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Music and meals

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A tasty tune

What does music do to meals? Does specific music enrich specific food? And can bad music ruin good food. Or vice versa?

Often music is associated to certain food and dining experiences. Classic music comes with elegant food, Chinese music with, yes, Chinese food. Table music became an art form in the 16th century. May we suggest to check out Telemann’s contribution the the genre? Though it existed long before that date.

Artists as well as scientists have done their research. We are glad to introduce you to some of them.


music and meals

Futurism and music

Marinetti's culinary manifesto

In 1931 Filippo Tommaso Marinetti launched his culinary manifesto. The new dining rules proposed by the artist were truly innovating. He wanted to get rid of traditions and culinary monotony. No more pasta, the prohibition of talking politics at the table. No more fork and knife. 

Marinetti saw music ideal to cleanse the palate. It was hence played only in the intervals. 

Nouvelle cuisine as well as the modernist cuisine are Marinetti’s (grand) children.

Academic music and meals

It are moreover social sciences studying the subject. The countless variables scare most others. Musical and culinary appreciation is after all terribly subjective. Anyway, here are some findings.

High frequencies make things taste sweeter. Low frequencies make things taste more bitter.  Brisk rhythms are “sour”. And loud noises dull your sense of taste, except for umami (which could be one reason people drink more tomato juice on airplanes).

Pitch can influence the type and intensity of flavours perceived. High pitched music played on a piano enhanced the sweetness. 

studying music and meals in a lab

Music and meals alla carte

meals and music

This aspect has two faces. One where music is used to make people eat faster and more. The other focusing on the well being of the diners. Improving and extending the dining experience.

Some point out similarity found in shops and supermarkets. Where music fills the existential emptiness caused by those places. 

Innovative restaurateurs create dedicated playlists. So including audition in the sensorial experience of eating. 

An appeal

And what music do you listen to? Do you have any favorite combinations? Or is there music that prevents you form eating?

All your suggestions are welcome and shall be bundled in an upcoming article.

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