exposure to this type of music that makes people associate spiciness with high pitch and distortion.
“Another idea is that high pitch, high distortion, and fast tempo are associated with high energy, and that reflects the sensation of eating spicy foods.”
It’s been predicted that songs such as ‘Never fallen in love’ by the Buzzcocks, and ‘I bet you look good on the dancefloor’ by Arctic Monkey’s could bring out the spice in certain foods.
Dr Wang said: “People found that fast tempo, high pitch, and high levels of distortion matched well with spiciness. Any music with those characteristics would be more likely associated with spiciness. “If there’s a cultural element – say with Indian or Brazilian influence – that can only make the association stronger.”
Whether there is any truth in this, we do not know! But, what we do know is that curry is great! If you are looking to serve authentic Indian food at your upcoming event, contact us today.