back to article Headbangers have a gas, gas, gas in mosh pits

“Dancers” in mosh pits at heavy metal gigs form patterns that resemble the behaviour of gas particles, according to a study in Physical Review Letters titled “Collective Motion of Humans in Mosh and Circle Pits at Heavy Metal Concerts” (PDF). Penned by four boffins from Cornell University's Department of Physics and Laboratory …

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Anonymous Coward

Chaos theory?

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Boffin

No, just thermodynamics

The classic random walk is exemplified by a person (typically male) who is so drunk that at each step he cannot remember which direction the last one was going.

By saturating the senses with loud noise, combined with the usual quantities of alcohol involved, I would expect that those involved in mosh pits have a similar level of randomness in their motion, especially when adding collisions with other "particles."

I will submit the paper to Annals of Improbable Research for their Scientists now know corner.

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FAIL

"large crowds (10^2 –10^5attendees)"

I can do 10^2 in my utterly innumerate head: it is not large.

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Re: "large crowds (10^2 –10^5attendees)"

100 is more people in a small area than I want to think about. 10000 is definitely too much company.

Guess you won't see me anywhere near a mosh pit even if I did like the "music".

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Devil

"beats exceeding 300 beats per min"

Wot? I'm not a metal fan but that sounds more techno's domain. May well be wrong but that seems quite a bit on the high side.

>...no micromanagement of individual actions is generally involved

I just love the image of micromanaging a mosh in full swing: "you there, elbows up a bit and in the ribs! and put your body behind it! oh fergodsake not that hard it's a mosh not a punchup, you're not trying to take him down, from the beginning and do it properly this time, useless buggers the lot of you..."

<---- jesus built mine (not metal but nice and fast)

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Re: "beats exceeding 300 beats per min"

here's an example

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2SN3Bw3ZPo

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Re: "beats exceeding 300 beats per min"

" I'm not a metal fan but that sounds more techno's domain. May well be wrong but that seems quite a bit on the high side."

Depends a lot on what someone calls "beats per minute". Base it on crotchets/8th notes, then a blastbeat on a fast song could hit over 300bpm, but it would only be for a very brief interval. And I don't think that 10^5 people ever managed to form a mosh pit either. That either deserves a Guinness World Record or a Darwin Award - not really sure which....

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Pirate

@BlueGreen

Well, I am a metal fan (sort off; I still like listening to some of the old stuff, but occasionally) and I think you're overlooking something. Usually it's not an ongoing 300bpm tempo but a lot of "beat bursts" (to give this a name).

In my opinion a very nice example of this would be "South of Heaven" by Slayer. The song as a whole sits at a very slow tempo (probably also the reason why many people kind of liked it, including non-metal or non-Slayer fans), but if you listen closely you'll hear several bursts which easily count up to 10 beats or so. Added up to the overall percussion (which maybe slow but still extensive) and I think you can easily reach these amounts.

Even though you're not listening to something "techno like" where there is a constant beat present.

And now all of a sudden I feel like digging up some of my old Slayer CD's :-)

The jolly roger, because metal fans like skulls :-)

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MrT
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In case of hippies...

...break glass

Slayer's Reign in Blood CD put to good use.

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Re: "beats exceeding 300 beats per min"

"And I don't think that 10^5 people ever managed to form a mosh pit either. That either deserves a Guinness World Record or a Darwin Award - not really sure which...."

I think the reference to numbers is for the crowd itself, not the numbers in any mosh pits that form.

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Boffin

Re: "beats exceeding 300 beats per min"

Think about a tornado as the mosh ring of a much larger storm.

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Re: "beats exceeding 300 beats per min"

Techno typically comes in around 140 - 150 BPM.

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Happy

Re: "beats exceeding 300 beats per min"

@MikeyD85 - I do believe you're right.

@everyone: thanks for the musical education, I'll check out the various mentions including (small choking sounds) slayer.

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Re: "beats exceeding 300 beats per min"

You'll not find any Techno at 300BPM!

The genrenerds would have that techno can't exist at anything over 160bpm (not proper techno anyway).

Gabber would be closer, up into the two hundereds but I really can't think of anything that goes at 300 BPM*. Certainly not any metal I know of.

*There was a band** that did a song that was 1,000,000 bpm. But they were just taking the piss.

**a quick google gives no results so I can't confirm who this was

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Anonymous Coward

metal thrashing mad

Yeah, you can easily get 300bpm with some thrash / speed metal bands. You can't really headband to that without getting..... well... I think this sums it up :

from the appropriately named, "Whiplash"

Bang your head against the stage

Like you never did before

Make it ring Make it bleed

Make it really sore

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"How was the concert, dude?"

"It was a gas, man!"

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Unhappy

predictable result of NSF funding cuts?

“Further studies in this unique environment may enhance our understanding of collective motion in riots, protests, and panicked crowds"

Sure sounds like some clever researchers noticed that funding for traditional research is drying up and decided to find some applications for their modeling expertise that might have some application to the war against terror. Crowd control? Riot control? Stopping protests? I can see the thin line of drool emerging from the side of the DHS pay masters' mouths already.

Sad use of an education and fine minds, but it was ever thus. Just a change in emphasis from conventional to unconventional warfare.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: predictable result of NSF funding cuts?

The thermodynamics/mosh angle may be new, but crowd modelling isn't; particularly with regard to building evacuations and (e.g.) the crowds of pilgrims at Mecca.

And would you want your demo an/or riot to be managed by the police using the traditional teargas/ watercannon/ kettling/ batoncharges, or something a little less brutal? Whatever your opinions of the police, the advent of less violent management techniques are most likely to be an improvement.

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Happy

Re: predictable result of NSF funding cuts?

And would you want your demo an/or riot to be managed by the police using the traditional teargas/ watercannon/ kettling/ batoncharges, or something a little less brutal?

No. I now expect the police to shout, "let's do the show right here! Sarge, give me a one, give me a two..."

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Junket much.

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Next they'll be researching the combustion of the plant species C. sativa.

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Stop

Can they be let out as easily as a gas?

Maybe by opening a window or something? It is bleeding annoying going to a gig to SEE and hear a band only to have these idiots barge into you every 30 seconds so they can show how "hardcore" they are. Why even pay for a ticket when they could have the exact same experience bouncing off their bedroom walls. Meanwhile the rest of us end up getting banged about which is not fun when you have a partner with back problems.

Mind you i have found a few well placed elbows to the ribs sends a signal that you do not want to play their childish games.

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FAIL

Re: Can they be let out as easily as a gas?

If you want to see and hear a band in relative comfort, why cant you stay at home and watch a video of them performing? See, it works both ways.

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Facepalm

Re: Can they be let out as easily as a gas?

no that would be more akin to having it playing at home, at full volume whilst throwing things through my neighbors window so they can enjoy it as well. Its not like i should be able to support bands i like or see them perform songs that are not on video. Shocking i know but a lot of bands do not even get played on TV!

Should my partner and i not go to gigs as she has a bad back and i have a messed up knewe that does not take to well to being kicked? or the poor sods on crutches who get barrelled over and maybe get a "sorry mate" if they are lucky?

There is nothing wrong with dancing/headbanging/whatever. If there is room do a waltz for all i care. Why though should people have to leave a concert with bruises because 5- 10 people act like idiots in the middle of the crowd? if they were off to one side or at the back then hey no problem but it is normally in the middle and at standing room only concerts you can't exactly move away easily either.

I doubt there would be much sympathy for people flailing around and bashing into each other in the cinema etc. Everyone enjoys things in different ways when it comes to physical violence(barging people, kicks) against people who do not want to participate, disguised as "moshing" then that is a dick move.

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Re: Can they be let out as easily as a gas?

"Mind you i have found a few well placed elbows to the ribs sends a signal that you do not want to play their childish games."

Shit, I'm nearly 60 but nowhere near as old as you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can they be let out as easily as a gas?

So you're the kind of wanker that stands at the side of a pit to maliciously inflict pain on kids having fun? If you and your "partner" don't like it, stand at the fucking back!

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WTF?

Re: Can they be let out as easily as a gas?

Nope, i tend to stand where i can get a good view. I only "maliciously inflict pain on kids having fun" after being kicked/barged repeatedly when obviously not playing . Given that most of the people moshing have their heads down and are flailing round in circles would not the back/sides be a better place then for people that would like to see what is going on?

I guess this must be standard now judging by the down votes, i look forward to randomly knocking down strangers next time i am at the supermarket! chill man, its the muzak, you are just lame and old! pushing people into the frozen goods section is how kids enjoy music today!

Could be worse though, i could be the type of person that levels insults from behind an AC nick....

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Re: Can they be let out as easily as a gas?

Many of you are forgetting the differences between the pits now and then, through the 70-90s they were riotous sections but in the main they kept it in the circle. These days its over-privileged morons who don't mosh, they simply launch their pals into the sections of the crowd that are not participating.

The difference between the pit at a Bodycount gig in the 90s and the pit at Foo Fighters a couple of years ago was comical, I was in the middle for the BC and not a scratch, yet at Foo's I was being barged during ballads.

Simple rule, go wild but don't be a dick.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mosh pits

Actually in all my experience of mosh pits, the general feeling one should get is not one of fear. They are indeed violent, but they also embody a strong sense of camaraderie.

If you go down, when you lift your eyes there will be four hands offering to help you. If you bust your nose or are hurt somehow, people will support you or guide you to safety.

The system is chaos, but the individual elements are still human.

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Terminator

Not quite 300bpm

But Fear Factory can get it kicking along at a decent rate of knots.

PowerShift: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flzimbVxOHI

Zero Signal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRci3qWeFCA

<- Metalhead, for obvious reasons.

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Coat

[Newcastle] Brownian Motion

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Devil

I thought that was the long, heavy, glutinous thing that happened in the toilet the next morning, after a heavy night on the stuff...

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MJI
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Hmmmmm

Lots of Heavy Metal I haven't actually heard

But then I am a fan of NWOBHM where the emphasis was on musicianship, and good tunes

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Coat

Re: Hmmmmm

I thought the emphasis was on posing semi-naked in swords and sorcery costumes on the album cover :D

Mine the one with the Grunge in the pocket

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Headmaster

Circle pit

aka a "mosh ring"

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Terminator

So science can explain the formation of pits at metal gigs. Just glad these no mention of scince trying to explain how hardcore dancing and the fighting of invisable ninjas in pits exists.

Slayer pits were always the most fun.

Anaal Nathrahk was probably the most brutal pit ive been in though.

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Thumb Up

Theres only way to find out and thats to get caught in a mosh yourself

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Unhappy

Collective Motion of Humans in Mosh and Circle Pits at Heavy Metal Concerts

Science is Dead...

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Re: Collective Motion of Humans in Mosh and Circle Pits at Heavy Metal Concerts

I laughed loudly and giddily for a while upon reading your name.

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