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Classical 101

5 pieces of classical music which could ruin your daily commute

Students study to it, babies listen in utero, retail outlets, hotels, and restaurants use it for ambiance and film directors weave it through what are otherwise often forgettable scores.  Classical music seems to be everywhere. There is one place, however, where certain classical music favorites could be life threatening — in your car. Researchers recently did a study of eight drivers, four male and four female, and assessed their driving as they listened to various performers.  Each drove 500 miles. The research subjets logged 250 miles without music and 250 miles with the radio on.   As you might expect, heavy metal and hip-hop resulted in higher average speeds and accident rates.  Come Away With Me by Norah Jones was deemed the safest among pop tunes, while Hey Mama by the Black Eyed Peas was the most dangerous. Classical music, then, must be the perfect accompaniment to your drive, right? Not so fast. One Classical 101 listener not too long ago wrote to say that, when I suggested listeners check their speed after hearing Ride of the Valkyries, looked down to find himself going 80 mph. One writer came up with a list of five classical music selections which, in his estimation, could be hazardous to your health, or at least increase your risk of a speeding ticket.  What do you think?  Let me hear the piece that gets your blood stirring! Read Listen and Die: 5 classical music orchestral pieces to avoid while behind the wheel (Culture Map)