Trolling the archives yesterday here the Celebrity Series, I came across this little tidbit (or is it a snippet? a snidbit?):
"Thomas A. Edison recently answered the question, 'Why does the average popular melody have so short a period of popularity?' in these words: 'I believe the mechanism of the inner ear may have something to do with it. The so-called 'Rods of Corti' are located there - approximately 3,000 small stiff rods, massed together like the hairs on a brush. Each hair is supposed to be tuned to a definite note in the musical scale. When the note is sounded, the hair vibrates, transmitting the sound through the nerves to the brain. The too constant operation of any group of these hairs undoubtedly leads to irritation - possibly to an actual swelling at the base of the hairs. It is the theory of many scientists that this may be one of the underlying causes for the rapid way we tire of popular hits, with their endless pounding on simple sets of chords.'"
-as quoted in Variations, Opus 4, by Aaron Richmond, published by Concert Direction: Aaron Richmond, January 1928
This seems to have been submitted for reader's consideration, not to imply agreement. I wonder what Edison would have thought of John Coltrane? In any case, the same page also features this quote from Frederick Stock:
"The music of the eighteenth century addressed the head; that of the nineteenth, the heart; and this of the twentieth appeals to the feet."
For what its worth, I knew the "Rods of Corti," Roddie Shelton and Rodney Corner, and can attest they had nothing whatever to do with music, popular or otherwise, though Roddie could always whistle through his nose...