A huge delay on a Eurostar service while holidaying on the continent is never great for anyone’s mood.
But now passengers may just be able to calm down at the touch of a button, thanks to a new feature on the Eurostar’s onboard entertainment system.
It’s called a ‘sound menu’ and will be music to travellers’ ears – literally – because it contains music chosen by a psychologist to sooth them.
Scroll down to hear exerts from the ‘sound menu’
Eurostar’s onboard entertainment system now features a ‘sound menu’ with tracks designed by a psychologist to alter passengers’ emotions for the better
The playlist, available on all e320 and e300 trains for the next three weeks, also contains music to psych passengers up and inspire them, to help the journey go faster and to help them focus on work.
Dr Alexandra Lamont, Senior Lecturer in Music Psychology at Keele University, who developed the menu with Sony and the digital team at Eurostar, said that being in a bubble of sound is a great way to relax.
She said: ‘Creating an “auditory bubble” while travelling, such as through the use of noise cancellation technology, can allow passengers to get more from their journey, helps people block out environmental noise and allows them to focus on the moment or the task at hand.
‘We know that different music creates different moods, and the traveller can immerse themselves in music that suits or changes their mood to make the journey pass more pleasantly. Being able to eliminate these noises and replacing them entirely with the sound of your choice leads to an all-round more relaxed experience.’
Dr Alexandra Lamont, Senior Lecturer in Music Psychology at Keele University, who developed the menu with Sony and the digital team at Eurostar, said that being in a bubble of sound is a great way to relax
Her playlist comprises five styles of library music to evoke different emotions.
Firstly there’s a ‘getting the job done style’, which should help passengers focus on work. It has fast medium-to-high levels of sound, not too much pitch variability, and ‘motivating but unobtrusive patterns recommended to keep focus and limit procrastination’, says Lamont.
Then there’s music to psych passengers up for a long day. It has a fast tempo, high pitch, building rhythms and rising melodic contours that Lamont claims will serve as inspiration for the day ahead.
If passengers choose the ‘being in the moment’ option they should feel calm and centred thanks to slow beats with simple textures, scenic and inspirational music and sounds with gentle rhythms and slow tempos, mixed in with some sounds of nature.
Passengers wanting to speed the journey up can opt for the ‘getting from A to B’ track, which has ‘expansive music’ that will ‘help the miles whizz by’, according to Lamont.
Lastly, there’s the ‘a job well done’ track – calming music ‘that takes some of the energy out of the journey and takes you to a calmer place’.
Sony is currently trumpeting its 1000X headphones and claims that the noise cancellation technology they have will help passengers make the most of the ‘sound menu’, though it should be pointed out that it can be accessed with any brand of headphone.
Matt Coupe, Head of Sound, UK&Ireland, at Sony, said: ‘We know that music, if listened to in the right way, can be a form of escapism or can help focus the mind. We saw from research many are unable to relax or fully immerse themselves in music.
‘Our 1000X headphones give travellers the opportunity to experience our best in noise cancelling headphones to be able to cut out the chaos around them. Plus, with our “Quick Attention Mode”, travellers can simply touch the side of their headphones so they’re still able to hear announcements or order a coffee on board.’
Neil Roberts, Head of Digital, Eurostar, said: ‘Our onboard entertainment system gives travellers more than 300 hours of free content, all available through their own device. We’re always looking for ways to improve our passengers’ journeys, and the new Sound Menu created by Sony offers our travellers a way to get more out of their time on board, whether it’s focusing on work, or relaxing after a busy day.’